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“It is what it is! Very pleased.”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Club Bentota

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Club Bentota
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Aluthgama
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
98 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“It is what it is! Very pleased.”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

We booked a very reasonably priced all inclusive week in June here through Kuoni.
Firstly be mindful that it's really only 6 days due to the long flight. Also be aware that the BA flight from Heathrow to Colombo stops in Male to drop off and pick up, it is also cleaned (ish) and refuelled making the flight quite a bit longer than ideal (views of the Maldives are spectacular though!).
The shared airport transfer took forever! For some reason we had to stop at Mount Lavina too (toilet break as far as I could gather), over 3 hours in the end. To be fair, getting anywhere in SL takes forever!
Eventually got to the hotel, were shuffled onto a boat that took us over to the spit of land that the resort is on. Check in was quite efficient.
The location is amazing, river one side and sea the other. It should be noted that at this time of year (monsoon season) the sea is really dangerous and swimming is not really possible although you can go in reasonably safety up to about waist height. Undercurrents are potentially lethal though... Swimming in the river I guess is possible but wouldn't recommend it as there are boats coming and going. There are also HUGE water monitors in the river so not ideal if you are a big wuss.

ROOM: We were upgraded to the Deluxe room but there didn't appear to be much difference between rooms apart from the deluxes being a bit closer to the main areas (not too noisy so not an issue). Room was a little tired and shower /toilet areas a bit small (no bath) but really, absolutely fine, very clean, no bugs and the petals on the bed when we arrived were a nice touch! Note that the aircon chilled the room nicely but didn't dehumidify so still a bit clammy.

FOOD: Yes there is a curry theme but it is Sri Lanka after all! The curries were absolutely delish but for non curry lovers, there were pasta dishes, fish, stir fries, a huge salad/fruit bar. Breakfast was either curry(!), continental or egg, bacon, etc (there is also the ubiquitous 'egg man' who will cook your eggs to order).

DRINK: All inclusive : Unlimited (very good) draft local beer all day, local wine with meals only (although I tried one glass of red and it was as rough as old boots so we stuck with beer). Unlimited cocktails from the bar with local spirits although don't expect umbrellas, bells and whistles, they are very basic....
I guess branded spirits were purchasable but didn't see this advertised any where.

Other stuff: 2x ping pong tables, 2x pool tables, 1x pretty standard rectangular swimming pool, a library with books to borrow, a monastery at the far end of the spit (though take some change as the monk got grumpy with us as we didn't have any cash on us to donate - also take mossie repellent up here!)
If you want to eat out you have to get the boat (5 mins) to the mainland and then walk for about 20 mins down the Galle Road (prepare to be hassled). Or take a cab I guess! No restaurants 'just round the corner' due to the unique location of the resort.

We did an 2 day/overnight trip to Kandy, taking in the elephant orphanage (more of a tourist trap than an orphanage) and Siguria (Lion Rock, which was awesome (lots of steps though so not for the unfit!)

To summarise, we loved it! No complainers.... it wasn't 5 star but one knows that when booking! It was very reasonably priced, we definitely got value for money and we had a really lovely time. Would certainly recommend!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
9 Thank DisplayID
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Devon
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 27, 2013

We had an excellent time at Club Bentota. The hotel staff are all very friendly and helpful and it is good to tip them. The food was very good and there was always plenty of choice with the opportunity to try different dishes. The all inclusive part worked very well and you could always get water and soft drinks throughout the day. Wine was available with meals and was perfectly fine. The cocktails with local alcohol were also very acceptable.
The room was a good size and perfectly adequate, the shower area was slightly shabby but was kept very clean and all worked well. The air conditioning was very efficient.
We did several trips with Luba which were well organized and we were able to see a lot on one long day - did have a lie in the next day to recover!
An excellent place for a holiday.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank JetDevon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2013

Me and my boyfriend Chris were here the same time as Jackie S! Everyone is really lovely and friendly and likewise we booked everything through Luba on the beach rather than through Kuoni. Would 100% recommend booking through him the trips were awesome and you got so much extra for the price in comparison to Kuoni, also when chatting to other couples in comparison the Kuoni trips didn't seem to have a patch on the ones we did with Luba - the river cruise, market trip, and elephant orphanage in Pinawala was packed full of extras such as elephant rides, fruit plantations, herbal and spice gardens.. and.the list goes on which really broke up the drive up there.If you want to do anything extra him and his team are happy to help we went night fishing one night on Bentota River with one of the guys who was lovely! They are all genuinely out to make sure you have a good time and see the what the beautiful country has to offer.

The hotel was perfect for me and Chris lovely location and i found the room great- my last holiday however was in Ibiza with the girls and we are both in our mid 20s so if you are used to 5* resorts judging by some other reviews then maybe this would not be for you. However i found the room better than we had imagined, spotlessly clean, spacious, really friendly housekeeping and waiters.The hotel itself was lovely as well loved the Island to us it was a paradise Island. The one thing for me was the food - some days it was great others i found myself struggling to find something i enjoyed and i am not a fussy eater, however for an all inclusive buffet you can't expect 5* cuisine all the time! On the other hand one night we had a private meal and the food was just amazing- probably the best meal i have eaten, our desert came from speed boat on the other side of the river! The bar food is also very good and reasonable if you are after a change from the buffet.

We had a group transfer from what i have heard the price was i would definitely have booked private next time - journey took forever whilst it is nice to see some of the city its not like the drives too Pinawala etc when you see places on the way and are actually like wow this a world away from England.

I would definitely consider going back here the lay out was lovely you could walk for a good hour down the beach and barely see anyone a tropical paradise! The river on the over side is lovely to sunbathe by as well as the pool and you can go between areas as everything is so close. Do not be put off by poor reviews if your looking at all inclusive in a 3.5 star i would say this would top any experience you would have in Europe by a long, long way, beautiful country, people and culture, and the hotel itself was equally as lovely.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank xSarah_FOx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
64 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2013

We booked our stay here because this is apparently run by the lovely Mount Lavinia Hotel. But that is the only thing this hotel has in common with it. This hotel is very basic, room was very small, you could hardly get into the toilet area.

TV old and very unclear, but then again, you do not go to these places to watch tv.

The alcohol is local produce and really horrible. I found out that they keep the "real thing" closed off as most of the guests are there on an all inclusive basis but we were on full board and had to pay for the drinks.

The buffet did not offer much variety. There is for example no smoked salmon, no camembert, no ham or bacon or anything like that. Even the juice they offer at breakfast is concentrated.

I really don´t understand the rave reviews some people are giving this place. They probably have never been to a real resort.

I would not go there again.

Room Tip: We stayed in a bungalow, far away from the service area. The room is supposed to be a superior room...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Sigrún
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2013

We booked 12 nights at Club Bentota with Kuoni as a last minute deal and had an amazing time.
The location is incredible, you arrive by boat to find the hotel squished between the sea and a river, it really is the perfect place to go to switch off your phone and relax.

My expectations of the hotel were quite low and I was pleasantly surprised, the buildings are a little shabby but very clean and a lot of pride is taken over little details, flowers floating in bowls and petals on your bed sheets etc. I can't praise the staff, in fact Sri Lankan people enough, they are so friendly. The vast majority of the staff will bend over backwards to help you so make sure you take plenty of small notes to tip with. The dining room and pool areas are lovely and you also have the choice of the beach side or the river side if you want to mix your sunbathing spots up.

The only slight downside really was the room, we were in 209 and despite being upgraded, it was dark and rather gloomy. The dark green curtains don't help. The bathroom was very basic and shabby and even though the shower was good, the door leaked so you'd come out to a flooded floor. Saying this, the rest of the hotel is far too nice to stay in your room. We had a heavenly 50 minute couple's massage at the hotel spa which was great value and there is pool and ping pong to amuse. Animal lovers will be in their element too, expect to see enormous monitor lizards, eagles circling overhead, geckos aplenty and scores of cheeky chipmunks skipping round the grounds - don't leave your breakfast unattended. If you are really lucky, you may see an elephant being walked along the beach and even some monkeys in the trees.

The hotel food is a real triumph. 12 days is a long time to eat in one restaurant every day but I honestly didn't get bored. An enormous amount of pride is taken in the food and it shows. There is curry every day, the fish masala was lovely and spicy but there was also a number of milder dishes every day. They do good pasta most days for lunch and a number of non spicy dishes like chicken in a mushroom sauce. The soup was also amazing as were the desserts. Twice a week you can pay a supplement and get jumbo prawns or lobster. For about £20 you can get a whopping kilo of prawns in garlic and it fed all eight of us on our table. I dream of it still.

We travelled during monsoon season (a minor detail Kuoni neglected to mention in their offer literature on Travelzoo) stating only that temperatures were in their high twenties in June. While true, the heat is accompanied by some impressive stair rod rain, rough seas and all round changeable weather. To be honest, it didn't matter a jot after a few days of relaxation but dedicated sun seekers are taking a gamble. A few hours of daily sun is a safe bet but the warm wind is constant and overcast days were common. There was also a pretty wicked tropical storm one night which felled trees and signs but it was all part of our Sri Lanka experience. I also still managed to burn on one of the warmer days as the weak rays are deceptive. It is not safe to swim in the sea during monsoon and the red flag was up everyday. It was pretty awesome to watch the wild seas at any rate, especially from the unspoilt, often deserted beach.

No mention of Bentota's beach would be complete without mentioning Luba. This hotel gives you a real opportunity to do as little or as much as you like on your holiday but if you want to see a bit, Luba's your man. The hotel is isolated so you can get a bit of cabin fever but Luba will lay on a trip to meet your needs. We were really lucky to meet three lovely couples and we embarked on Luba tours together. We did a boat safari from right outside the hotel and saw monitors, crocodiles, monkeys, kingfishers, fruit bats and much much more. Luba has an almost supernatural ability to spot things. Later, his lovely cousin Babba took us on a very loooong day trip to Yala safari park where we saw elephants and we also called in an elephant orphanage, a turtle hatchery and stopped to try about a hundred kinds of banana and mango. Driving through the villages in the jeep to the safari was great in itself, but Yala is super. We had a rainy day and sadly the big cats didn't appear, but there were plenty of elephants and other animals.

We also did an overnight trip to Kandy with Luba which was great too. He did so much to make it special. He organised flowers, rose petals on her bed spelling out her name and even a birthday cake. We climbed Sigiriya which was a great experience, went to a tree plantation and factory, had possibly the best curry of our trip in a roadside cafe ( which we probably would have avoided at a glance) and went to the Temple of The Tooth. The hotel was lovely with signs which warned you to close your balcony windows to keep monkeys out! I can't praise Luba enough, for the price we paid, which always undercut Kuoni, they were great. Best of all, it's going in a local pocket and Luba's workers are all very friendly and not at all pushy. A few times, he organised rikshaws for us to see the local markets or go souvenir shopping. It would not have been the same trip without his tours.
I can't recommend the hotel, Luba or Sri Lanka enough.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
10 Thank Beanbag79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013

We are on our last week of our holiday. This is the first long haul we have booked and at first was a little dubious. We were greeted by our driver at the airport who was very friendly. I advise that if you can book a private transfer due to the distance it is a must, we arrived two hours before the other who went on a shuttle bus. Rooms have an authentic feel although a little dark. Clean towels every day and bottled water provided. Air Conditioning is continually on in rooms which makes a welcome return after a hot day by the pool Staff friendly and always helpful. We went on trips but did not go through Kuoni as we read about Luba ....well what can I say, he listened to what we wanted and suggested some trips that were half the price of the reps. Everything was thought of and we found that nothing was too much trouble for Luba and the guides. If there is anything you want to do Luba can arrange, even down to suggesting places to buy local souvenirs at "Good Price". It was our 25th Wedding Anniversary and Luba had flowers sent to the hotel. Thanks to Luba for making our holiday a success. Before you book any trips go and find Luba, he is situated just as you walk on to the beach and is a International Super Star known by all.

Room Tip: It is worth upgrading to a delux/ superior room as it is on the second floor. Rooms are a little da...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Jackie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2013 via mobile

Club Bentota is a really nice resort, it has everything you could ever want. The location is excellent and most of the time the hotel massively out punches it's three and a half star status. It is a little rough around the edges and if you are used to 5 star luxury you will probably be disappointed.

The beach is great with lots of crabs and shells. The water was rough and we didn't swim, but has lots of fun jumping in the waves. The pool was also good, nothing fancy but a great place to hang out.

We went on two tours both with Luba who operates off the beach. The river safari cost £10 each and lasted 3 hours or so and we saw loads of wildlife including baby crocs, water monitors and loads of wild birds. It was great fun and also included a trip to a spice garden, you will be sold to, but also given a massage and actually I found it very interesting.

The other trip was to Galle one Tuk Tuk this cost £20 and was way cheaper than the Kuoni option. Ronnie was our driver and he was lovely. We had a great time and had a really nice meal at the beach. The tour was bespoke to us and we did exactly what interested us rather than a formulaic tour with standard issue info.

Overall club Bentota was great, not the best hotel we stayed in on the trip, but the staff and the location made for a wonderful 6 days and without hesitation I would go there again.

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Seth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Club Bentota

Property: Club Bentota
Address: Paradise Island, Aluthgama 12080, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Aluthgama
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Aluthgama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Club Bentota 3*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover the wonders of the beaches of Sri Lanka during your stay at Club Bentota. A hassle free vacation for you and a fun-packed adventure for the kids: we provide exciting water sports, an extensive Ayurvedic spa and so much more on a secluded, breathtaking beach front. Built on a peninsula referred to as Paradise Island, Club Bentota is located on the South West coast of Sri Lanka and is flanked by the Indian Ocean and the Bentota River. Have fun under the sun with jet skiing, wind surfing, beach volleyball, croquet, river boat cruises and much more. Unwind by taking a dip in the pool or Ocean, play a game of cards with friendly guests from around the world, or read a book in our hotel book shop. Choose from our all-inclusive or full-board packages and book a vacation to Club Bentota, where the sun and sand await you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Club Bentota Hotel Aluthgama
Bentota Hotel Aluthgama
Club Bentota Sri Lanka/Aluthgama

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