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Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kuchchaveli
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 28, 2014

As a Sri Lankan, this would be one of the best resorts that I have visited by far. Though there are many upcoming resorts as well as ones which are currently operational, this would be the best by far according to my many visits to the North East of Sri Lanka.

As sunny as the weather was the sea was pretty clear and also included a clean beach. You wouldn't be able to spot the sea at first as the name says as the Jungle covers the Beach. As soon as you step out, you would have a magnificent view. Staff is friendly, rooms are of really good standards with Modern Tropical Conceptually designed interiors. The Chalets me and my family stayed were one of a kind! The food, if you do not order of course is on a fixed or set menu. If you would like to order you may go ahead. I had the opportunity in talking to the chef in person as he was a very friendly guy. A bit on the pricey side I would say as a local, but if you are a foreigner I'm sure the food would please you as you may not get such a great deal elsewhere. A lovely pool sits aside covered by greenery, which could be over looked from the sized dining area and the lounge. This gives you the sense of pure serenity.

All in all, if you are on the look out for a sandy beach, good food, comfortable stay with the idea of proper relaxation, this is the place to be!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank sahankekiri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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635 - 641 of 1,078 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2014

If you want the quick and fast review: everything runs smoothly, the staff always smiles and the food is of very good quality. You really can't go wrong with this place, for as long as you do not stay for say more than a week: the menu is very repetitive and once you are done with the beach and few excursions around then there isn't much to do.

Now, some things about the resort which i didn't know:
1. the internet wifi coverage is excellent all the way to the beach
2. every room comes with a 32 inch screen, a DVD player (with USB connector, you can bring your own hard drive/movies)
3. room 32 has a private jacuzzi
4. the resident yoga master is excellent, even if you have been practicing yoga for 19 years... You will learn something for sure
5. if you want to avoid the 7 hours road trip from colombo, look into cinnamon airways which flies to the very near airport
6. the resort has more families than couples, but the design of the whole place is such that you will not be disturbed by noises
7. diving can be organized (40 euros per dive)
8. trip to pigeon island can be organized (50 US per person, national park fee of 4200 rupees for two over and above that): 30 minutes boat ride
9. dolphins/whale watching can be organized (50 US/head)

This place is very good for a chilled vacation, but you will not see much of SRI LANKA as it is far from the city.

Room Tip: Room 32 has a jacuzzi, beach bungalows are right on the beach.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Chnafou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2014

Great location, lovely staff and fantastic luxury cabins. Standard of food very high. Service was patchy when we arrived but the response from Rohana the asst manager was spot on and we were well looked after for the rest of our stay.

Lovely friendly service from the waiters, and fantastic outdoor showers

Only negative comment- please get rid of the jet skis. They are inappropriate and out of place in such an idyllic spot. Unpowered wakeboards or kayaks would be fine!

Room Tip: Book the beach cabins, or the jungle cabins. The lagoon cabins face the main road.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank glevumwilliams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2014 via mobile

What a shame. After two marvelous weeks in Sri Lanka, staying in incredibly original and luxurious hotels like the Ceylon Tea Trails, Buckingham Place, or the Kandalama - to end our trip here was a huge disappointment. The resort has not an ounce of Sri Lankan authenticity to it. The "jungle" theme decor could have come straight out of a branch of the Rainforest Cafe, and everything from the piped 90s soft rock background music in the bar, to the overwhelmingly European menu, meant this was a "by the numbers" standard-issue beach resort which we could have found much closer and for a quarter of the price in the costa del sol. The pool is tiny and suffers from a whiff of sewage nearby, and the beach is unremarkable, with streaks of black sand. Plus you're 20 minutes drive from the nearest town, so they have you as captive audience - meaning the price of the food is insanely high.
On the positive side, the staff are exceptional, and do their very best to accommodate every whim and wish. But if you've traveled to Sri Lanka to experience what this island is about, skip the Jungle Beach resort.

Stayed: July 2014
4  Thank ernestoteles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ramli G, Director/CEO at Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2014

Dear Guest,
Thank you for your positive feedback on our staff and service levels. We are however deeply disappointed that you found some aspects of our hotel not to your liking.

Jungle Beach, was recently awarded as the best hideaway resort for in the Indian ocean by the World Luxury Hotel awards and hence we are sincerely concerned that you found the hotel’s decor non authentic , especially since the hotel was constructed with so much minimal impact to the environment. In fact our main restaurant was built around a large tree which we decided not to fell just to preserve the environment the hotel is in.

We take great pride in the preparation of our food and this is one reason we’ve not opted for a buffet themed restaurant. We therefore value your feedback immensely and I have escalated them to the Food and Beverage Director who will be taking immediate action.

Jungle Beach is considered by many as a hideaway resort especially due to the privacy it offers and hence we believe our location facilitates this greatly. While Trincomalee the nearest major town is 27 kms away Nilaveli another town which is popular with tourists that comprises many dining options is only 12 kms away and can be reached in 15 minutes.

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

Regards,
Ramli Ghaffoor

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
2  Thank Arnbull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
3  Thank char918
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ramli G, Director/CEO at Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes, responded to this reviewResponded 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.
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
Thank Grania2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes

Address: 27th Kilometre post Pulmoddai Rd, Kuchchaveli 31014, Sri Lanka (Formerly Uga Jungle Beach)
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: $139 - $386 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes 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 birds, 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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