My stay here started badly - the "luxury car" which took a while to turn up at the airport was not in any way luxurious, did not provide any water or cool towels, and was driven by someone who had never been to Serene Pavilions and got lost before eventually getting the right directions. In fact he had no contact number for the hotel and had to get it from me in order to ring them to find out where to go. After a long flight, this was not boding well. I had in fact emailed to ask for a transfer but I specifically did not want a luxury car. I was told this was all that was offered.
This epitomises my problem with this place. Yes, it is luxurious, although with some surprising omissions, but when you are paying the prices charged the staff should be striving to meet your requests. I found that unless your request was expensive luxury, there was no help on offer. For instance, I wanted a normal taxi to take me back to the airport, but no, this could not be arranged as they only have "luxury" cars...Similarly for any other non-luxury requests. Heaven forbid I should ask about cheaper transport to get out and about - these cannot (will not) be arranged.
On the positive side, the "pavilions" are comfortable, the bed supremely so, the plunge pools are nice, wifi generally worked well, the Sri Lankan breakfasts were delicious, and the garden staff were wonderful. The views from the bedroom over the beach are lovely.
Now the negatives, and how many there were...
1) I find it astonishing that in such a luxury establishment the coffee provided in the room is a simple jar of nescafe rather than either filter or espresso machines. (Indeed when I asked for a pot of coffee in the early morning on the day of my departure, my butler simply came and put the kettle on for me to have nescafe. I didn't need a butler to do that, and proper coffee would have been nice.)
2) I went to find a bird book in the Reading Room, only to find that there were no such reference books there. I think this is a glaring omission, although perhaps the clientele that stays in this sort of place often do not take an interest in the flora and fauna around them?
3) My butler informed me he was to be off for one day due to family commitments. Fair enough, but one day turned into two, and then three days. Although I may be wrong, I suspect that he was not too pleased to have a solo female to look after, although to be fair, I'm not really into the butler concept anyway.
4) On one of the two days that I had a Western as opposed to Sri Lankan breakfast, I had a half-frozen sausage on my plate.
5)On my last night all the minibar items were removed in the late afternoon. As I didn't use the minibar items, it was not a problem, but I found it rather off-putting to feel that my room was essentially being cleared even before I had left.
6) A member of staff offered to get me some spices to take home, which I was keen to do. Until I was told it would cost me $50!!!!!!
I left feeling that, perhaps if one wanted one or two nights of pampering, without wanting to experience the local culture, and with money to burn, this place would probably be fine. But for a longer stay it is simply too restrictive, even obstructive, for someone who wants to do things a bit more independently, and simply not worth the money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Serene Pavilions is a spacious tropical haven, located on the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka. The boutique hotel comprises of 12 Balinese-inspired pavilions, spread over 5 acres of landscaped gardens dotted with coconut palms and lotus ponds. Each pavilion offers a sumptuous bedroom, large living and dining areas, a marble bathroom with Jacuzzi, a kitchenette. The delightful outdoor area features a private plunge pool, and a wooden sundeck with outdoor dining space. With an emphasis on personal service, Serene Pavilions can craft your dream escape. Start the day with breakfast served by your private butler by your plunge pool, or take a dip in the Indian Ocean. Unwind in your villa, where a mix of Sri Lankan and Balinese furnishings create a natural style and tranquil atmosphere. Play tennis, swim a few laps in the central pool, enjoy a spa treatment, or sit back on the beach and wait for the spellbinding sunset. For dinner, choose from the daily menu, or book a private dining session and give the chef free reign to create something new. Then enjoy a nightcap at Amritha Bar as you listen to the waves roll in. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Serene Pavilions Hotel Wadduwa