We were there for 5 days in July, and we had a great time.
The Hotel: simply beautiful, the most natural hotel I've stayed at in coastal SL, I really appreciate their architecture and the whole philosophy behind the way the hotel is built, which contrasts the majority of the coastal resorts being built, which in my opinion mostly look like concrete hospitals or city hotels.
The Beach: cozy yet open, you can safely walk for about 4/5 kms , there are some striations of black mineral on the called ILMENITE, the access to the beach, along various paths fames it in between bushes in a very picturesque fashion. they put out around 20/30 beach chairs, and at times you may have to ask for more to be brought out, we did see some people leaving disappointed as they thought there were none to use, but ask the staff and they'll find you more, even if they have to carry them from the pool for you. In July the beach was wavy but by no means rough, kids were swimming and we didn't have any issue with sandflies or mosquitoes even at sunset.
The rooms : Lovely and spacious, with the a/c intelligently placed away from the bed, but easily powerful enough to cool the room, balcony for chilling or smokers, free bathrobes slippers, iPhone charger, sat tv...lovely HUGE bathroom... (no bidet but toilet shower), great wide pan shower... and again its a room that reminds you are in the Indian ocean, not a bog standard sterile hotel room. Wi-Fi was not the strongest in our room but its free and good enough for whatsapp/emails/Facebook etc.. much better in the common areas. Mobile reception if you have a simcard was great, 3g/H everywhere.
The Food: This is one of their great points, every meal is served a-la-carte (we were in FB) and although a bit slow the dishes are very modern and a great fusion of traditional Srilankan ingredients with a nouvelle cuisine twist. I loved their cold watermelon and shrimp soup , and the curry spread was just awesome, literally one person's portion could feed 4. The chef Vichalya (sorry if mis-spelled) is great guy and extremely accommodating and clearly has a passion for food, each dish is impeccably presented and I really have to give him credit for his perfection in cooking seafood, which I often find slightly overcooked in Srilanka. Also the tamarind soup with mango ice cream was to die for...will definitely be trying to replicate some of their dishes at home...
The only criticism or rather suggestion I would have regarding the food is that on full board (3 meals) we were spending about 5 hours a day sat at the restaurant eating, which is great but given the hotel is on the east coast that slightly limited our daylight hours for enjoying the sea/tours etc, so maybe at least for breakfast a buffet would be a speedier option...
The staff: Due to the hotels location being very isolated from towns and other resorts most of the staff is relatively young, and sometimes a little inexperienced, but they do make up for it by being extremely courteous and they always serve with a smile. That said i never saw a plate or fork being dropped...The more experienced staff such as the restaurant captain, the FnB manager and some of the older waiters and porters are truly great, and offer good conversation on top of great service. The manager has worked at some of SL's most exclusive resorts and he runs a tight crew, with any issues rapidly addressed and dealt with.
The Scene: This place is about relaxation, there really isn't much to do past 9pm, we had the staff keep the bar open for us for a few nights, and they were happy to do so, having great chats with them, on a few nights the bar was busier due to the late football world cup matches, but other than that its very quiet.
The activities: fun but not that adventurous, the hotel has 2 jet skis at the moment ( 35$ for 15 mins) and that is about the extent of their watersports. They do offer a boat-trip to pigeon island for snorkeling, but its way better to just do the trip from Nilaveli ,much cheaper and is also a way shorter boat ride.
They provide bikes for local exploration and have a naturalist (member of the SL wildlife/ zoology association) on site to guide guests and show them the local flora and fauna.
spa/Gym: they do have a small gym with a multi exercise cable machine, a treadmill and an elliptical trainer, as well as few dumbbells, its ok...the spa was not ready yet when we stayed, but they do call in a masseuse , the massage is about 5000 rupees per hour, and is just OK, no match for CocoSpa or Spa Ceylon available in Colombo or on the south coast.
Insects/animals: its called JUNGLE beach, and it amazed me the amount of guests I heard complain about insects or animals around the property...stay in a city if this will bother you, this place is for nature lovers. They even have a 'resident' deer called bunny who can be found near the staff quarters...great place to teach kids about nature and how to both enjoy and respect it. We did see a couple of Monitor lizards and snakes but never in a dangerous or close by context, the paths are kept impeccably clean and each room is supplied with a powerful torch for night time roaming. I loved it!
Accessibility: we had a wheelchair user in our party and all the common areas had ramps and alternative routes, and anywhere we had an issue the staff were extremely fast at spotting the problem and helping us, sometimes we had 3 people offering to carry the wheelchair and at the beach the lifeguard was extremely helpful in helping me wheel the chair on the softer sand.
Overall: Great great place, really relaxed and stuffed ourselves , and able to offer a great combination of sea and land nature.
Just could do with a few more watersports/evening activities to cater for the younger guests. Its only been built recently so they still have to complete a few things like the spa, but its definitely on the right track! Well done UGA!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Within just 30 minutes drive from Trincomalee Jungle Beach is located in Kuchchaveli, on the eastern seaboard of Sri Lanka, Jungle Beach is every bit as its name implies; spectacularly set in an entirely natural and harmonious blend of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated virtues – its wondrous beaches and teeming jungles.Nestled within a secluded 10-acre reserve, sandwiched between the vast Indian Ocean and a lagoon filled with colorful bird, this luxury beach resort beckons with over 4km of private beaches, tropical mangroves and endless pursuits. 48 luxurious villas of modern design yet crafted from indigenous materials as to appear born of the jungle and fused in harmony with the natural surroundings all offering spectacular views of the ocean. Each villa tucked deeply within luscious foliage, offers utmost privacy and seclusion. Spacious 650 square feet villas, each one luxuriously appointed with king sized beds, high-end entertainment systems, private decks and outdoor rain showers ... more less
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