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“Interesting setting but a little too much off the beaten track”
Review of Royal River Resort

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Royal River Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Kitulgala
Reviewed December 23, 2012

If you want to feel like you're tucked away in the middle of nowhere then this might be a good place for you! However we felt it was just a bit too isolated. To reach the hotel you have to travel 7km off the main road, down the most bumpy and potholes road that i have ever seen. 7km may not sound like a long way but it takes about half an hour just to get down this track and its a pretty uncomfortable ride!

However we were greeted by very friendly staff and a nice welcome fresh juice. Our room was very nice, spacious and with a lovely view over the pool and river. Being right next to a waterfall though it was quite loud, not ideal for a light sleeper like me.

Whilst it was a nice place to relax, there wasn't really anything to do within the immediate vicinity of the hotel, except go for a walk down the track, or a swim in the pool.

When we got back to our room in the evening we found a trail of ants had appeared on one wall and these increased in number throughout the night, unfortunately no one answered when we tried to call the hotel staff so we had to sleep with the ants! The sheets were also a bit old.and stained which wasn't very inviting!

I think part of the problem is that there are a limited number of accommodation options in the area, but having seen the plantation hotel, which was just off the main road, we probably would have rather stayed there! Having said that, it was ok for one night.

  • Stayed: December 2012
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1  Thank Corin14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 - 47 of 78 reviews

Reviewed December 6, 2012

The location of this hotel is amazing (although very off of the beaten track) but it is quite run down. The rooms were damp and we didn't have any hot water. We travelled around Sri Lanka for 2 1/2 weeks and by the end of it we came to the conclusion that this place didn't offer particularly good value for money.

However, despite that the service was brilliant, the staff very friendly and the food was very good - especially the homemade peanut butter!!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Amy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

We stayed here on days 5 to 7 of our two week visit to Sri Lanka - it was wonderful! We were in a party of 7, and used 3 of the 4 bedrooms - it really did feel as though we had sole use of the hotel.
My sister and brother-in law have stayed here twice before, but this was our first visit - we can see why they wanted to return.
Sanath and the staff were wonderful and went out of their way to ensure we had everything we needed. Sanath smiled the entire time!
Our rooms were comfortable - the air-con didn't work, but the fans were enough to keep us cool. It's high up, and by a river and waterfall, so we fully expected it to feel damp, but it wasn't excessively so.
The pool is beautiful and we all enjoyed a swim. Towels were provided and we were given more when we asked. There was plenty of hot water, and everything was clean and tidy.
The restaurant serves mostly european type food and it was really well done - they managed to serve all 7 of us with different food orders with no problems. We had a traditional Sri Lanka curry buffet on one night and that was amazing! Breakfast tended to be fruit drink, fruit platters and a cooked breakfast of egg, sausage etc - all very tasty!

We were able to get some laundry done whilst here, as it's sent to the sister hotel The Plantation, down the hill.

We look forward to returning to Royal River Resort again one day. Thank you to Sanath and his team for a wonderful, restful few days.

Room Tip: We had rooms above the kitchen, which have a double wooden four poster, plus a single bed/sofa. No...
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank scsrowe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2012

After having changed my itinerary to fit in a one night stay according to the availability of the Royal River resort, I was looking forward to spending a night here because of its wonderful location: an isolated lodge on the bank of a creek, 6km up in a rubber tree plantation. Unfortunately, it turned out to be quite a disappointment.
Firstly, because of the vicinity to the river, the rooms are very damp (all my clothes and belongings got moist) and there is a moldy smell that can't be refreshed by neither the a/c and fan, nor by airing the room. It's so stuffy and unpleasant that I really had difficulty breathing inside.
The place would have been a hidden gem but it is in serious need of refurbishment: the doors and windows were dirty, the walls need repainting and the linen and towels were old. The antique furniture gives the rooms an authentic colonial feeling, but it looks like it hasn't been used in years. The toilet is quite worn out as well and no hot water to shower.
Perhaps I would have even overlooked all those aspects considering the beautiful surroundings and the overall charm of the place, had it not been for an incident that turned this idyllic setting into a rather creepy one.
I and my guide were the only guests at the resort at that time and it felt like the army of staff was there to cater only for me, but after dinner however, only one stayed overnight. I had the room by the pool, which was connected to the adjacent room by a door that could be locked from both sides. As I was getting ready to go to bed, I heard someone trying to open the door from the other side. Luckily, I had locked mine when I checked in, but after 5 min of silence, the door was being forced again. I went out to get my guide and the watchboy and, as I was coming back to the cottage, I saw someone open the door from the inside of the other room and then go back in. Since nobody answered at our insistent knocks, we opened the connecting door only to find the intruder had escaped through the terrace door which had been left open. My guide had to sleep in the other room after that, but needless to say I didn't get a wink of sleep all night.
I would definitely not recommend this place for solo women travelers, but the lack of security should be a concern to everyone. Since the place is quite remote, the intruder could only have been someone that knows the premisses well enough.
Pity though, this could have had the potential to become a 5* rated resort if renovated and with better security...

Room Tip: The rooms next to the river have excellent views but get very damp and smell moldy.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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5  Thank MaraPop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2012

Part of its charm is the contrast to the bustling Colombo, yes, but truly a pearl in its own right! Although the place was built around year 2000, it has a quiet, relaxed old-world charm. Since there are only four (very spacious) rooms, the very friendly & helpful staff has plenty of time to accommodate your wishes. The location next to the water/river & amidst a green, lush, fertile region is balm for the mind, as is the quiet. Do take the walk through the tea and rubber plantations - and watch out for the bananas, pineapples, cocoa, coffee, papaya, mango, coffee .. The menu is restricted, but the food and wine are good!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Ivan351
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2012

Sitting on the balcony with a drink and gazing at the river was a blissful way to relax. Walking along the tracks through the tea plantation was very interesting: even if we couldn't communicate much with the locals they were very friendly and smiled and waved.
The room was beautiful even though the air con & tv didn't work. The staff were great and went to a lot of trouble to cook genuine Sri Lanka curry for us. We were sorry to leave.

Room Tip: ask for a room overlooking the river.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Alekto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2012

Driving through working rubber and tea plantations up what was a better than average secondary road for Sri Lanka we didn't know what to expect. We couldn't have guessed that it would be such an amazing place. It might not be the most modern luxurious palace but the location was fantastic with the river under the balcony and the integral rock'n tile swimming pool. Just watching it being filled from the river in the morning after cleaning was quite a sight. The hotel even has it's own hydro electric generator driven from the river.
We thought the food was excellent but if you don't like it hot, that could be a problem. When we asked the manager about the numbered sports shirt he was wearing, he explained that they have "team building" cricket matches with other hotels in the group. I don't know if they could raise 11 members of staff from there but they were certainly a cheerful and enthusiastic team already.
Who cares if the tele was a bit dodgy, we didn't want to watch it anyway. Go there if you can - it's worth the effort.

Room Tip: With only four to choose from, try and get one next to the river
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Ewingston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal River Resort

Address: Eduru Ella | Eduru, Kitulgala 71720, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Sabaragamuwa Province > Kitulgala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Kitulgala
Number of rooms: 5

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