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“A bit of Africa”

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Yala Safari Game Lodge
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
355 reviews
120 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 213 helpful votes
“A bit of Africa”
Reviewed April 18, 2012

Well this place was a bit different from your average hotel in Sri Lanka. Very much big game Africa themed to the long drive in, the 'game lodge' main building with the rooftop scenic viewing, the beautifully presented detached ‘huts’ for sleeping dotted about the enclosure, the odd chance of running into a cow or two in the night! Very atmospheric and authentic, unique and an excellent place to stay within Yala Park. It has to be said that Yala it self is only OK I would say in terms of a game reserve for viewing. Sri Lanka does not have the big five of Africa although there are still some great experiences to be had. Having said that some of guests had regular sightings of the elusive leopard which would certainly make the long journey worthwhile.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Sanjaya_Wijeyekoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
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English first
Level Contributor
16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2012

This is a tricky one. The rooms were beautifully presented and the communal areas stunning (the observation deck at sunset was one of our favourite spots). There's also a lovely pool for the hours you're not racing around on safari. However, the service was really terrible and the staff were not at all joined up which made our stay rather frustrating. There's not much choice in the area and it feels like a great hotel blueprint has been dropped into a stunning location and the staff just aren't able to carry it off. Not one to avoid but not worth the hefty price tag in our view.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
8 Thank Bdsey12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
1 review
Reviewed February 26, 2012

The location of this hotel is ideal for safaris. Beach chalet was lovely. Twisted my ankle on the stairs in the restaurant and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. Prishanti bandaged it then applied ointment etc. the next day- thanks to swift treatment, I could put weight on it in a couple of days. Food was bland which is unfortunate as there are no other restaurants within easy distance. Would definitely recommend this hotel as a great place to stay to see the Park.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank daphne19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yorkshire
Level Contributor
31 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2012

Excellent lodges, with everything needed, except a plug near a mirror!! The best bathroom of the trip, with a powerful shower to remove all the dirt and dust from a trip out in a jeep - a pleasure to use. Some lodges on the sea edge are on stilts and look out to sea from their balcony, but they are the furthest away from the communal facilities.

The lodges are set in the local 'scrubby' jungle, next to a large watering hole, with resident crocodiles, and water buffalo - the children will be very impresssed. The back of the village opens on to a beach and the Indian Ocean - too dangerous to swim though. The communal areas are pleasant, the pool inviting. The only real hassle is having to ask someone to collect and take you back to your lodge in the dark - for fear of you being attacked by the wandering wildlife.

Monkeys played in the trees outside our lodge and a wild boar was snuffling around one morning. A few weeks earlier a baby elephant had roamed through the village during the night The road to the Village is a very long, bumpy ride, and may be flooded - so not a trip you want to take very much in anything other than a jeep. Because of that I'd only want to spend a few days here whilst on safari.

The food was fine and varied - best pasta dish of the whole trop - and the packed breakfast we took on safari was pleasant. The service was good.

A very pleasant place to base ourselves for visits to local Yala National park, and the local Bandala birds sanctury - which I enjoyed more than Yala, but I suppose it depends on your guide. We had arranged our guides before the trip, so I cannot comment on how helpful, or not, the hotel would be on this.

Room Tip: Do you want to be close to the pool, or close to the sea with a balcony looking over the beach?
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank MirandaSmoothy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Midlands
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2011

What can one say about this place? Poor food (only curry for lunch for a place that claims to be international), demotivated staff, poor grounds, shoddy bar, dining and swimming pool facilities, unkept and untidy grounds more akin to what you'd see in a rundown bit of green land in a city, no qualified naturalists or guides employed by the place to do the safaris, and most of all the staff show NO real connection with the wonderful setting of the Park. This place has no soul!

I am convinced that Yala Village, even after their planned refurbish, will remain a huge disappointment. The folks that run this place just do not have what it takes to make the needed improvements without a total change in culture/attitude. Why do I say this? Because I gave them feedback in April and they have not had the courtesy to respond.

The location is badly utilized to say the least. The beach chalets we had were the most expensive, but they were cramped, hot and the fittings and exterior paint were at least 10 years old - really shabby. The towels were ragged up by years of use – most homes discard them well before they get to this condition. The pool was also shabby with dusty surroundings and we saw some clients get their own sun bad mats from a pile – no sense of service!

The poor qulaity of the staff was evident everywhere. The dining room service improved a little after we complained, but by the limited scale of their response, it seems that the local managers have little say in matters like menu, customer service, etc.

The Lodge is very big on hype about conservation of the environment, saving water, etc, but they do not have a clue about service and ENGAGING the heart and mind of the visitor. Their attitude leaves one thinking that their talk of saving the planet cannot be taken seriously when they don’t give a care about clients. And sadly most clients just accept the dross they dish out.

To compare, a basic 3 star lodge in Uganda offers a better quality of service at far lower cost and you are guaranteed better game viewing.

If the lodge employs any environmental/naturalist type people, they were too busy to make themselves known and the front reception was too busy checking people in and out to have time to talk to anyone.

The situation is made worse by the fact that at the Yala park, each vehicle has to engage a local tracker – and many of them are unable to communicate other than use one word/phrase for the names of birds or animals. The training these guys get (????) must be really poor.

If you plan to visit Yala, we'd suggest that you do the trip differently - possibly staying in a comfortable hotel in Tissa and include the services of a trained naturalist (regardless of whether a tracker is mandatory or not) and start REALLY early so as to beat the crowds get into the park at opening time. I’d have gone for this option if we’d known!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
8 Thank Jijay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed May 24, 2011

We were allocated a lovely room on stilts, woke up to the sounds of a troop of monkeys playing on the roof. Makes me smile still :-). Good breakfast followed by safari in the afternoon - we were lucky enough to see 2 leopards and elephant etc. Back to the lodge to find a huge male wild pig snoring in the sunshine at the base of our room!! Evening meal was lovely- I could eat their curries every day. A really great part of our tour.

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank LadyHelenH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterford
Level Contributor
53 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2011

We spent three nights at Yala Village, and enjoyed two game drives whilst we were there. We had a great time, and there's a real eco feel there. It's not lap of luxury stuff, but then you don't go on safari for that. The lodges are quite nice and clean, but basic. There's a lovely relaxing vibe around the resort, and as other people mentioned some wild animals wandering around. Staff and very friendly and helpful. Food is very good.

I've been to South Africa on safari and whilst you can't compare it to that, they're not on the same level, it is very enjoyable. My husband had never been on safari before and loved it. We got to see the elusive leopard so he was thrilled! Definitely worth doing if going to Sri Lanka!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
4 Thank mags29waterford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Yala Safari Game Lodge

Property: Yala Safari Game Lodge
Address: Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Yala National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Yala National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Yala Safari Game Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 108
Also Known As:
Yala Safari Game Hotel Yala National Park

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