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Jetwing Vil Uyana
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Reviewed September 10, 2010

I have never had such an amazing hotel experience before. We were at the beginning of a 2 week trip around Sri Lanka and stayed here for 3 nights of luxury to ease us in. Had 2 nights in a 'water villa' with beautiful over the lake balcony, then 1 night in a 'paddy field villa' with private plunge pool.
Both villas were very spacious and comfortable, with an open-plan airy feel. You are in the middle of a large natural area of lake and woodland so expect to see occasional nasties, but nothing that made us feel unsafe and all questions were answered by the staff amazingly. The restaurant is beautiful with views of the lion rock, incredible food (especially the curry!) and friendly, helpful staff. The staff even fed the hotel lake crocodile for me so I could see it!
Do not miss this place - I would go back tomorrow!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank thegiraffeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2010

We stayed at the Vil Uyana for 3 nights in August. The hotel comprises 25 cabanas dotted around the site. All are within 10 minutes walk from reception. The hotel is the site of a former paddy field in the middle of forest/jungle type area. It attracts wildlife including the odd elephant wandering in (although local farmers tend to chase them away before they get close to the hotel). Therefore, you feel quite close to nature without being threatened. As long as you stick to the paths and watch where you are treading, I think it is very safe place for adults to visit. If you take children (I wouldn’t) you will have to keep a close eye on them.

We were in No 133, a forest dwelling close to reception. The room was lovely although of a strange design. It has a huge bathroom on the ground floor (about 10m x 8m) with a partially open roof with a tree growing through it (complete with wild birds and squirrels) and a fish pond in the middle. Upstairs is a large bedroom with no real hanging or drawer space, which was a little odd, but the room works fairly well. Outside is an enclosed private garden with a lovely pool, big enough to swim in. The hotel sprays the area every fortnight so mosquitoes were not a real problem. I used mosquito repellent and was only bitten once.

As this was our first visit to Sri Lanka, we were a bit concerned that Vil Uyana was fairly low cost for a top-end hotel, but we need not have worried. The food and service was excellent and I would say that it was a 4-star by international standards. Drinks were also reasonably priced. The staff were very friendly and are particularly proud of the crocodile in the lake overlooked by the restaurant. They throw food to attract it, much to the delight of guests. There is also some lovely outside seating underneath the restaurant overlooking the lake where you can have a drink and feed the fish popcorn.

The trip from the airport took 3½ hours but our return journey took over 5 hours due to heavy traffic and a puncture but it is an interesting trip on fairly decent (although busy) roads through towns and forest. Ask your driver to stop at one of the coconut sellers for a drink (costing about 15p each).

The hotel runs a lot of private excursions for around $100 per person per ½-day excursion. They are not cheap but are worth every penny. The hotel sends along one of their naturalists on every trip and we also had a driver/tour guide and often a local guide, so we received a real personal service. We went on 3 excursions all within an hour drive of the hotel:
• Sigiriya (Lion's rock) fortress and palace surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens and reservoirs, and other structures built in around AD 480. The caves also contain ancient frescos. Although you have to walk up 1200 steps in the heat it is worth it.
• Dambulla - 5 caves converted to shrines containing 153 statues of the Buddha carved from rock and wood. This is a UNESCO heritage site dating back to 1st century BC. Said to be the most impressive cave temple in Sri Lanka. Even for non-Buddhists it is well worth a visit. Beware of monkeys stealing your water on the walk to the caves!
• Open top jeep safari at Minneriya National Park. The Minneriya tank (a vast area of water) is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a feeding ground for wildlife, particularly elephants which can be seen in large numbers at this time of year. The park also contains leopards sloths and monkeys.

Overall, I thought that the Vil Uyana was in a fabulous location to visit the sights and a great place to relax. We did 5 days in Sri Lanka followed by 5 days at Coco palm in the Maldives. I much preferred my stay in Sri Lanka and wished that I had spent more time there (at a fraction of the cost of the Maldives).

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank PRLBirmingham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2010

Far and away the best hotel we stayed in whilst in Sri Lanka. Our cabana was well designed, spacious and beautifully secluded . The entire complex is isolated, full of wildlife and incredibly peaceful - we thought we had arrived in paradise! Other Sri Lankan hotels offered the ubiquitous buffet but here we enjoyed 5 courses of impressive and imaginative food. Evening entertainment was tranquil and suited the general laid back, relaxed and calming ambience of the place. Our only regret was that we didn't have enough time at the hotel to enjoy it!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank AmyCThomas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2010

We stayed here for 3 nights in June 2010 as part of our honeymoon. The complex is beautiful. The rooms are very big, well cleaned and unique. The food was more expensive than we expected
and much more than you would pay locally. But unfortunately
the hotel is located away from any big local restaurants so u have no
choice but to eat at the hotel. However it is still cheaper than some of the other places we stayed in Sri lanka. We would definitely stay here again if we visited Sri lanka.

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1  Thank Tomaddi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2010

My wife and I stayed here for 3 nights as part of a 10 day tour of Sri Lanka.

Room:
This room made me go "WOW" when I first saw it. It was a standalone thatched room on stilts over looking the lake at this chill out hotel. As you go to the front door of the room you pass you own private small pool area with a small table and chairs, settee and 2 recliners. There were also a number of scatter cushions that you can use to lie down on 2 raised concrete plinths. You then enter the room to the biggest bathroom I have ever seen. There was 2 basins, walk in shower, huge sunken bath for 2 and a lily pond. Also there is an open toilet. The whole bathroom is built around a open area that has no roof and so is open to the elements. The entire upstairs is a bedroom with a small toilet. There is virtually no wardrobe space for hanging clothes and they supply baskets for you to put your clothes in which does not work. They need a wardrobe to hang shirts, trousers and dresses in. The bed is huge and firm with a mosquito net that did the job very well. The bed faces a huge glass wall that overlooks the lake and the main hotel buiIding on the other side with 2 small balconies either side. I have 2 complaints re the room, one was the wardrobe space and the second was that there were not comfortable chairs to sit in.

Location:
Close to the village of Sigirya village and the rock it is well positioned within the cultural triangle. You cannot go anywhere without transport as it is in the countryside. This makes the hotel very peaceful and quite with a lot of wildlife. Whilst laying by the pool a very large monitor lizard slowly wandered under my sunbed and the hunt for food. Amazing. We didn't see any snakes but they are there so caution is advisable.

Service:
I think we had the best service of the trip here. They have a golf buggy service for moving you around the grounds (it is quite well spaced out) and whenever we had room service and some cleaning it was always done well with the usual Sri Lankan respectfullness and friendliness. We had one evening in the bar and the staff took good care of us and took some time to chat as well. Had a Ayurveda massage which started of with a ridiculous consultation with a doctor who helps the masseur focus on the key points of your body. But the massage was brilliant.

Food:
Best food of the trip as it wasn't buffet. Not a huge choice off the menu but all freshly cooked and delicious. Staff helpful and attentive. The setting of the restaurant was beautiful but do wear your DEET or Citronella oil. There was a man playing a number of instruments during the evening which wasnt to my taste but it was done quitely so didnt spoil the ambience for me. Wine was best selection of any hotel we stayed in but very expensive.

Overall:
Loved this hotel and now sits in my top 5 hotels I have ever been to. I wished we had been there a few more days.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MikeT81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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