Location:Ranwelli is about 30 minutes from the airport which is a lot less than the resorts to the south of Columbo.
Ranwelli was very peaceful with sunsets over the sea. While we were there the wind from the south -west (slightly left as you looked out to sea) was almost constant, quite stormy on a couple of nights.
Staff; friendly and cheerful. On one occasion one of them did spend a very long time cleaning the room while we were on the terrace, but there was most definately no asking for tips or demands that you put their children through university as elsewhere on tripadvisor.
Rooms; large enough but filled with too much furniture, flowers on the bed each day, which you may have seen before.... There's no TV, kettle, hairdrier etc. We brought a kettle and rented a fridge at $5 per day which came to £37 for two weeks - a bit expensive but at least we could have cold drinks when we wanted.
Food; vegetarians were catered for but limited choice. The Sri Lankan food was excelent,but repetative. Their attempts at western dishes were interesting. The biggest problem was consistency - if we tried something one day and it was good and then had it 3 or 4 days later it could be terrible. Very early on we had a couple of whisky sour cocktails, the first time they were great but several times after they wern't. At breakfast they had sago; very nice, sweet with nuts and fruit. Second time, just lots of salt. The deserts were pretty tastless.
The Eco thing; we suspect this was mostly a marketing ploy. For example; the drinking water came in half litre bottles so over two weeks we used over 100 bottles we didn't know if the plastic was recycled or thrown away.
The guests; some English, some German/Austrian and some Sri Lankans so the place was not full of lobster coloured Brits. At the weekends and some other times there were a number of Sri Lankan weddings taking place. So there were couples, a suited groom with a loud shirt and the bride in bright red - accompanied by a photographer and video camera man. (Some where in Sri Lanka there is a couple with a picture by the Ranwelli pool with our Sainsbury's plastic bag-for-life in the background.) Some people have said that they found the weddings intrusive but we found it charming.
The bar claims to be open until midnight but in practice closes just after 11pm. Retutning late one evening we couldn't even get a bottle of water.
The hotel was a bit isolated, it is some distance from their car park & ferry to the main road, about 3km. The hotel 'recomended' taxis wanted 1,500 SLRs (about £7,50) for a return trip to Negombo and 1000 SLRs (£5) return to Waikkal. When we walked from the car park area we were able to get a tuk-tuk to Waikkal, one-way for 300 SLRs (£1.50).
To visit Pinewalla and Kandy Kouni and Tradewinds wanted £160 for both of us.' Antony', just outside the hotel's car park and the hotel taxis wanted between £70 and £85.When we tried to ask about self-drive car hire they, our travel company rep and the hotel reception staff understandably shook thier heads and said they wouldn't advise it. Once in Negombo we went to the road with all the big hotels,Brown's Beach, Jetwing, Topaz Beach etc and asked in these and in the shops nearby advertising car and scooter rental. Eventually we found Sha Lanka (www.negombo-motor-cycle-tours.com). They rented us a small hatchback for 3,500 SLRs (£17.50) for 24 hours plus 500 SLRs (£2.50) for delivery and collection to Ranwelli. If we'd had it for longer the price would have dropped to 2,500 SLRs per day.(Suranga Perera, the owner will bellyache about how poor he is and how he can't afford to repair his wife's washing machine - it's just part of the haggling process !) Fuel, when we were there, cost 157 SLRs per litre (75 pence) which the locals thought was expensive. Fuel to Kandy and back cost us 2,000 (£10). So the whole trip cost us 6,000 SLRs about £30, less than half the cost of being driven. About driving; rent something bigger than we did, don't drive in the dark if you can possibly help it and take a good map. When asking for directions only ask for places within 10 km or so.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ranweli Holiday Village is an eco-friendly resort located on a 22-acre peninsula where mangrove forests and winding rivers converge to meet the sea. Located only 18 kms from Colombo's International Airport, Ranweli is the perfect base to explore the fascinating history, culture and nature of Sri Lanka. The hotel is on Waikkal Beach & provides bungalows & rooms with a private bathroom. The resort has an outdoor pool and its own restaurant & bar. Each bungalow / room is air-conditioned, has a safe, sitting area and telephone. The attached bathroom includes a hot/cold shower. Guests can enjoy a beach volleyball, billiards or table tennis at Ranweli. Water activities such as paddle boating, canoeing and kayaking are available. Ranweli is able to organize boat rides and bird watching tours. You can experience multi-cuisine dishes at the buffets of the resort's restaurant & a variety of liquor is served at the pool bar. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ranweli Holiday Village Waikkal
- Ranweli Holiday Village Hotel Waikkal