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Mount Lavinia Hotel
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Reviewed February 15, 2013

Fine place. Lovely views. Breakfast choice is a little lighter than could be expected but everything is of good quality. Rooms are very good. Linen well maintained. Steps to climb for practically everything. No elevators. Water supply good. Hot water good. Morning news papers not delivered. Phone service excellent.

M Seshagiri Rao
Bangalore, India

Room Tip: Room 207 is a corner room with sea views all around.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Moorchung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MLHG-Management, General Manager at Mount Lavinia Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 17, 2013

Dear Mr Rao, thank you for the wonderful comments left about our property on tripadvisor and it was wonderful having you with us…we hope that you will visit us again during your next stay in Sri Lanka

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

This is a huge old colonial hotel about 4 miles outside colombo where we have stayed many times. Staff service can be erratic but if you are courteous and polite you get treated in the same way. Our experience has shown this. For example I injured my leg whilst there and could not walk easily to the dining room, so the duty manager was willing to allow us a concessionary dinner room rate for the night against our half board cost. Another staff member found me some ayurvedic balm to ease the leg pain.
Food here is good on a mass catering level, but excellent if you choose a la carte, with excellent fillet steak. The occasional blips we find endearing rather than inefficient, this is an Asian country not new York! The many weddings are a source of interest to us rather than annoyance, and there is a great sense of bustle and occasion about the whole place, particularly on Sunday's when a Jazz band plays by the pool and locals come out from the city for lunch.
Beach and terrace staff are very attentive, although sometimes could use more initiative when things need doing. We found room cleaning to be adequate, but the beds a little hard. The bay wing rooms are quiet but if you have a linked room beware if the person in the next room is noisy or smokes, as noise and smoke can leak through to your room. The bay wing rooms need updating and balcony furniture needs replacing.
I guess with this hotel, you get fond of it and enjoy its sense of history despite the occasional inefficiencies and quirks, or you go to a newer, anonymous, efficient place which has no atmosphere. We have been in both and prefer the former.
Our special thanks to the bespectacled beach bar attendant (never did know his name) who has been there for years and gives excellent service, and terrace waitress Aruni , again a long term employee, who has unfailingly anticipated our every need each time we revisit, and always remembers us. She is a gem.
Internet access was not fast and should be free given this is not a cheap hotel.
This is a very conveniently placed hotel if you want to be near colombo but not in the city centre. Cars with drivers from the hotel can be hired for approx £20 for 4 hours which was a great way to get around Colombo or further afield.
There is a railway station adjacent to the hotel where trains run to Galle one way or colombo the other. We have travelled in this train to Colombo (cost 20p!) and it was great, following the sea all the way in.
There are also some restaurants within walking distance of the hotel but we have not used them on this trip.
There is a seafood restaurant on the beach which is connected to the hotel. Previously half board guests could get a big discount using a voucher obtained from reception. Unfortunately they no longer offer this which is a pity. As a result we did not eat there so cannot comment on the food.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms with link doors to next door, or by the lift. Higher bay wing rooms facing Colombo have good views. If you want a true colonial experience choose an old fashioned governors wing room, large but they have no balconies.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank karen h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MLHG-Management, General Manager at Mount Lavinia Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 17, 2013

Dear Reviewer thank you for the comprehensive review of our property. Thank you for the lovely comments mentioned about the hospitality of our team which we consider our biggest asset here at MLH. We hope to see you again at our iconic heritage hotel by the sea.

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Reviewed February 14, 2013

Its good , in some ways it's really good but scratch the surface just a little but and you realise that it's a but of a wedding factory to the sri lankan middle classes
I was there for a wedding and there must have been , over the 3 days we stayed about 20 wedding parties - 2 large ballrooms , 2 other function rooms and. Number of beach wedding venue options
The room we had was a bit tired and being on a lower floor it was a nasty journey down and out litally and beside the rail line to th corridor and then a bit of a hike as well...
On the other side the guys managing the door and lobby could not he been nicer , more friendly and genuinely welcoming and the real thanks from the reception girl when I ( with too much weight in my luggage) left behind some new books - its lovely to get this genuine service
On the flip side the most expensive drink of baileys for the size of the glass ever
On the flip side ........
Looks its a McDonalds - not bad not good sometimes a total treat but you don't want it every day

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TravellingRainbow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MLHG-Management, General Manager at Mount Lavinia Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 8, 2013

Dear guest thank you for staying at the Mount Lavinia Hotel… A British Governor's residence forms the nucleus of the hotel which has expanded in size and style to the sprawling colonial palace it is today and the famous romance rainbowed over the hotel one of the reasons why, perhaps, it is a favorite choice for lovers, weddings and honeymoons. We are currently undergoing some soft refurbishments to the property to provide a more modern feel to our many valued customers. We hope you will return to stay with us during your next visit to Sri Lanka.

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Reviewed February 13, 2013

Ignore the glossy internet description. This hotel just dosen't have the foggiest idea of health, hygiene, and standards expected by consumers from the west. Chipmunks scampering all over the crockery & cutlery on the breakfast tables, breaking open packs of sugar went ignored by staff despite being reminded they are "rodents/vermin" and carry harmful bacteria.

Having approached a waiter to change a dirty table, he responded by asking me "are you hungry or angry"? There are lots of staff milling about, but none with any sense of direction or purpose. The only one with any common sense was Camilus, the server of tea & coffee who had worked there 29 years. Pity he could not have been put in charge of training the others.

Breakfast was always a shambles. How can a 4* hotel run out of basics like local fruit which can be bought in abundance very cheaply? Yet this happened! Inexperienced staff were put in charge of frying eggs and omlettes and making a monumental mess in the process.
Having waited for 15 minutes for a fried egg and seeing no hope of getting it I gave up!

The evening buffet might appear to have a good range but actually is quite shocking. Undercooked rice was mixed in with cooked rice causing damage to one of my family's tooth. Cold curry was piled on top of remnants in the warming containers without being heated to boiling point, adding to the risk of food poisoning. Despite apologies from the training manager the problems still continued.

The bar staff are obviously unaware of the dangers of using dirty cloths, as a barman wiped down the work surface and then used the same cloth to catch the fizz from an overflowing bottle top
Room service on our final night was the last straw. Burger and chips arrived cold and inedible, but by then we were too fed up to complain.

Cleanliness of the balconies is overlooked. The rail was heavily coated in black grime which rubbed off on to our clothes when leant on and the wooden chairs were dirty and stained.

The only solution I see is for the Management and staff to be re-trained in basic health and hygiene and focus on attention to detail.

Room Tip: Rooms on the top floor have good views but no water pressure. Shower takes 20 minutes! Rooms on the ground floor have excellent water pressure but very grubby.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank pogson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MLHG-Management, General Manager at Mount Lavinia Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2013

Dear valued guest thank you for choosing Mount Lavinia Hotel as your preferred holiday destination …your feedback is truly appreciated and we are truly sorry for any inconvenience during your stay. The relevant departments have been briefed and trained accordingly and strict measures have been placed to ensure that all health and hygiene related protocols are adhered. Whilst thanking you for taking the time to write to us we wish to see you at our property once again during your next stay in Sri Lanka.

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Reviewed February 13, 2013

Stayed for two nights in January.
we didn't get off to a great start. On arrival we were directed to the Lobby Bar where we were promised a welcome drink.
The drink never arrived and after about 15mins we were approached by a manager who told us they were overbooked and suggested we should re-locate to Bentoto. Given that (a) we had a confirmed booking from months ago and (b) we had driven past Bentoto a couple of hours previously on our way up from Galle, we were not impressed and said so. To be fair, the manager immediately backed off and gave us a room, but not a great first impression.
The room was modern and well appointed but not well located, ground floor with a restricted view of some sea but nothing else, which was not what we had been led to expect.
On the plus side, the restaurant staff were great and we were able to reserve excellent tables with great views on both nights. The choice at the buffet was exceptional, the best we encountered in Sri Lanka and drinks service was fine.
I can understand some of the other comments about the size of the pool area given the number of guests and also the "wedding" issue. We had a homecoming photo shoot outside our room which we found "cute" but others might have found annoying.
This was also the only hotel we stayed at in sri Lanka that wanted to charge us for wifi.
The colonial uniforms are quaint but unless they are backed up by 5star service, they are more likely to provoke an adverse reaction than be a benefit.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank agedtrundler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MLHG-Management, General Manager at Mount Lavinia Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 8, 2013

Dear guest thank you for writing to us on tripadvsior…we are truly sorry for the inconvenience caused to you during check-in and apologize for this…thank you for the wonderful comments about our team and cuisine which is highly appreciated…our hotel is a famous location for weddings and honeymooners due to the romantic roots of our historical property however we do try our best to minimize hassle caused to our guests…we hope you will return to stay with us on your next visit to Sri Lanka.

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