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“Good hotel, but beware of visiting locals”

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Club Palm Bay Hotel
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Marawila
Reviewed October 22, 2012

I stayed with my family in CPB for ten nights following a four day hightlights of Sri Lanka tour. We booked our holiday through Mercury Direct, who I would recommend to anyone as they were very helpful. Having checked trip advisor, I was struck by two things; the number of repeat visitors (which says volumes about a hotel) and the apparent bad behaviour of Russian guests.

During my stay I met many return guests who all appeared to be just as happy as the last time they visited. I also encountered many Russians who I am delighted to say, never bothered myself or any other guest. We stayed during October, the low season and it was clear that the hotel was no where near full. However, this suited us even more as it added to a quiet holiday experience we wanted. Sadly this quietness was interrupted for three days by Sri Lankan holiday guests. If you are planning on staying at CPB I would take note of the following as I have not see it any other review, but you need to know this; Sri Lankan companies reward their employees and familiees of the employees by payihg for them to stay at various hotels for a long weekend. CPB is one such hotel.

On Friday the 12th of October, from 10.30 in the morning I was aware that many Sri Lankan guests were arriving. The only reason I thought this was weired is because much of the Sri Lanka I had seen was blighted with poverty. I then noticed that many of the men were occupying the bar area and drinking from bottles of whiskey- at eleven in the morning! Not even the Russians were doing this and they are a race famed for their love of strong spirits! You cannot buy bottles of spirits at CPB, and the drinks these guests had, had been bought in from elsewhere and were just being decanted and consumed in the bar area. The bar staff tried to stop them doing this, but ultimately they were unable to stop them. They then moved in dribs and drabs to the pool area, where they began very noisy games of volleyball. They also produced their musical instruments- drums galore, and started banging and singing. After lunch, my wife and I went to our room to relax. Despite my annoyance at the behaviour of these guests, I realise that they are just as entitled to enjoy a break as much as I am. And I accept that their idea of relaxing and letting off steam is different to mine. However, where I drew the line was that night. We stayed in room 170. The Sri Lankan males positioned themselves by the lagoon outisde room 172 at 0100 and stayed there drinking whiskey, banging drums and singing/ shouting until 0530. Many guests asked them to be quited and security tried to stop them, but they continued. To be clear, there were around 40 to 50 men drinking whiskey, all drunk and all fighting amongst themselves. They took patio furniture from other rooms, including ours, and broke many of them fighting and doing what ever else they did. They argued with guests who asked them to be quiet. They spent the night banging on the door of one guest who asked them to be quiet and took a nasty dislike to an elderly couple whose patio they used during their soiree, and banged on the door demanding to know why they were complaining about them. The following morning we, along with many other non-indegenous guests complained to the manager. The grounds at CPB are immaculate and maintained to a high standard. Sadly, the area these guests had partied in was ruined, littered with broken whiskey bottles, cigarettes, scorch marks on the ground and broken furniture. This was not cleared up until 1400 on Saturnday afternoon, although I think some of it was left in situ for other members of management to see. The manager, Fernando, was very apologetic and listened to all complaints. It was here that he explained the situation; in the quiet season, of which October is one of the months, the hotels managing company boost their revenue by housing local weekend guests. As I have stated, these guests are the employees and their families of Sri Lankan based companies. Other guests told me, and Fernando confirmed, that the week before, they had done the same. Only that time, they had partied around the pool until 0500 and had broken the pool side furnitire and lights and done some damage to the main restaurant. He stated that he was pooling guest complaints about the behaviour of these guests as he wanted to stop the company entertainging these corportae guests. On the Saturday night, they again located to the same area near our room and began to bang their drums and sing at 0100 hours, though this time their were significantly more security officers on scene and calm was quickly restored.

I am sure that some people reading this will consider it a xenophobic view of local guests. It is not. It is the observation of a working person who was so annoyed by what he saw, that for the first time in his life he was moved inform others of a site that like them, he uses and trusts when booking his holidays.

The management at CPB were very good and apologetic, and were really of top of things on Saturday night. However, the memory of Friday night stayed with me.

Four our trouble, and the trouble of other guests, were treated to a complimentary bottle of wine with dinner. The staff at CPB are very polite, very friendly, very helpful and all in all a credit to a very good hotel. The food is fantastic, the AI package very good (not the best, but VERY good). Had that Friday night not happened, I would recommend the hotel to anyone- it has so many repeat visitors that this in itself speaks volumes. Sadly, for me, so does the behaviour and accommodation of the Sri Lankan coroporate clients.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank S K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 2, 2012

ARRIVAL
We spent 2 weeks at CPB in September traveling with Mercury Direct. We booked private transfers from the airport to the hotel but i must say was very disappointed with the vehicle sent for us..it was old and shabby and would not have an MOT in the UK.

When we got to the hotel we were greeted with a cold towel and a lime drink which were both very welcoming. we were booked in and taken to our rooms promptly.

ROOMS
The rooms are large with plenty of storage a mega big bed and comfortable pillows, we had a lovely view over the lagoon however as soon as we opened the patio door there was an awful sewerage smell. we hoped it would go away but realized quickly that this was not going to happen..Not to worry the next day we asked to be moved and this happened quickly. We were given a room in 2 story block this again looked over the lagoon and had the sun first thing in the morning. again a very large and clean room.

FOOD
The food was of good quality and plenty of it. sometimes you had to wait for your eggs in the mornings as there may have been only one chef cooking but what did that matter as we didn't have to rush off to work did we!

MASSAGE
I was disappointed with the massage i had, it wasn't relaxing if fact i would say it was rather rough and it was not in a spa environment just an uninviting room.

POOL
Pool area is large and plenty of beds, could do with a few more umbrellas though, pool boys will get your beds ready for you without any problems.

BAR
The bar varied depending who was working. mostly staff came to you as soon as you glass was empty but on other occasions you struggled to get a drink, and even then was often given different to what you asked for.

TRIPS
We went to Yala National Park booked through Mercury Direct with a stay overnight at an Ecopark staying in a tent. fabulous trip and fun in the tent, no electric just a torch and an oil tilley lamp,but did have your own toilet and cold shower! well worth a visit.. BBQ evening meal and lovely breakfast..
We were also lucky enough to watch T20 cricket in Colombo and to go to Kandy to the elephant orphanage etc and Galle.

We tipped staff regularly as like in most hotels the wages are poor, and to be honest the staff deserve it. They work hard and make you holiday enjoyable.

The exchange rate for the GBP is very good at present, so well worth taking with you.

We would recommend this hotel to others as we had a wonderful time there.

Room Tip: avoid room 132 as that is where the smell was.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank jenmike64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012

Had a great 2 week holiday with my partner, the hotel rooms/bungalows are beautiful, including a very powerful aircon, personal patio, and a possible lagoon view. We noticed that the floor was never cleaned, but that was our only issue, the room was cleaned twice every day, once during the day, and once during evening meal time. The house keepign staff are amazing.

We arrived on the 14th of September and stayed till the 29th of September, during which we spent most the time at the amazing pool. The pool has a shallow area that surrounds the pool which is knee deep and perfect for sitting and reading in, there is a shallower section between the shallow and deep section, this has a depth of about 10cm and is perfect to lie on during the day, then theres a deep section and a area for water volley ball and water polo. Youll never find the swimming pool crowded, nor a lack fo sunbeds, we returned from the beach in the afternoon and were still able to find a sunbed with a umberlla free. The only issue we can state is that some of the sun bed locations were where ants came out to search for food, but they never came up the sunbed.

Every day the entertainers try to get the people to play water volley ball, balls, darts, table tennis, you name it, they play it with you. They are amazing people and are willing to bend over backwards for you.

Theres 2 tennis courts, a basket ball court, badmintion court and a gold course all available to use for free and bikes you can hire for £2 for the day. I recommend you hire one out (though bring a patted seat, as they are rock solid) and explore the local area, youll see how fisherman live, and can pick up fresh fish to eat.

The area is surrounded by a lagoon and has loads of trees and plants between the rooms, including a family of cute chicmonks and little lizards and frogs.

The meals catered for every type of person, my partner is a vegitarian and loves spice, i am a meat eater, but who cannot tolerant spice, we could always find somethign to eat, though often one of us would be less fortunate than the other on different days. The drink staff at meal times can be tiring, as we often had to repeat order our drinks 3 to 4 times before it would arrive, and if you get up to make it yourself, your told off. The chef staff are amazing and every day there are 2 new meats cooking in the special area and the chefs will cook it to your own desires.

The evening entertaiment is on a weekly cycle and gets dull very quickly, but thats a little grumble on a great holiday.

the beach itself isnt wonderful in relation to the pool, drinks are harder to get (i sent one off to get a drink of water and he never returned). The beach when we were there, consisted of black sand (not that that deterred me to dig a massive hole in it) and has several sunbeds and umbellas for use. The sea itself was too rough for us to swim in during our entire stay, but we were told that for every month out of 6, the sea is too rough to swim in.

Travelling in any direction from the stretch of beach owned by the hotel, you'll notice the quality drop signifcantly, as litter and fisherman shacks turn up.

There is also a tuk tuk collection just outside the hotel doors, and they will take you around the area for a small fee. I so recommend a trip chilaw where you travel over a river on a ....raft....

Overall, the hotel staff are great, and made the holiday a amazing 2 weeks. Apart from our rule of never going back to the same place twice, we would definately go back there.

Room Tip: the lagoon gave off a smell that we found quite dodgy during the evening, therefore a nonlagoon room...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Alan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

Had a great 2 weeks again CPB and it was nice to see the hotel now all the renovations were finished.
We arrived early evening after a flight delay and were greeted once again with a refreshing cocktail and the normal friendly service that the hotel prides itself on.

The rooms were again immaculate and although we were put in a twin room by mistake it wasn't a problem and we were soon rehoused correctly once the hotel realised we were a married couple.

Once we had had a good nights sleep we ventured out to the pool and were again greeted by the pool boys who supplied us with the towels and beds and surprisingly remembers us from our last trip.

The restaurant again never failed to please and had a large variety of dishes to suit all tastes and staff who went out of there way make sure everything was just right. Must mention Rajitha who went the extra mile and even arranged a meal to be sent to our room when the wife was unwell.
As this was our 2nd visit we were treated to a special return meal with full waiter service and special menu. This was outside by the pool and was also attended by to other couples. Thoroughly enjoyable and one of the highlights of our stay


If I had to find something negative to say it would have to be the service and atmosphere in the main bar area. Normally the staff would be smiling making sure you glass was never empty. This time it seemed like they were constantly on edge and afraid to do something wrong. It was as if they had been instructed to limit the amount of drinks given out and only topped you up when asked.....Dont get me wrong they were still very good but not quite the 5 stars they got previously

We again met Fernando outside the hotel and arranged a trip to Yalle which unfortunately we had to cut short after I badly hurt my back whilst visiting the gem mines en route. After a quick call I asked if we could return to CPB and explained what had happened. Fernando was quite upset and thought he had done something wrong which he certainly had not and I would recommend him to every guest at he hotel as his service is 1st class and nothing was to much trouble.

Overall We had a great time and again met some great people who we will try to keep in touch with. Special mentions to Tim, Irene and lynda who along with her dad gave us some great laughs. Especially when it revolved around the Sri Lankan red wine, they will know what I mean.

Will go back one day but need to see some more of the world 1st.

Room Tip: Rooms 100 to 140 overlooking lagoon
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank shauneport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2012

The hotel is set in beautiful gardens round a lagoon .The rooms are spacious 'air conditioned
bungalos with patios either facing the lagoon or gardens .The pool is spectacular there are plenty
of sunbeds and there is never a time when the pool is overcrowded.We returned for our 13th visit
in August ,why do we go back, we travel to many places but nowhere have we met people so generous,genuine and welcoming staff always a smile on their faces nothing is too much trouble.
The food is superb ,entertainment is low key untill September and we did miss out on the cocktail
parties that are always so good in high season when we visit in February but it is a perfect venue
for the school holidays when Europe is too hot we had a constant 30 degrees .Whilst there do be
sure to take trips out of the hotel there is so much to see and its safe to travel everywhere,we always go with Samantha Tours a genuine international guide. It is safe to walk outside the hotel
and you will meet many guests out for a stroll with no problem of being hassled. Looking forward to many more visits . Bakers Faversham

Room Tip: A lagoon view will give you beatiful views of sunrise and sunset
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Bakers2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012

Myself (48 year old guy) and my kid (15) stayed here for a couple of weeks in August 2012.

I really liked the place. The room was big, clean, air conditioned and very comfortable. Kept spotlessly clean by the housekeeping staff.

We were there on an all inclusive basis - the food was delicious. I tended for the Sri Lankan offerings, very good curry, rice, and salads. My (very picky) 15 year old went for the European style food almost every night. There was always a wide choice and something familiar for him to eat. The dessert offerings were always particularly good.

The bar area is clean and airy - service is prompt and efficient. There is a good selection of local produced drinks. They dont make wine in Sri Lanka so this is not part of the "local drinks" package, but hardly an inconvenience. The bar was closed for alcohol a couple of times while we were there - to be clear this is the Law in Sri Lanka, they HAVE to close, it's a criminal offence for them not to, so it isn't as some people seem to think a sign of meanness by the hotel.

The best feature of the hotel though is a absolutely amazing pool! It is just fantastic. Huge and uncluttered. There are ample shallow areas for small kids and a good level of supervision. We never had problems getting a lounger.

Really I cant see how you could fault the place.

Room Tip: Dont buy excursions from the hotel or your tour rep. There is a small tour shop - Slim Line Travel j...
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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12  Thank Linux99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

My wife and I stayed at this hotel for a week in August 2012 to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Overall I would rate the hotel very highly. The the staff are friendly, accommodating and eager to help. The hotel is fabulous - it has beautiful grounds, a lovely, big pool, basketball court, gym, table tennis, pool & billiards. They do water aerobics and water volleyball each day so we were as active as we wanted to be. We went on trips to Kandy (Buddhist temple, spice garden), Bentota (water sports) and Yala (nature park). These were fun but you need to be prepared for the long journeys as there is only one highway in Sri Lanka so a journey of 100km takes 3 hours+. We booked the trips through Surangi, the hotel's trip organiser. She will bargain with you but does offer the best prices of anyone around. She's also really pleasant to deal with so I'd definitely recommend her. The hotel food was good but not great. There's an OK amount of choice compared to other all-inclusives Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend it to any couple or mature persons looking for a relaxing getaway - I wouldn't recommend it for young children as there's not much for them to do.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank smassiah67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Club Palm Bay Hotel

Address: Thoduwawa, Marawila 61210, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > North Western Province > Marawila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Marawila
Price Range: $84 - $247 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Club Palm Bay Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 152
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Palm Bay
Resort All Inclusive Palm Bay

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