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“Relaxing Ranweli”

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Ranweli Holiday Village
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Waikkal
Reviewed September 28, 2009

We have just returned from 10 days staying at the Ranweli Holiday village and wanted to add a review as we found the reviews we read before we went helpful.

The hotel was very clean and tidy, the staff very very friendly, pleasant and helpful to any requests. All speak excellent English. Our hut was overlooking the beach which was a nice view, but not much of a tropical beach that we had hoped for. Also the sea was very rough due to the time of year which was a shame as we had hoped for a more 'beachy' holiday. However, the pool was great, good entertainment team to keep you occupied with volleyball, water polo, cricket etc. Dont ask the life guard about his tooth!

The food was nice (not cold as previously read), a different theme each night but always Sri Lankan food as well, but as with all inclusive hotels it became a little repetitive.

We also met Anthony, a decent and trusty local who organised several trips for us including Kandy (visiting the elephant orphanage, tea factory and botanical gardens with Leslie our guide, who was great), a boat trip around the mangroves and a day trip to Galle ( visiting the Dutch Fort, Turtle farm, Mask Museum and taking some beach time to do some snorkelling as well as a glass bottom boat trip..which was different! We did see some turtles in their natural environment though as well as lots of different fish.

We, too, also ate at Anthonys restaurant, a delicious feast of king prawns, crab, coral fish and more, all cooked by his wife. The restaurant was clean and we would recommend the seafood for sure.

We were a little put off by Anthonys persistance at first but after getting to know him we later realised that he wants only for you to enjoy your time in Sri Lanka and to build his own business (he has a Tesco store too-unofficially!!!). Anthonys prices were also much cheaper than our Tour operators(ie we paid 75 pounds per person for the 3 trips and the meal - whereas our tour operator was charging 45 pounds per person for 1 trip!!!).

In conclusion the Ranweli was pleasant, clean, great if you want to chill out, but for us it lacked a few activites and the evening entertainment needs some fun and energy. However, the Ranweli special cocktails were lush!!!

If you're looking for somewhere to fully relax, this would be ideal and with very few children present its quiet, but for us it just needed a bit more energy.

Couple of other mentions-tour operators may not tell you about the monsoon season when you book, therefore look into the affects this may have on your visit-ie reducing the opportunities and availability for scuba diving and other watersports. There are very few places to do this on the island unless you head to the East during monsoon season.

Sri Lanka is an eye opener in that it is quite a poor country. We were surprised to see that even in the cities, there is a lot of poverty and it doesnt appear that much is spent on keeping the country clean. Lots of dogs roam the streets and there are COWS, yes you read right, COWS, walking in the main roads and in pedestrian areas, often sifting through rubbish bins for food. Completely bizzarre!!

Speak to many Sri Lankans and they say that they recieved very little money from the aid funds that were sent there following the Tsunami-most was kept by the government was what we were told-and it shows. Therefore, think about where you spend your money or what / who you donate it to. Had the money been reinvested into revitalising the tourist industry, there could be much better quality of life for the people over there.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled on business
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3  Thank anglia-crs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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499 - 505 of 755 reviews

Reviewed August 18, 2009

The place is located on the island between river and mangroves and the sea. It has only bungalows, well arranged, of great quality and design (the plant in the bathroom was particularly beautiful and great idea). All bungalows have sea view, fan, air conditioning, small terrace and private space in front, great hotel radio station with local music. They do not have TV, fridge nor hair dryer. The area near the swimming pool is nice and quiet and allows to relax well. Breakfast and dinner buffet are delicious, generous and well presented. Service is very good. One downside is during weekends the hotel offers lunch and dinner entries to locals, which turns the quiet environment into loud disco and too many people in the pool, which can be quite annoying for people who paid to stay there and enjoy hotel's relaxing atmosphere. Other than that, perfect place.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank VicDjuma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2009

I went to the Ranweli in late June with my husband and some friends. I must admit it was very quite, , as I like alot of people around me. The hotel was very clean and friendly. The rooms were on the beach as in the brochure and they were very rustic. Yes the hotel looks quite tired and in need of a little renovation. But on the whole I prefered that look, as I felt as though it was the next best thing to being in the jungle. Having had to cross the river to get to it. We were not harrassed by anyone on the beach, like we were at the Riverina Hotel.The food was good, my husband loved the curries. The puddings were not up to my standard though. I preferred the Riverina food.
I recommend you go on your trips with Anthony, he is a local del boy. The local entrepenuer, that everyone should get to know. Believe me he will let you know he is there as soon as you arrive. He will meet you on the beach and give you the best advice at the right price. We went on the river trip and to Kandy to see the elephants, and also went to his restaurant for dinner, all for £65 each. The lobster, prawns and coral fish were excellent. The service alone deserved a tip. We did pay for the drinks. Enjoy your holiday. We did. I Catlin,Evesham, Worcs.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with friends
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3  Thank WhizzerEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2009

We arrived at Ranweli at 6am after out flight being delayed for 18 hours. We were shown to our room which was a lovely individual bungalow for two.

Our first experience of the food was breakfast... Which was stone cold. I was starving after a 10 hour flight and was greeted with a cold cooked breakfast.

That evening after relaxing by the pool we met with our virgin rep who we told about the cold food, he promptly went and told the whole hotel we thought the food was horrible. Which meant at every meal we had someone hovering over us to make sure the food was ok. Which it was after that.

I was pleased with the themed food nights, as there was some food i wouldn't eat there, but then other that i would stuff my face with! So there were some ups and downs but no where is perfect all the time.

We met Anthony on our first day too, who does tours which are cheaper that going through your rep (who, if you booked with virgin will be Shirley, who will tell you he is bad, he is not). We got invited for dinner twice at Anthony's, which is directly opposite Ranweli. It was amazing food, lobster, coral fish, prawns the size of a hand and good old fries! Him and his family are amazing to talk to and treat you so well. I RECOMMEND ANTHONY TO ANYONE 110%.

There is also a man called Duncan who moved to Sri Lanka 4 years ago and had a guest house build, which is to die for. It's a reasonable price and I would stay there if i went back to Sri Lanka, as it was amazing.

My boyfriend and myself spent hours sat by the pool playing with the squirrels. They were annoying at first, but we had so much fun with them, i wanted to take one home. Be careful of your drinks!

The one thing that did ruin the holiday was the barterers. They don't take no for an answer and if you walk off they chase you. We went to Siguyra Rock, which as the worst. Some man thought he'd be helping me by grabbing my arm and dragging me up some steps, 180 meters up, on some tiny metal stairs. I ended up screaming at him to get off because it felt like his was going to throw me off!

It's a must see and do. I'd go back again in a few year, definitely.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Beckie88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2009

After reading some of the other reviews, we thought about what we liked and disliked. In essence, we didnt dislike anything really. As others have written, the worst part was the lack of certain drinks in the all inclusive menu (Diet Coke, Wine, Etc), but this is easily outweighted by the many positives. These include:

Amazing beachside pool
Roomy Beach Huts decorated in a colonial style
Free Air Con
All Inclusive Bar and Restaurant Option
Kind, Friendly, Courteous and Efficient staff and service
Themed Food Nights, while not forgetting a permanent local buffet as well
No lack of things to do (Canoeing down the river, cycling around the island, Tours etc)

We spent our week hand feeding the 3 stripe squirrels that frequent the beach, canoeing down the river (sometimes alongside 2m long Water Monitors), Getting a 2 hour river cruise, spending the obligatory time in the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela, the Herb and Botanical Gardens, the Buddhist Temple, Negombo Market, Columbo Fish Market etc. If you didnt want to travel the length and breadth of the island then you could do most of the above in a day trip. If on an all inclusive deal, you can ask the hotel to prepare you a packed breakfast and lunch for the day, for which they will happily oblige.

It was cheaper to go with a local guide than the holiday rep, and you can normally find Anthony patrolling the beach looking to offer you a deal. For 40,000 rupees, we got a couples massage (75 mins each), and a dinner with drinks at Anthonys restaurant (at least a lobster each, and 6 of the biggest prawns ever seen to man), 14 hour day trip (to the gardens, temple, Pinnawela, tea factory etc, a 2 hour river cruise with tour guides, and a day trip to Negombo, including the Colombo Fish Market. All of this included taxis there and back. Some might say that this was expensive, but when its all said and done, £100 each for 4 days full entertainment really wasnt a bad deal at all, not when you consider the meal itself would have alone been £30 each anywhere else.

The prices are higher for tourists than locals, but this is to be expected since Sri Lanka is a very poor country.

One of the highlights for us was being there at the same time that the tamils were finally captured and Sri Lanka experienced its own Independence Day, and the locals were more than happy to invite us all to share in the proceedings with them.

Its not a place for kids, but for couples and groups of friends who want to chill out by the beach, or take in a few cultural tours, then you wont find better value. I couldnt recommend this place highly enough.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank mattwhite1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2009

Arriving at the lagoon and being taken across by barge is a great way to wake you up following a 10 hour flight. Ranweli is not your average resort or hotel, this is something you should be aware of before you book. If you have kids, it's not for them, its a couples resort without the extras that a family would expect.
The huts are basic, thats the idea though and they were always cleaned to a high standard with flowers laid out etc. The food was ample but with the resort at 20% capacity you had to get there early to rely on it being hot. In truth the food was possibly not as good as expected but the all inclusive bar took care of this with the liberal poring of alcohol! Service was slow at times, but got the job done. The only frustration was having to fill in a form every time you wanted something all inclusive.
Overall a good resort and a perfect base from which to explore Sri Lanka (Sigurya and the Elephant sanctury are definately worth a visit). If you get bored of the cuisine, Anthony across the road from the river does fantasic seafood and can sort out any excursions you want (we found our Tradewinds rep to be a better guide, but both are similarly priced).

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Christofofofof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2009

This was our first stop on a 7 destination tour of sri lanka and an excellent way to ease ourselves into it and recover from the flight. We absoletly loved it! Admitdely there are some odities (the service was at times a bit strange), but Sri Lanka is very different to Western culture and the place is also very cheap.

Best bits:
Location - between forrest and beach with a lagoon - does it get better than this
Ecology - very enviornmentally consious growing their own organic veg, rescuing animals, etc
Challets - right on the beach and very spacious with air conidtioning

Good:
Buffet - reasonable choice considering price

Room for improvement:
Service:
Despite there seemingly loads of staff milling around sometimes simple requests took ages and they gave very odd response sometimes (example I wanted someone to guide me kyacking - willing to pay whatever - apparently no-one avilable - althought there are like 10 waiters at the bar outnumbering customers 2 to 1).

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Brighton_Claire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ranweli Holiday Village

Address: Ranweli Hotel Road, Waikkal 61110, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Waikkal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Waikkal
Price Range: $93 - $169 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ranweli Holiday Village 3*
Number of rooms: 88
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

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