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“One of our best experiences although a bit shabby and overpriced”
Review of Rafters Retreat

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Rafters Retreat
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“One of our best experiences although a bit shabby and overpriced”
Reviewed January 18, 2013

When we were traveling to this place, people already warned us that Kitulgala was quite expensive and crowded. Luckily this did not alter our feeling to come here, since we had one of the best experiences during our stay at this characteristic place along the river. We did pay quite a lot, USD$70 per night in the main building, not one of their eco cabins. The room was ok and very spacious, but not what you might expect for this price. You definitely pay for the location. Price is including food (breakfast and dinner) which were great and enough variety to choose from. I think you could even order a burger and chips if thats what you were really in the mood for and did not want to taste the great Sri Lankan buffet.

Rafting was a lot of fun, although also not that cheap for 3500 rupes a person (about 25 USD incl lunch). Great atmosphere having some Lion beers starting in the afternoon and we met some nice and entertaining other travelers here. In the end a recommendation, but hopefully the prices are a bit more reasonable during low season.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank m0viegirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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139 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
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UK
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2013

We stayed at Rafters for 2 nights just before Xmas and enjoyed our stay.

We had a double Eco Lodge which was simple and clean - slightly pricey for $85USD per night but this did include dinner and breakfast. Compared to similar 'open air' rooms we have stayed in elsewhere, I wouldn't describe the room as luxurious but the view of the river and jungle on the opposite bank are fantastic. Waking up to the sounds of the birds in the trees and river surging past down below was very special.

Rafters is run by a friendly bunch of people and Channa, the owner, is very knowledgeable of the local area, rafting and so on.

Food was generally good and served in a big open air restaurant, also right on the banks of the river - very nice Sri Lankan breakfast and lunch each day, dinner was good although slightly plain compared to the breakfast lunch and curry.

Rafting was great fun and simple to arrange, we paid $30USD pp for about 2 hours and after the rafting, the river was calm enough to swim in at one point.

If it rains while you are staying there, a good book is a must as there isn't much else to do when its chucking it down outside.

Overall, a good stay and experience!

Room Tip: Go for a lodge by the river if one is available
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Richard K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2012

The ecolodges are lovely. They are simple, yet clean and their location looking over the river is vey relaxing. Admittedly I have stayed at places with a similar idea in countries like Indonesia for half the price, but Sri Lanka generally has more expensive accommodation. Originally I thought it was well overpriced, but considering the price includes dinner and breakfast, it was reasonable.

Room Tip: Don't stay in a room in the main building, they didn't look nice at all. Stay in the tree ho...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tess712
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matlock, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2012

Dont turn up expecting all your home comforts because that's not what this place is all about. You stay in a wooden cabin in the jungle with a fantastic view of the river from the one open side of the cabin and sleep under a mosquito net with the sounds of the jungle. The cleanliness is as you would expect from a cabin in the jungle, whilst the bathroom is semi outdoor there's nothing quite like looking out at the river whilst you have a shower and it's all part of the experience. We wouldn't necessarily suggest its a great place to stay for a week and it may be difficult with small children but for one or two nights this place shouldn't be missed and offers an incredible and extraordinary experience. The design of the place is very clever to ensure privacy of all cabins (including bedroom and bathroom). There is also the opportunity (as the name suggests) to participate in white water rafting which, whilst being good and exciting is not too much for first timers and families but don't expect enormous rapids. The food is authentic and enjoyable, even though that particular night we were the only family dining they still prepared a small buffet just for us at lunch time and in the evening. The staff are delightful, attentive and very willing, always wishing to make your stay perfect. Due to the location it would be preferable to have your own transport although it is not essential.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ruth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
212 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2012

We liked this place a lot. After arriving we directly went for rafting. Really great. We did it with our children (8&10) and that's completely safe. During the raft we could even swim in a slower part. People were really friendly and life vest are included.
The cabin is great but if you do not like to sleep outdoor (you have a net) and you like marble bathrooms this is not your place. For us this was the coolest place I have ever slept. One thing is the noise of the river but the earplugs we had come to use.
We paid 90$ including dinner for 4 and the food was one of the best. Rafting including a good lunch was 135$ for 4. It was low season and normally prices are higher.
Great place to stay for a day.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank LikeToExploreThings
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hove
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2012

Pretty shabby - idea is smart and the dining area is quite "Tarzanesque" and good for a couple of evening beers.

Manager charged us $60 for a 3 bed room in the main block (not the jungle huts) with no AC and fan that was likely to fall out and decapitate one of us. We were kind of tied as our pals had booked. Dogs barking all night and the worst WC facilities we had in entire stay. We paid 1,200rp ($10) in Hikkaduwa for something a bit nicer (but still grim).

Very "pushy" manager. Rafting was fun - no idea if it was good value or not - but it was OK.

Do yourself a favour. Do the rafting - but stay somewhere else. As usual in SL - they have all the raw materials and locations to possibly make something really special - but just make a complete hash of it. Don't book - feel free to just turn up and ask to see one of their rooms.

Also - get a waterproof disposable camera - some great shots in the river.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Phil T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hereford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
250 reviews
86 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2012

We stayed here one night for the rafting, which was something of a joke as the river level was so low that we spent quite a bit of time stuck on the bottom - check this before you book! The bungalow was more rustic than eco, with one side facing the river completely open - this was the best thing about the place, falling asleep to the sound of the river. The bungalows are set close to each other in the grounds of the old plantation house, and the whole set up seemed like it had seen better days or that the people running it had lost interest. I would not hurry back.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank SuttonHill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rafters Retreat

Property: Rafters Retreat
Address: Hilland Group, Kitulgala 71720, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Sabaragamuwa Province > Kitulgala
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Kitulgala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 11
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Also Known As:
Rafters Retreat Hotel Kitulgala

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