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“How hotels should be on a tropical Island!”
Review of Uga Jungle Beach

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Uga Jungle Beach
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kuchchaveli
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“How hotels should be on a tropical Island!”
Reviewed July 25, 2014

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!

Room Tip: if staying in the two storey rooms ask to be upstairs, better balcony views and you wont hear the f...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Arnbull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Blandford Forum, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2014

After touring Sri Lanka and staying at the superb The Wallawa, Kandy House and Jetwing Vil Uyana, we spent the next two nights of our holiday here. What a huge disappointment it was. In fact the website portrayed, to us, a completely different picture.
The spa is closed until 'late 2014', the pool is coloured in the wrong green, is uninviting and looks like it is covered in algae. There are only enough spaces for 10 people on the comfy chairs by the bar and pool. The pool area is so tight that in some places, you have to step over peoples feet while they are sunbathing to get past. We booked two beach cabins (one for our teenagers) which stated on the website, overlooked the Indian Ocean. Well they were located in an overgrown scrubland 'jungle' and no way could we see the sea. The rooms were therefore very dark. On the way to our cabins with our luggage were two mattresses and a vacuum cleaner (that stayed there for 2 hours!) that had been left on the side of the seemingly unfinished path - very unprofessional

Dinner First night: Red wine cold. (2nd night fine). Jumbo prawns (not cheap) dry and obviously had been sitting around for hours. Set menus chocolate pudding could have been out of a packet.
Breakfast: Ok cooked breakfast. Stale bread and croissants. Warm coffee.
Dinner 2nd night: The curry was good but we decided against the fruit platter for pudding at approx. £6.00 incl tax and service (Fruit is in abundance in Sri Lanka and growing on the other side of the road to the hotel!
Breakfast 2nd morning. Coffee was hot this morning. Same standard as before but no hash browns (replaced by veggie burgers)

Waiters are rather scruffy. They REALLY try but they seem to have no manager to lead them and look a bit lost and unsure what to do. Even the bar staff seemed to be reading a manual to mix a drink.

We went to Pidgeon Island which was fantastic (did not do it through the hotel ) but our driver organised an excellent local man, who was not expensive (available on Nilaveli beach without booking) who took us for a memorable snorkel around half of the island. A must - wonderful fishes and coral

POSITIVES: The staff really do want to please but lack any direction or proper training. The bed and pillows are excellent (The best we encountered) The air conditioning very efficient. Room very clean and showers very good.

This hotel is NOT good value for money and certainly overpriced compared with those hotels we had stayed in before on the island. (Our teenagers though, did not think this place was too bad). The Pidgeon island trip saved us. I was actually very keen to leave the hotel as early as possible on check out day (again, check out was disorganised and unprofessional, lacking in competent management like the whole hotel.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank char918
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ramli G, Director/CEO at Uga Jungle Beach, responded to this review, August 4, 2014
Dear Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to post your valuable feedback on your recent stay with us.

The shortcomings indicated by you with regard to the services of the hotel and the pool have been taken up seriously with the concerned departmental heads. We value the patronage of each guest, but under the circumstances, we appear to have fallen in our standard of service and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you again and regain your confidence in us.

Best regards,
Ramli Ghaffoor
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 23, 2014

We stayed 5 nights in the JBR and didn't want to leave...... incredible environment with delicious food and excellent service. The beautiful breakfast laid out on a wooden platter is memorable. A large room with tall ceilings, a huge bed and a secluded veranda and outdoor shower complete the look. I want an indoor shower like theirs! The thatched bar and restaurant area is very attractive and dining on the treetop platform is a must. The pool is more decorative rather than fro swimming and the driveway off the road into the hotel is very narrow and precarious. However staying amongst the mangrove yet within spitting distance of the white sand beach - you couldn't ask for me, so JBR is highly recommended.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Grania2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2014

Set among the native low-growing forest in Sri Lanka's West coast a short drive from Trincomallee, the hotel blends perfectly into the natural environment. From the beach, one can hardly see the hotel. I stayed at a Beach Villa - large room with King Size bed, and bathroom including a delightful secluded outdoor shower (hot and cold water). The room was within a short walk from an amazing beach and calm sea (during monsoon season the sea gets rough). The rooms are fully air conditioned, or if you prefer, use the overhead fan. Nicely laid out with the bed facing a large window with privacy assured by the trees in front - or use the drapes if you prefer! Room lighting could be better. The dining, bar and other common areas are open on all sides and the natural air conditioning is perfect. One downside of this openness are the flies that want to share your meal! Those on half or full board meal plans have a choice of dishes, but note that the more exotic dishes cost extra. Food is decent and well presented, but I wouldn't qualify it as exceptional. Staff are extremely helpful. Special mention must be made of Mr. Jayalath, who waited on us during our 3 day stay for his helpfulness and advice, and Ms. Timasha who helped arranged transport, biking, and rides to the Pigeon Island Marine National Park. I shall return!

Room Tip: Fly to Trincomallee if you are travelling from Colombo, the capital city as it is a mere one hour fl...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RAnilC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lucerne, Switzerland
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2014

I stayed in the JBR for 1 week in June 2014, I travelled together with my friend Anna, we just wanted to recover from jobs and families - and we did! We stayed in a beach villa, which was fantastc with a private path to the marvellous beach and a wonderful outdoor shower. The beach bugalows are really to recommend and are much nicer than the lagoon villas, which actually face the street. The food in the restaurant is excellent, especially the local dishes, though the price is quite high. But the very best about the JBR is its staff! Everybody was very polite and helpful. I'd like to mention personally Timasha, the Guest Relations Executive, Denver from the reception, Shamm, the brilliant natualist and Jayalah, the excellent chef de service. They tried to make everything possible for us, like a dinner at the beach, a snorkling trip to pigeon island, a bicycle tour, a private taylor and so much more. I just want to thank them for everything! I hope to come back one day. I highly recommend this hotel for a luxury, exotic and relaxing holiday.

Room Tip: Beach Villas are much nicer than lagoon Villas
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Uschi H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2014

The place is built in an eco friendly way. Although we stayed in the lagoon cabins there was no view of the lagoon. However the rooms were quite spacious and good value for money. There was an outdoor as well as an indoor shower. Although I didn’t use it some may find the outdoor shower fascinating,

The food was just amazing. For lunch we ordered a standard rice and curry and we ended up been served over 10 curries with rice. We were also vegetarian and the hotel offered a separate menu for us. We were also amazed at the creativity in the presentation of the food and fusion food that was offered to us from the raw mango juice to the tamarind soup and the Sri Lankan style tiramusu. I would rate the food highly based on presentation to creativity to the quality of the food offered.

Although the beach and the pool was nothing to brag about, the bar at the beach was amazing, serving cocktails never tried before. The king coconut and the Malibu cocktail is definitely one to try.

The staff was extremely friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gimhani L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deinze, Belgium
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2014

We stayed her for three nights. During our stay we didn' t have even one remark. The rooms are superb, the food delicious, the presentation of it a blessing for the eye, the service awesome, the location and atmosphere fantastic.And even if the booking price is not really cheap , your staying for a few days in paradise

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jean-Pierre H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Uga Jungle Beach

Property: Uga Jungle Beach
Address: 27th Kilometre Post Pulmoddai Rd | Trincomalee, Kuchchaveli 31014, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Eastern Province > Kuchchaveli
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kuchchaveli
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Uga Jungle Beach 5*
Number of rooms: 48
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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