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“Lovely staff but lied to...”

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Gems Garden Guest House & Restaurant
Ranked #78 of 143 Tangalle B&B and Inns
Reviewed March 27, 2014

We first met the brother on the street who invited us to see his guesthouse. He was lovely. So friendly! As I work online, we enquired about wifi and told him we needed to work and he assured us there was wifi and it was no problem. He even told us there was wifi in the room (there wasn't).
When checking in we were asked to only use one of the beds in the room which we thought was strange but not a problem. We were then told we either had to pay up front or leave our passport with them (which nowhere else in SL has asked us to do, and as we are driving a tuktuk we get stopped and asked to show our passports alot so we can't leave it) so we paid up front. No problem.
After us 2 ladies from France checked in and had a rather heated discussion about leaving their passports. They refused and the brother kept telling them they were "rude" and he had never had problems with French people before, so they must be strange in France too! He said this to their face!!
The sisters were lovely and very friendly with our baby. We ordered dinner (which was expensive $550 for rice and 2 curries!!) and I set about working whilst my husband and baby went to the beach.
There was no wifi so I asked for it to be connected and 1.5 hours later my husband was approached by the brother who told him rather rudely that I was using too much internet and unless I stopped they would charge us an extra 2000rupees more for the room!! It was off season now (off season starts this week) and he could show us his wifi bill, and it was people like me who would drive him out of business, and that everywhere was the same (which it hasn't been the last month we have been here). We were taken aback and initially apologised... But then the French girls asked for wifi (they hadn't used it yet) and were told they could only use it if they ordered dinner from the restaurant!! They were going to order anyway but they were really upset with the way they were treated.
We decided to only stay one night. There was a tripadvisor sticker up so we asked for a business card and were refused one! They clearly didn't want us to make any comments.

I just want to say, the sisters were lovely. The cabanas were nice. The location was lovely. The beach was nice. The food was average.
More than anything we felt disappointed that the brother lied to us and was so rude. We would have stayed a few days if he hadn't have lied to us and then been so rude to us and the French girls.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank rohandrob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 - 38 of 102 reviews

Reviewed March 12, 2014

I stayed here in February 2014 for about 10 nights. The guesthouse is set just by the beach at the far end from town (maybe 25 metres back from the sea, and with an open sandy ‘garden’ area between them), very near to Ganesh Garden, and the rooms were very good value when compared to others in the area. The rooms are also very clean. I stayed in one of the two detached bungalows which are bigger and smarter rooms than the two rooms in the main building; both bungalows have 2 double beds, a large bathroom, hot water, fan and verandah. I thought the bungalow nearest the road was the smartest inside, with a smarter and brighter bathroom, though the other bungalow looked fancier from the outside. As the guesthouse is quite small it feels quite homely, and you get friendly service with a personal touch from Ruwan and his sisters.

Some other visitors have commented that they have waited a long time for food to arrive in the little restaurant, and it is true that the small kitchen can get a bit overwhelmed at times – however, this isn’t a reason not to stay in this lovely little guesthouse as you can always go to the restaurant of a neighbouring guesthouse if the restaurant at Gem’s Garden is already busy with tables waiting for food: I would recommend Little Pumpkin Cabanas which is a stone’s throw away, or the Chance Lanka Fishing Hut about 10 mins walk away in the direction of town, if you find Gem’s Garden is busy.

Also, if you are thi nking of staying here you should be aware that swimming anywhere in Tangalle was restricted by powerful waves and undercurrents when I was there (and probably most of the time), but this end of the beach is the quietest part and there are still a couple of places where it is safe to swim.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled solo
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2  Thank Peter_Pan875
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2014 via mobile

Friendliest family with 3 cute puppies, nice restaurant at the sea, private beach, good food. Best breakfast with hoppers!! but especially the location and the relaxed atmosphere is what makes this place a really nice.place to stay at.. Marakolliya beach is not overcrowded , good beach although you can't swim because of the rough waves. We definitely recommend this amazing guesthouse

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
3  Thank MTax2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2014

Planned to spend 5 nights but stayed on for an extra 4. We loved the ambiance of this charming guesthouse run by Ruwan and his 2 adorable sisters. This is not luxe-luxe but makes up for it by their devotion and simple friendship. It was always a pleasure to take off our sandals, step into the restaurant on stilts, overlooking the beach, and relish their home-cooked food. Ruwan goes to the market daily to buy fresh produce. The guesthouse is practically on a deserted stretch of a golden beach, the silence punctuated by crashing waves.

This place is close to Mulkirigala Rock Temple, housing some magnificent reclining Buddhas dating back to the 18th century, definitely worth a visit. Ruwan can also provide nice, reliable tuk-tuk drivers to go sightseeing. We really loved this guesthouse and this family and are already planning a return visit.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Hima D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2014

We havent stayed here yet, we have checked out the prices. The staff seem friendly and at first glance the place looks tidy. I cant comment on cleanliness as we just had a quick look. The room we saw was very small and dark charging R3500 including breakfast and the cabana R4500 also including breakfast. I spoke to a lady staying there and she said it was quiet and the food was lovely. Hopefully we can stay here in a few days. Hope this review helps others

  • Stayed: February 2014
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3  Thank Noonoo76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2014

We discover this place by accident and originally wanted to stay for one night. However the location close to the beach, friendly atmosphere, nice owners and very quiet surrounding persuaded us to stay here for the whole week.
We found the salat with pineaple very refreshing in a hot weather and also the Sri Lankan breakfast was delicious. Fresh fish and seafood was superb.
Nice play to stay!!!!

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Petr T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2014 via mobile

Just had a lovely time at Gems Garden!
A family run guest house, only a few meters off the beach, where you can sleep hearing the ocean waves. Stayed in one of the two cabanas, which has two double beds and is very reasonably priced at around 27€ in high season (probably much cheaper in other times) and can sleep up to 4 people. There are also two cheaper rooms in the guesthouse. The cabana was spacious, clean with a big and clean bathroom.
Food was also great: seafood and curries, all fresh and homecooked. And you can enjoy it sitting in the veranda overlooking the sea.
Not only a great place, but also a lovely and welcoming family, always helpful and friendly.
I definitely reccommend Gems Garden to everyone wishing to enjoy a relaxing time in Tangalle.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
2  Thank franferr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gems Garden Guest House & Restaurant

Address: Madilla Road, Marakolliya Beach, Tangalle 82200, Sri Lanka (Formerly Gems Garden)
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Tangalle
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #78 of 143 B&Bs / Inns in Tangalle
Price Range: $27 - $71 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cozy family guest house on the beach with a great open-air Sri Lankan seafood restaurant. The restaurant and guesthouse are located at the famous Marakolliya beach of Tangalle where beautiful sunsets are no exception. With four rooms available, two regular rooms in the guesthouse and one separate two cabana, every guest will feel at home. The simple and clean rooms are all equipped with a personal bathroom, fan, mosquito net and will contribute to the beach vibe. There are Balcony,private entrance, seating areas,dressing table,Hot shower,2 large bed,mosquito net,towels in the separate cabanas. You will enjoy the very special family atmosphere and experience the relaxing holidays you were craving for. Can provide accommodate turtle visit,Lagoon visit, airport service, or any other further travels. We hope to welcome you soon! ... more   less 
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