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“Characterful but shabby & badly maintained”

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Kithulgala Rest House
Ranked #5 of 5 Kitulgala B&B and Inns
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Characterful but shabby & badly maintained”
Reviewed April 9, 2014

We had great hopes of staying here supposedly in a 'tranquil' riverside location, but it proved to be the opposite. Unfortunately we arrived on a Sunday and the river and shore were like a seaside resort, noisy drunken people partying all day and evening, no chance to bird-watch apart from early the next morning. The restaurant was pleasant with a small menu, the rest house staff were very helpful. The room was dark, hot and awful, no ac. badly maintained, the back door had only one rusty bolt, security was bad, with easy access for locals. With a bit of effort the place could be really good, but tranquil it isn't

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lepidoptera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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131 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    9
    38
    47
    18
    19
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brisbane
Level Contributor
222 reviews
151 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2014

Yes this is an older property but it's full of character and I loved it! We had a non-AC room with a patio overlooking the river. Scenery was awesome! The best place for lazy birding was actually from the restaurant where we had a bird's eye view over the river. We were too tired to go across the river and I was a bit wary of the small canoe but maybe next time. Most of my photos were far away using 400mm zoom but there are a few bird shots on my blog Miles to the Wild (search Kithulgala) to show you what to expect. Ask them to book Shanaka as your birding guide, he was amazing and found all the species we were looking for!

It was pretty cool to have a couple of newly-married couples show up in full wedding costume! Food was fine, not too spicy as per my preference. I'm not really a foodie though so don't go by me. This was my kind of place though I can see why people who prefer more modern facilities may not like it. It's all a matter of what YOU like!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tikibird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swaffham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2014

As a group on a bird-watching trip we come to expect a wide range of accommodation types and conditions. Kitulgala Rest House is probably in the middle of the range. This place has a super location, overlooking the river and with access to a 'ferry' crossing for access to some interesting birding areas. The ferry is actually a dugout canoe in which one stands for the short crossing - something of an experience. The rooms are basically OK but they do have noisy fans and noisy fridges. Ours had access to lawns and river views but had an added imposition of chanting Buddhist monks (or was it a CD) broadcasting from village on the opposite side of the river - OK during the day but at 4 o'clock in the morning! Perhaps they've finished consecrating their new shrine - who knows.
The food was generally good, with some nice Sri Lankan dishes - sometimes served a bit cool (as the kitchen is a route-march from some parts of the restaurant. The staff were very amenable and prepared to put up with us wizzing to the windows to view passing kingfishers and birds of prey.
I would stay there again, as will many people who share our group's interests or are there for trekking or white-water rafting and other water sports.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank localhero13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
148 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2014

The hotel is in an extremely scenic location – out of town and on the bank of a river. The room was nice and large but the one we occupied had no air conditioning and the fan was quite noisy. Also, there was no mini fridge and they charged for bottled water instead of providing it on a complimentary basis. The lunch-time buffet was average. Dinner was a la carte and our 2 fish dishes were OK but my tomato soup was terrible. Breakfast was below par – no hard-boiled eggs, no toast and no baked beans. On a positive note, they did cook eggs to order and had freshly made country bread.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Adam P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
349 reviews
113 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2014

We were a small group on a trekking holiday. On arriving this place looked great, and the location is impressive. After a night we thought the experience was average. The restaurant lets it down, the buffet dinner and breakfast was poor and we were glad we ate early, the food was there a long time.I'd probably go back because the location is great for white water rafting and trekking.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank george g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Level Contributor
64 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

We came just for one day to make a rafting, localtion, sourounding was excellent, views - amazing, food was also nice, but maintenance of this hotel is terrible. It still remember the times when the movie was made. Room - not good, bathroom - not good (after shower you can make the swimming pool, because water is not going down). And it was the first time in Sri Lanka, when they asked us to pay when check-in, not check-out, which was very strange. Rafting from Kitulgala Adventures (just on the left side from the entrance to the hotel) was very good, although too short:)

Hotel not worth its price!

Room Tip: We have chosen room without AC (down stairs) where you have a balcony door opened to the grass and r...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Kasia_Slig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
31 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

The location is excellent if you are interested in nature, as a rainforest reserve is located just across the river. The view from the restaurant is also wonderful. We used the river crossing service daily, which was a small adventure in itself. The hotel doesn't have a pool, but swimming in the shallow river is safe and very fun, this was one of the highlights of the trip for the children. The hotel and the river is very popular with locals, so the dress code for women swimming is not a bikini, but something more covering like shorts & t-shirt.

The rooms could have fitted all of us, but there were not enough beds for four, so we had to split up in two rooms. The rooms were clean and comfortable, the bathroom big but the shower quite basic. You had to ask for cleaning service, which we discovered when our room had not been cleaned on the first day. Service was otherwise also very slow and the service in the restaurant was extremely slow and unprofessional. Food was normally a buffet with mostly curries, but also something western for the children.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank TMWT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kithulgala Rest House

Property: Kithulgala Rest House
Address: Kitulgala, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Sabaragamuwa Province > Kitulgala
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Kitulgala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 19
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Also Known As:
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