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“Don't book it, we got a very bad deal!”
Review of Tsunami Hotel

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Tsunami Hotel
Ranked #23 of 29 Pottuvil B&B and Inns
Reviewed August 23, 2012

We had a very upsetting and dissapointing experience there.We booked Tsunami over the phone. The owner said he had a room for us. It was pricey 40$, but it's the high season, so we thought it's what the prices are there. When we got there it came out, that there was no room for us at the hotel and the owner would put us in a different one for 2 nights. For the same price, no negotiations. The other place definetely wasn't worth 40$, it was a much lower standard than the Tsunami. And we found out, that other people were paying 25-30$ for the same room and the same place!
We quickly moved and found a nicer place for a much better price. I guess they will do anything for the money at Tsunami hotel. Don't go there!

Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Tia77TA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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58 - 64 of 106 reviews

Reviewed August 7, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed in Tsunami Hotel June 2011 and I definitely should have written this review earlier, however am new to tripadvisor. I cannot recommend this hotel enough. Whilst planning to stay for only three days, we extended our trip to seven days as we could not bear to leave the gem we had discovered in this hotel. On the first day we were looking around the hotels of Arugam Bay to see where to stay for the few nights. We inspected first Tsunami Hotel and a fellow British traveller told us "everyone always comes back here, so you might as well save yourself looking at the others" - it was brilliant advice.

The hotel staff were friendly from the first minute, playing cricket with us on the beach, making an effort to always talk to us, inviting us to join them for dinners and drinks when we came back from a day on the beach. If we wanted to be left to ourselves that was no problem, but they were always there when we had a question. The Sri Lankan meals we ate here were the best of all in Arugam and the best value compared to everywhere else we ate in Arugam. The garden leading to the beach was the perfect place for a drink at sunset after a day in the sea. When we arrived I was ill and the staff made me fresh lime tea, took it to our room and looked after my every need to ensure I got better quickly. Our room was basic but perfect, with that beach on your doorstep and the friendliest and most relaxed atmosphere you will find in any hotel, this is the only place to stay in Arugam.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Amy E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2012

tsunami hotel is nice place and viewing point.....good service!!!

Room Tip: all rooms well
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
    • Service
2  Thank Nijham D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2012

Me and my sister walked along the beach the morning after spending a horrible night at the galaxy guest house and spotted this hotel. The manager came over to welcome us and showed us the rooms to which we decided to transfer to the Tsunami hotel. He even drove us down the road and waited while we packed our bags to save us hauling our rucksacks along the beach. We thought the price was very reasonable for the service we received. If there was anything we needed then the staff were able to provide for us (with the exception of the curd for a lassie that we had been craving, but that was due to them awaiting a delivery). We said we wanted to try surfing and they arranged a surfing lesson for us at a good price, which was awesome! The food was great. We had a BBQ tuna the first night, and spicy king prawns the next. Lots of flavour, compliments to the chef. Just a shame we couldn't manage eating it all. The room itself was clean and had everything we needed, a bed with a good mosquito net, table, chairs and shelves. The bed was comfy so we got a good nights sleep, although we could hear the nightly chant from the centre of the bay at 4:30am even with ear plugs. The bathroom was again clean, we were provided with towels and toilet paper on arrival, all the comforts of home really. All in all a great spot, with a lovely shaded garden, a hammock hanging between the trees, seating that proved good for sunbathing, and there are showers at the end of the garden to rinse off after being in the sea which is only meters away from the accommodation itself. The only downside was that I couldnt get internet reception in the room because I was staying in one tucked around the back, but wasn't really a big problem. Great experience, and one of which I hope to visit again at some point!!!

Room Tip: One of the rooms nearer the from of the hotel would probably be better because they are closer to th...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Shani89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LeeBlacK, Owner at Tsunami Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 25, 2012

Hi Shani and Hi to your sister Jodie too, Thanks very much for taking the time to write the review, really happy to hear you had a good time! Excellent that your surf lessons with "Mr Take it Easy" Caim worked out well, I must find the time to take some myself. Sorry about the blindspot on the wifi - I checked with my machine today and got reception everywhere, but i have a pretty high spec laptop that most people traveling would not be carrying with them. hmmm, what to do? SL Lee says hello, and says he's looking forward to seeing you again and welcome back anytime. i say the same thing too

Cheers !
Lee (the english one)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2012

I arrive at the Tsunami Hotel at 7pm in the evening (as the hotel I wanted to sty in initially was fully booked) and was seduced by the Moroccan-type feel the place had, the peaceful beach setting under the trees and the soft ambient music playing from the bar/reception.
I was shown a room by the manager who greeted me dripping wet and wearing only a towel (he was coming out of the shower!) and after a quick inspection agreed to stay. I then ventured over to the outside tables and was asked by an Englishman if I was alright. "Do you work here?" I enquired, "Sort of" was the reply and he made his excuses and left. I was given a menu by the manager I had met earlier and told I could order anything I wanted at any time I wanted. "Tonight you'll have to wait a few hours as we only have 3 staff members, we just lost a few staff members and I am acting as temporary chef."
I was so tired and had been traveling all day so I agreed to wait. The Englishman came over once more and it transpired that he was in fact the owner of the hotel. I was surprised he hadn't introduced himself properly earlier, but he seemed agitated, so I gave him the benefit of doubt.
After eating I went into my room and was about to get into bed when I saw that the sheets were dirty, had been slept in and there was blood stains on them. The pillowcases hadn't been changed either. I was so tired, I decided not to make a fuss and would ask them to change the sheets in the morning.
In the morning, I stripped the bed myself and when I asked for clean sheets as the ones I had slept in were filthy, there was no apology from the staff. I was lead into the KITCHEN to a wooden cupboard to collect new sheets which I had to change myself. The linen cupboard was kept in the kitchen to my surprise. I wished I hadn't gone into the kitchen as the surfaces were all filthy and there were flies everywhere all over uncovered food. I decided from that moment on that I would eat out.
I started to feel really uneasy at the Tsunami Hotel when I found that cockroaches had invaded my room and the staff didn't seem to be bothered or want to help me get rid of them, at which point I decided it was time to leave.
Had the owner been more pleasant and helpful, I would have probably been able to over-look the dirty sheets, the fly-infested kitchen, cockroaches and the music which was played incessantly all day and was changed frequently from ambient to hard-core techno (not what you want to listen to when you're trying to relax during the day in this quiet, relaxed, surfer village), but the owner Lee's extreme moodiness and bad attitude which he seemed to take out on the guests that were staying at his hotel drove me out after 2 nights and 1 day.
I assertained that this man should simply not be working in the service industry and moved to a charming hotel next door for the same price where a delightful Sri Lankan family took care of me. The hotel was super clean with lovely bathrooms. I wish I had gone there first. My room faced the sea and you opened the windows that looked out onto the lovely sandy beach.
I later found out that the owner Lee had a bad reputation in the area with the locals for being volatile and a difficult man. The moral of the story is - always look at Trip Advisor before you stay somewhere and get a recommendation. Stay at the Tsunami Hotel at your peril!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank C M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LeeBlacK, Owner at Tsunami Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 25, 2012

Never nice to receive such a bad review, but it was threatened by this individual so it was somewhat expected. Yikes, where to begin?

Some background: I had taken over the management and running of the hotel for just over a week, with little support, when these two girls arrived. I inherited a hotel in a considerable state of chaos, only just about functioning. It was Buddha's birth day celebration a couple days beforehand, one of the biggest holidays in the Sri Lankan year, and we were still very busy. On top of that, we had lost three of our six staff in 48 hours (our cook had a very nasty cut on his arm from a motorcycle accident, another's mother had passed away, and another got his working visa approved for Qatar and had left for colombo, so we were down to three).

So, was I doing the headless chicken dance? - absolutely, yes! I was completely out of my depth trying to run the place, I freely admit that! Mostly only new staff on hand, we were nearly full of guests, cooking for 12-14 people, and I was dealing with multiple maintenance issues in the dark with a plumber and an electrician, whilst these two english girls had arrived and booked in.

Whilst carrying tools and duct tape, and clearly rushed off my feet, I was intercepted by one of the girls. I'd describe what followed as an insistent and relentless string of questions, often quite bizarre and random in my opinion, and with seemingly no directive or point to them. I said two or three times that the electrician and plumber standing some distance away were waiting for me, but she continued anyway.

Lee, who is not a chef, in the kitchen with a helper doing a valiant job of trying to cook for approx 12-14 people, with very limited resources, took their order some time later (in my presence). The girl asking all the questions ordered the spicy prawn linguine from the menu, the other girl (I think the author of the review) ordered “the same”, except with 4 or 5 complex amendments – “I don't eat carbohydrates so leave them out, make sure you cook the prawns with a little bit of oil but not too much, no garlic, and also include a daal curry - but make the daal like a soup and not like a curry”. She had full knowledge of the overloaded kitchen, and also moaned about the subsequent waiting time.

In hindsight, and what is now policy if the kitchen is overwhelmed again, I should have just said “sorry our kitchen is way over its capacity, perhaps I can suggest a restaurant and you can eat out for tonight”

What else?

Last week our kitchen was described as “easily the cleanest I've seen in Arugam Bay” by an environmental health and safety inspector, who made a surprise visit.

The ipod in the bar is a random playlist of music: classic, modern, chillout, Sri Lankan, independent, pop, electronic, hopefully all of good taste, and hopefully with a little bit for everyone's taste; but yes I will look at the playlist again and remove the 'harder' tracks, and yes also switch the music off from time to time for the silence.

I frankly don't believe the part about 'blood stained and slept in sheets', since that I know would have sent these girls into the stratosphere. In fact I just checked with Lee, and indeed he said the room had been cleaned with clean sheets when he showed them (its his word against hers I suppose, but I definitely know who I believe).

Anyway, Im not going to spend any more time on this response to cover all the supposed grievances (a lot of pure fabrications I might add), except to say that nearly everything that came out of this girl's mouth during her stay was negative in some way, and in my limited interactions with her I felt nothing but bad vibrations; and she clearly has a grudge – just look at the size of her review!! They were paying just $10 a head for their room, and if they did not leave that morning I was having them leave anyway.

We will take our breaks as they come, and accept such guests as part of the experience. I still have a lot to learn myself, right out of my comfort zone, but learning every day. We encourage all our guests to write objective reviews of their stay, and through feedback and experience aim to steer a steady course of constant improvement, increased efficiency, smoother functioning, and quality day by day. Since no matter what you do you can't please everyone, if we achieve say 80% positive reviews by September, then I feel our job will have been done.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2012

Like a previous reviiewer, I ended up staying longer here than I originally planned. The location is excellent (right near the rock), The staff was attentive and make excellent food and the atmosphere was awesome also - cool Arab-motif sitting area and more private tables scattered around a big garden.

Rooms were really comfy as well - art work, furniture, chairs, table, etc. Easy to really unpack the bag and settle in.

While I was there they were making improvements on some of the other bungalows so I reckon this is a really good place and getting even better. Would be difficult for anyone to find a better value in Arugam I'm sure. Will definitely be back next April.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Johnny A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2012

pro: very nice location along the beach, far away from the dirty end of the beach with a very nice garden with some hammocks in which you can relax under the shade of the palm trees.

con: the owner constantly tries to sell anything from drinks, food to trips. According to his own tales he is a very succesfull businessman so you don't feel that the money you spend goes in the right channels. His staff will tell you that they earn very little and all the money goes to the boss. The staff will ask for tips and money for a children's fund. There is no certainty where the money ends up. The owner is not honest about prices and will add a 10% service charge to everything. The staff is a bit grumpy and sometimes need a reminder if you want something. For example: two lamps didn't work in our room and needed a new lightbulb. After a reminder they managed to change one lightbulb after two days. Restaurant: We had one overpriced meal which was average. The owner's usual trick for every newcomer is to bring fish or prawns on a plate and ask you if you want them for dinner / lunch etc. Usually newcomers will say yes so they don't disappoint the staff.

Rooms: They are not totally clean; we saw a huge rat in the bathroom and the cigarette butt on the window shelf was there when we arrived and also when we left after three days. You have to pay extra for wifi. In general I would not recommend the place. If you have to stay at this place, enjoy the garden and eat somewhere else, like the green room.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank srilanka c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tsunami Hotel

Address: Main Street | Arugam Bay, Pottuvil, Arugam Bay 32500, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Eastern Province > Arugam Bay > Pottuvil
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 29 B&Bs / Inns in Pottuvil
Number of rooms: 12
Also Known As:
Tsunami Hotel Sri Lanka/Pottuvil

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