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“The worst hotel I've ever stayed in”

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Ranweli Holiday Village
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Waikkal
Reviewed January 12, 2011

This hotel is old, the rooms are filthy and the bathroom is a nightmare. Please, see my pictures and make conclusions.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank KraKr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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470 - 476 of 771 reviews

Reviewed January 12, 2011

We stayed at Ranweli for three nights at the start of a two week tour of Sri Lanka. We arrived on the 27th December and it was the perfect place to wind down after the stresses of xmas!
We had our 6 year old son with us, who loved the place. The pool was lovely; clean, a perfect depth with children and never busy! Our room was comfortable and we could walk straight out onto the beach and enjoy the sunset from our porch.
We took a boat trip on the river from the hotel and got to see lots of birds and the guide even let our son take charge of the boat which he loved.
We arrived on our sons 6th birthday, and although we did not arrive till after 6pm in the evening, our driver rang ahead and let them know at the hotel and they had a small present waiting and a birthday cake at dinner which was lovely. Fantastic service and great food and perfect place to start the holiday. Highly recommend.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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Thank chab186220
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2011

I stayed at the Ranweli for two weeks during Nov/Dec 2010 and found it to be a fantastic stay. I did quite a lot of research before my stay and read many reviews all of which I found very informative.
When we arrived, the taxi dropped us off and the first view was to look over the river to the Ranweli approach...it was like a magical retreat. I did request a refurbished room which after looking at the standard rooms was a good choice as they were a little "tired". ALL of the staff were very friendly, they really appreciated it if you acknowledged them and a simple Good Morning brought a happy and smiling response every day.
Being a single female traveller I was a little cautious initially for my welfare and safety but within the hotel complex I was completely safe, I also found the surrounding country lanes safe and the nearest little town: Waikkal didn't have any tourist shops but the communitcations/Dialog shop had the most welcoming staff. I had my phone unlocked and purchased a Dialog sim for less than 1000 SLR, they also unlocked my internet dongle and I was able to get internet although the signal at the hotel wasn't very good and I ended up using the hotel internet connection for Skype. The hotel doesn't have webcam facilities but as I had my own laptop I was OK. There are Tuk tuks just outside the hotel entrance, I had a driver called Nalim (telephone number 0774564997) who was a very good driver, for 1000SLR you could get to Negombo and stay there for 2-3 hours either with Nalim as your chaperome or you could specify where to meet and he would be there waiting for you upon your return. You do not pay until you return back to the hotel, I always gave 200 SLR (about £1.50) tip. Just give him a call and make the arrangements (you could say Lorraine from England recommended you), he would like that.
The people who live in the surrounding area are extremely poor (but happy), if you do go take a pencil and note book for the children as they will be extremely grateful.
Be careful in Negombo with your safety, I carried a spare purse with a few hundred SLR in it, it came in very handy when I was approached by a local con-man!!
The tours are best booked with your tour company, they are very competitive and you will be insured and the transport is more road worthy. The Ranweli tours are also excellent, the staff are extremely knowledgeable and also make sure you go on a cycle tour with one of the animation team. Every Wednesday morning the hotel have a local crafts demonstration including a cookery lesson, the executive cheif then gives you the recipe and although I've only been home a few weeks, I've made the Sri Lankan Curry several times and it's fantastic!
The hotel restaurant has a selection of food although most of the curries are vegetarian, each evening there is also a selection of food from a different county, French, Italian, Thai etc and on Saturdays there is a BBQ with both meat and fish dishes. When you see the poverty outside of the hotel I am sure you will appreciate the food you are being served.
Around the pool you have hotel beach towels so that saves on your baggage allowance. The pool attendants move your beds and lay your towels for you...they really can't do enough for you.
The hotel have a hotel dog which is vacinated against rabies, so don't be affraid to give him the odd tit-bit. When you have an outdoor breakfast be warned, if you feed the minah birds you will be surrounded by quite a few birds who are very cheeky and if you leave the table you will be almost certain to return to an empty plate!
In general the hotel is good value for a 3 star and l found the facilities more than adequate. The only issue was the weather which although around 30 deg, the monsoon had not finished but hey it just means that I'll have to go back another time when the sun is shining.
I'm sure you will have a wonderful stay but just bear in mind that the hotel is 3 star.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled solo
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2  Thank Lorraine0412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2010

This was the last of our hotels in Sri Lanka, and the grounds are stunning. It was the first opportunity we had of our week long stay in Sri Lanka to use the pool which was lovely.

The food was nice, buffet style with nice entertainment in the evening. If you are a nature lover then this would be a fab hotel to stay for the week as they have bird/nature trails etc.

The room was disappointing which was such a shame as I had high hopes. It smelt very damp and was generally tired. We asked if we could upgrade (at a price) and we were offered a room described by the staff as exactly the same just cleaner (as in had been revamped,) charged at an extra $25 per night. I'm not sure you should have to pay for cleanliness, this seemed very cheeky to me.

Overall a nice hotel, I wouldn't go back though.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank mavthepav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2010

The hotel is on a spit of land that can only be reached by a short boat ride. No traffic anywhere near the hotel, so the only sound is the waves beating on the beach.(and the occasional plane passing overhead, as you aren't that far from the airport).
Rooms are in beach bungalows - these are all in the process of being renovated and the hotel is due to shut down for a few months from April 2011, whilst this happens. I was a couple of the newer rooms and they are a clear improvement. Plenty of gardens to wander around. Staff were helpful, food was good, with plenty of choice. They attach a lot of importance to their eco-friendliness, so I was annoyed by room staff turning the air-conditioning to maximum and the rooms being frozen. I made a remark to the management that as client I was the one who decided what temperature my room should be at, not the room boys and they immediately reacted and our room-boy apologized and no longer touched the air-conditioning.

  • Stayed: December 2010
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1  Thank catmouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2010

I chose Ranweli because I wanted somewhere that was not a London boutique hotel by the sea. When I go on holiday I enjoy the more rustic, low key resorts where you can just emerse yourself in the environment without being too formal or over stylised. I can do these at home. There is something said about simplicity away from the confines of in your face luxury and over the top Western luxury. Ranweli is situated in quite a remote spot but you can cycle to local villages which was fun. The area that the resort is in is lovely with interesting villas and churches, local shops and daily village life.Negombo is a dust ridden and a dirty place but interesting to see, once although has a great restaurant called Lords . The restaurant also has an art gallery and the presentation of the food is excellent and so well worth a visit. The resort seems to focus on the more natural things like the surrounding nature that you can experience through bird watching and nature trails. The bungelows are charming, a little bit tired but I liked the authentic quality of the traditional crafts that were in the room and nice to listen to traditional sri lankan music in the room. It was also wonderful not to have a TV and all the other pointless gadgets such as IPod docking stations etc etc. The beach and I have to be honest is not the prettiest but I knew that when I booked because I reseached the resort. The beach is kept clean but you can see the level of rubbish that comes in with the tide if you are up early. The water is a mixture of river and sea and is very murky. I did not swim in the sea because I was not keen on the level of man made rubbish I saw coming out of it. The lagoon is stunning and is fantastic for bird watching and Kayaking along. We had a great time paddling through the amazing canal scenery.

The food is excellent in Ranweli's main restaurant with a fantastic selection of Sri Lanka food. The curries are great and they use so many wonderful vegetables like banana blossom which are all organic. I had curry for breakfast and dinner every day it was that good. Being a foodie I thought the variety was delicious and I don't know how the chefs kept up the standard all the time.

There are two touts on the beach Ollie and Anthony whom we met after just half an hour of arriving. Anthony pestered us so much that my partner was very angry. He always seemed outside of our bungelow. Ollie was less so and we arranged an elephant orphanage trip with him which was fine and the two young lads that took us were very nice. However, my partner's snorkelling trip was less so as we were promised clear waters and a lovely beach for me to sit on. Another man joined the trip and they found themselves snorkelling in dirty polluted water with a film of scum on top and I sat on a beach surrounded by rubbish. On our last day we managed to track Ollie down and he apologised as he though it was good snorkelling water and promised some money back. This never materialised. We also did a three day trip with Kuoni to the South to see Galle and the famous beautiful beaches as well as a safari in Yala National Park, staying at Yala Holiday Village. The quality of this trip was second to none and we had such a fantastic time with the very professional driver Shan who was a real pleasure to meet. The Kuoni trips are more expensive but worth it because you can really do what you want. The Kuoni rep Malinda was also very patient when fixing up our trip.

So use Ollie and Anthony if you want a less expensive option but choose the trip wisely and remember all may not appear as it seems.

One negative, is that I feel tips were a little too expected and even the smallest thing you felt obliged to tip. We did tip but felt pressure to do so. We also put a fair amount in the general staff tip box as we felt this then allowed all staff to receive a tip rather than the usual people. I think it would be good if the managment enforced no tipping individuals but at the end of the holiday make a tip in the general box. This was indeed the policy of the hotel but staff were used to being tipped all the time. Some even tipped the pool boys to save them the best sunbeds. I think the tipping entitlement can be annoying on holiday.

But, overall, I had a fantastic time in vibrant Sri Lanka and a peaceful, chilled time in Ranweli.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Englishrose6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2010

Chose this location a I had just a 2 day stopover in Sri-Lanka and found the trek downtown to Colombo crazy with traffic. Just a super place as the location is only 20 minutes to the airport and oh so quiet. The rooms are more beach bungalows and well spaced out so as to give you privacy. Each come with 2 beach lounges to relax on outside.
The room amenities seem to change when I came back a week later but are essentially basic to ensure a more eco friendly theme. The rooms are air conditioned but have no TV or internet connections. Radio consists of a piped in speaker but it had some great music all day long. The staff were just so helpful and typified the friendly personalities of most locals. I had to visit a doctor and got charged USD 3 including medication.
There are several options with food and I took the breakfast only option. However, I did have the lunch and dinner buffet on an occasion and it was just so cheap and met both western & local diets.
Used their drivers (Nimal was the best) to take me down to Negombo and that was money well spent. Try and request housekeeping for a mosquito net as it looks so romantic (not required really for there were no mosquitoes).
Would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank OzTravellerBrisbane
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
Phone Number:
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: $94 - $216 (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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