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“Secluded Beach Getaway”

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Mangrove Beach Cabanas & Chalets
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 23, 2011

My girlfriend and I really loved this place. We stayed in one of the mud houses, which was basic (ceiling fan and cold water shower) but clean and super affordable. There are two sides to the resort. We stayed on the far side, which was smaller and a bit more secluded. The hut was not directly on the beach, but just behind a row of other cabanas, and thus was significantly less expensive.

The staff was friendly and the food was very good, both the Sri Lankan dishes and others. (Watch out though, the beers are a bit expensive). We occasionally talked to the other guests, but mostly people stayed in their groups, read, relaxed on the beach, and soaked in the sun.

One note: Because of the rip-tides it's not advisable to swim.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank btsofohio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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320 - 326 of 576 reviews

Reviewed April 21, 2011

Folks considering staying at Mangrove Beach Cabanas (aka Mangrove Garden Hotel) should understand that it comprises two different properties, separated by a small river/channel that empties into the sea. It is a 15-20 minute walk between the two properties if you go the back way via a dirt road, and less by crossing the river--though the current is often too strong to go that way.

The older, "Cabanas" side of smaller, more basic and less expensive units is on the eastern side of the beach divided by that river. Except for one other small place to stay nearby, the beach is totally deserted and beautiful, though the current is often or always too rough for swimming. It seems like it could be a decent deal for folks spending about the $40/night that the cabanas cost. (Prices for all rooms will go up at the end of this year.)

We stayed at the newer, "Mangrove Beach Chalets" side, however, and it was disappointing in key regards. For one thing, in writing ahead for a reservation I'd specifically asked for and been guaranteed a room with screens, which the cabanas don't have but which I was informed all chalets do. That turned out to be untrue for the supposedly "best" units, the Family Chalets. No screens, which meant greater reliance on ill-fitting mosquito nets. The hotel should make this clear in its correspondence and website, especially since (unlike my wife and myself) many guests in these units will have young children along.

(In fact, though some effort clearly has gone into the website billing the hotel as an eco resort, it could do a much better job of describing the units constituting the property.)

In addition, the family chalets might be better described as partly concrete bunkers, with just beds, rather dim lighting, and no other furniture inside. I certainly didn't expect luxury there, but you can do a lot better for $70/night (and more than that by next year).

Another disappointing aspect of our visit was that the Chalet section's beachside restaurant did not have a full roof over its eating area--and the same goes for a couple of nearby platforms for guests to relax under. Instead, there are just some fronds that sun and especially rain could come through. Since we encountered some rain while there, it meant that guests were confined to their small patios if they wanted to hang out outside on a rainy day. Perhaps the ownership will fix this, but it says something bad about a property that couldn't put a tiny bit of extra effort into getting this right from the start.

The beach on the western, Chalets side of the property is not bad and certainly not crowded, but with many more properties on it as you walk west it lacks the desolate beauty of the eastern, Cabanas side. And except for a small area sheltered nearby, by some rocks, the sea is too rough to swim in. Plus, with a rather steep drop-off on many parts of the beach where it nears the water's edge, it's certainly walkable but not as easily as many other alternatives elsewhere. On balance, I'd say it's not as nice as some other beaches in Sri Lanka (such as Bentota) and certainly not as nice as those in many other countries.

As for the regular chalets, folks considering a visit there should understand that contrary to the name they are attached to each other. In a sense then, the cheaper cabanas afford more privacy.

On the positive side, the staff was great, which is of course important. And the food was ok. And there was one two-story building on the Chalets side, with an upstairs unit that might be much better than the Family Chalets.

Facing a rainy day and with the lack of options of where to hang out right nearby, we and another guest bagged out early on the hotel and left.

On balance, then, the Cabanas might be fine for folks whose expectations are modest and just want to spend time by a beautiful (though usually unswimmable) beach. But thumbs down on the Chalet section.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Southside
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2011

This hotel is far from the city center. So if you want to visit Tangalle you need a tuk tuk.
Beach is really beautiful and totally empty. However it is very expensive for a simple cabana and breakfast is not included in the price.
We stayed there one night in a cabana behind those in front of the see and we don"t recommend them.
Food is ok.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank eljulianito
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2011

What more can I say then... perfect!

A friend and I were cycling through Sri Lanka and only really planning our itinerary day by day. We heard about Rekewa beach/lagoon and thought it would a nice area to break up our cycling and have a rest. We read a review in the Rough Guide for The Mangrove and Beach Cabanas and it sounded like heaven... But then many places sound like heaven and are anything but.

We phoned ahead and were lucky enough to get an available Mangrove Chalet, but I wouldn't trust just turning up and getting a room... Book ahead and avoid dissapointment. One of the owners we spoke to when calling was amazingly helpful with our booking and helped us with directions and finding the place.

When we arrived... Wow... First impressions were that we had indeed stumbled upon paradise. An interesting set up with the mangrove side quite separate to the beach cabana side. Crossing the lagoon on a floating pontoon pulled by old uncle, although they are building a walkway across at the moment.

The chalet was amazing... Beautifully done with real attention to detail. Very much done in an Eco manner and so comfortable. Don't be put off when you read they are concrete cabanas... The polished concrete and wooden roof look stunning and this also means the termites can't get busy and eating. The windows and roofing is done to accept the breezes and keep it very comfortable in the evenings.

The bar/restaurant on the beach was wonderful... Not cheap food, but you pay for what you get and this was great food. We had rice and curry, an Indian curry and string hoppers for breakfast... Really well done and some of the best we had on our trip. Service was excellent and we even went over to the other bar/restaurant at the beach side to have a beer and have a look. Beach cabanas looked amazing, but the mangrove side is definitely a touch nicer.

The beach was beautiful and I loved the natural rock pool for safe and worry free swimming. This is heaven.

A highlight of our trip and thanks to Leslie for his help in watching the cricket match and for some good conversation.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank tigerstu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2011

My friend and I came upon this place unexpectedly, cycling through Sri Lanka, we knew we could not make it from Kirinda to Mirissa in a day and this place halfway. We only had one night but in retrospect we wish we had stayed longer and skipped Mirissa. As long as you do not expect to be entertained, this place is a dream location for an ecolodge. Beautifully done and the price is very very reasonable for what you get. Every hotel after staying here will seem shabby and badly designed! I will be going back there at some stage ... I loved it!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank bikeasia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2011

The cabanas are very well finished and comfortable. There are huge bathrooms below the bedroom with a staircase and going down. There is a hatch in the room but it is quite heavy to lift so we did tend to leave it open which does restrict the room space. No hot water.

The bar/restaurant was fine but did have a limited choice but all that we ate was well cooked and presented and fresh. The staff were helpful but not all had good English. There was very little guest information and although trips were mentioned in the rooms you had to push the staff for information There was no hard sell though.

It was beautifullly peacefu,l no loud music TVs etc. Every one went to bed quite early. enternatiment was usually chatting with fellow travellelrs or playing cards. Either boring or relaxing depending on what you prefer.

The beach is stunning but the tides are very strong and the sea although warm is quite rough. On the plus side no famillies children or beach sellers.

There are only a few cabanas so the resort is vey quiet. It is isolated which we liked but does mean that you will need to eat in the hotel and take tuk tuk into town. The only other place you can walk to is another hotel which in my opinion is not as nice.

If you want to do nothing all day and sleep all night this place is for you.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank kateandmark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2011

Mangrove Chalets
Charming, efficient staff and interesting arrival arrangements via a pulley raft which draws you over from the mainland to an island which sits between the ocean and a lagoon. The 2 storey cottages are pleasant - comfortable beds/pillows/lights over the beds/hot water/good towels/ a proper clothes area etc although no mosquito nets. The small open air dining area has wonderful hardwood furniture that is designed around the contours of the wood and is right on the beach with flares and storm candles adding to the atmosphere at night. The food is good but not fantastic but the charming, willing service makes up for any shortcomings. We kept the staff up late and brought our own wine and there were no murmers about either!

Mangrove Cabanas
Arrival by road as opposed to the water arrival at the adjacent Mangrove Chalets. Basic but v comfortable two storey cabanas all making beautiful use of local woods. The beds/pillows and towels all good - there are also mosquito nets. Most of the staff very helpful although the manager appears to be a civil servant who has been plucked, against his will, from his desk to the beach. Smiling is clearly not one of his strengths! Like the Chalets the cabanas are very well managed - there is a strong sense of professionalism and organisation. Unlike the open air restaurant attached to the chalets the dining room here is roofed and more protected from the elements so a far better bet if the weather is poor.
The only disadvantage of both sites is the unsafe sea swimming conditions due to strong currents.

Stayed: January 2011, traveled solo
1  Thank BeckaG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mangrove Beach Cabanas & Chalets

Address: Kapuhenwela | Marakolliya, Tangalle 82200, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Tangalle
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 144 Specialty Lodging in Tangalle
Price Range: $58 - $119 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Mangrove Beach Cabanas & Chalets Hotel Tangalle
Mangrove Beach Cabanas And Chalets

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