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“Beautiful location but ultimately not good value for money” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ella Jungle Resort

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Ella Jungle Resort
Ranked #4 of 86 Specialty Lodging in Ella
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Beautiful location but ultimately not good value for money”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2014 via mobile

I stayed here with my wife and young son (4) just after Christmas this year.

The first thing anyone who books here should be told is that this is not the place to come if you're not in good physical health and if you suffer from a fear of heights.

There is a steep, bumpy road with numerous hairpin bends and places where the road has crumbled away to negotiate before you reach the 'resort' from the main road. That is done by use of a 4x4 which you may need to wait some time for (and which you'll need to use every time you leave the resort to go to Ella).

After that you need to walk along some paths through the jungle for about 10 to 15 minutes. Wear strong shoes with plenty of grip as again, the path is very steep and difficult to traverse in some places, with dangerous falls possible if you slip. You'll need to be fit to complete this part even though your bags are carried by porters.

Finally you arrive at the entrance... except this is the biggest challenge yet - you must cross a stream via a rickety rope bridge. It's about 10 metres to the ground below, the bridge sways, there are only thin ropes for you to hold onto, and there are gaps between some of the planks. If you slip you'll fall and likely perish. As you can tell I found this fairly scary, especially having to lead my son across! I'll upload some photos of my wife crossing so you can see for yourself.

Now for my comments on the resort itself. Well, when we had crossed the bridge we were offered tea and a sugary sweet and a registration card to fill out while our room was made ready.

I had some prior idea that the resort wasn't going to be top end in terms of creature comforts so I had tried to offset this by booking the deluxe option. Our lodge was indeed overlooking the stream and in a beautiful location, peaceful and surrounded by trees.

The cabin is a long rectangle with a bed and mosquito net in the middle, a slightly raised area at the entrance and with a table and chairs accessible by means of a sliding glass door at the other end of the room. That door cannot be locked so you'll need to make arrangements with the management if you are concerned about your valuables. We left ours locked in our suitcase and didn't have any trouble.

The room is comfortable and attractive enough (I'll upload some clear photos when I get home) but with the following caveats:

• It is not sealed from the outside so creepy crawlies can and do get in. Expect to find spiders, insects, lizards, beetles etc as well as mosquitos in the room. We saw all of those during our two day stay.

• The toilet is shared and located outside. If you want to use it at night you'll need to navigate your way through clouds of the aforementioned creatures to reach it. In addition, there was no lock on the door so you'll have to hope your neighbours are intelligent enough not to try to come in if the door is closed.

• The shower only offers cold water and, like the toilet, is open to the elements. Expect to find plenty of leaves, ants, bugs etc inside. Oh, and again, a lock on the door was deemed surplus to requirements. Finally due to an inexplicable design flaw, you can actually see right into the shower area from the room. I don't know why they didn't make the walls higher.

• There is NO fan in the cabin. And no AC either. During the day it gets pretty hot and stuffy and though it cools down at night I don't think it would be unreasonable to get a fan, particularly at the prices that are being charged (Ella Jungle Resort was the most expensive place we stayed at in two weeks in Sri Lanka and the only place without at least a fan in the room). You *could* leave the doors open at night to get ventilation but then you'd be inviting all the remaining bugs that hadn't already crawled in through the gap between the wall and roof in the area into the room!)

• Another thing to be aware of is that you might get visits at night from monkeys. Several times we were awoken by large banging and scratching noises coming from the roof directly above us.

I don't have anything against the "back to nature" approach in theory. But it should be reflected in a lower price! I shouldn't be paying *extra* for no fan, open bathroom and toilet, restricted meal times and food options etc.

Now I'd like to talk about service levels and information transfer. As I said before, when we arrived we were given tea and then taken to our room. At no point were we told about ANY activities the resort offers or when they took place. We were not told about eating arrangements either! This was the worst part of our experience because we just felt that we had to work everything out by ourselves and weren't cared for.

All meals must be paid for and they are priced as follows:

Breakfast: 600 rupees (consists of fruit/toast/juice/eggs/tea/coffee but takes ages to arrive and in stages and you might not get all of the above)

Lunch: 475 rupees (fairly simple rice/dhal etc)

Dinner: 1300 rupees (buffet style with plenty of different options, fruit etc).

Water is provided but I think you need to pay for any other types of drinks. If you ask for a bottle of water separately you'll need to pay.

The main problem with food is that it's only available at set times during the day and dinner came at around 8.30pm when it has already been dark for several hours. Not ideal for those with young children who are likely to be falling asleep by then.

I can't review the adventure activities offered because I didn't try any of them (I wasn't aware there were any when I booked, I chose this place because of the location).

My overall impression is that this place caters towards tour groups and if you book by yourself you are left to fend for yourself. If you're young, fit, unafraid of bugs, don't need any mod cons, and enjoy adventure activities you'll probably love this place.

For me, given the poor service and lack of information, coupled with the high prices but basic accommodation means that it wasn't good value for money, despite the undoubtedly beautiful location.

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank njstone9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaminda P, Guest Relations Manager at Ella Jungle Resort, responded to this review, January 7, 2014
If you select a “Jungle Resort” to spend your holiday, first and foremost you should have a clear idea as to what a JUNGLE is….? If this is known clearly and well understood, you should realize that it is most essential for you to come out of your “COMFORT ZONE” and experience the life outside in a rigorous Jungle; Live with Mother Nature. Admire her marvelous creations, the surrounding, the environment, changing climate, numerous Waterfalls, Rivers, Rock pools, Mountains, wide range of beautiful birds including peacocks dancing all over the place and many other creatures and species.
This is how the Nature has created the “Jungle of Ella” which is about 4.Kms off the main road penetrating into a dense Jungle. Therefore Jungles become the ideal home or the hideout for many Animals, Birds, and various other creatures.
The purpose of building a Resort in the center of this Jungle and having it named as the “Ella Jungle Resort” is for the admirers of Nature & Adventure and for devotees of Peace through Silence and Meditation to visit and gain experience during every single moment and enable them to “go wild and let your sprit fly”
Therefore, the Guests coming to a Jungle, should be fully prepared to experience the living, nothing but, with Nature, by sacrificing all other comforts of general life and live in the absolute Wild and spend a true Jungle life by night, with soft music, dancing round the bonfire and enjoy a BBQ a dinner.
In dense Jungle’s no one could expect Electricity, Air conditioners and Fans, hot water showers food to be served on the dot as of the time specified. Because all these theories are not practical as there could be a variation of about 20 to 30 minutes plus..
The road to the Jungle we have engineered is very rugged and stony but extremely safe for our brand new Toyota Hilux [4X4] vehicles to operate which creates the short journey of 3.5 Kms very exciting and adventurous.
Then the winding foot path through the dense Jungle curving around the mountain makes the journey by foot really fascinating. The next is stepping on to the 12 meters long swinging but suspended bridge above the fast flowing river that finally brings you to “Ella Jungle Resort” This Journey is enjoyed to the hilt for all genuine Jungle & Nature lovers.
At the same time this journey is most disliked by the people who arrive at the Resort looking for 5 star comfort….!
Such people who prefer to come into a “Jungle Resort” without undergoing any of these difficulties, should come by Air in a Chopper and land at the center of our Jungle’s huge lawn. Further more, the luxuries that they expect such as A/C rooms, hot water, Electricity etc.., will not be supplied though electricity is available for the simple reason being, we want to maintain the absolute Jungle environment in this Resort which is also used for Music therapy, Silence, Yoga & Meditation during dawn.
With regard to the Spiders, Lizards, Beetles etc.., seen in the room, it is quite natural as they are the absolute owners Jungle territory that we are staying in. We are only a set of visitors to their regime. This is the reason for a large and strong Mosquito net to be provided to each set of beds in Log Cabins though there are no Mosquitos what so ever due to unfavourable climatic conditions for them to exist.
No one can grumble about the price of food as they must clearly understand that we are living 4.Kms. Inside a dense Jungle and all food and other required items have to be hand carried into the Jungle by human beings. This includes the 48 Kgs. Cooking gas cylinders as well. Therefore they need to be compensated well where a cost is involved. Hence, the food at the prices mentioned by the client will be only be available in road side eating houses and boutique hotels.
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509 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
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English first
Lucerne, Switzerland
Level Contributor
2 reviews
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2014

During our stay in S.L. we would Like to stay one night in the meedle of the jungle. We booked though a travelagency. When we arrived - they told us, that we have booked a standard room 20 to 50 meters from the mane road, they wouldent make an upgrade to take us into the jungle. 5 Rooms very poor, just one charming treehouse (for strong nerves, because it's swinging not only the plank bridge) - Room was clean, nicely decorated the bed, veranda right in the middle on the rainforest. No guests - Restaurant new junglehouse beside the road (noisy) - food pore - Chicken like from a europeen take-a-way, just bones. Stuff consisting of young men kind and helpful, so spending a generous tip;-)

Room Tip: only the treehouse!
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 2013traveller2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaminda P, Guest Relations Manager at Ella Jungle Resort, responded to this review, January 18, 2014
You have dircted your comments to the wrong Resort. Because Ella Jungle Resort is located in a vally inside a dense Jungle and no where close to the Main Road. The main road is almost 4 Kms away from this Resort.

Therefore this is an absolute mistake made by the Guest.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2013

We recently spent 2 days here, one of them being Christmas Day and we did really enjoy ourselves. Our Eco lodge was very unique and was set right on the water front which was beautiful. We had no electricity and arrived at night time but fire lanterns were provided which was lovely. We all sat around a big bonfire to eat which was very sociable and great under the stars.
If you are travelling here though please be aware that it is almost impossible to get hold of the staff before. We tried several numbers and just kept getting cut off and I emailed 3 times and never received a reply. It is important to get hold of them as you need to be picked up in a 4 by 4. A taxi will not make it down the tracks.
Another disappointment was Xmas morning- we woke up and walked across the deserted field and asked if we could have some food. The only optionthey gave us was a chicken sandwich or cheese sandwich and we had to wait almost an hour for this to be delivered whilst we sat alone wondering where the festive spirit Was. It turns out everyone else had hiked up to the waterfall even though we had been told the night before this would be done at 2:30pm. That eve we had to wait until 9:30 for food and it was the same BBQ food as the night before. There was no mention Of Xmas at all.
Overall I did enjoy the experience as the surroundings were great and I was in the right company but I would say that the staff need to arrange more activities- we were more than ready to leave after day 2 as we were bored- I feel like we were misled on the website that said they did yoga, meals by the waterfall etc. management is quite slack and staff just see to be sat around not doing much and a small request can take a very long time. With a bit of extra effort this place could be fantastic!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ashleigh G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaminda P, Guest Relations Manager at Ella Jungle Resort, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
We thank you for much treasured comments about the location & the Resorts. It appears that ther had been a miscommunication with regard to the time informed as 2,30pm to walk up to theWarakara Waterfall through the Jungle, where as the others have already gone when you'll came back from your Eco - Lodge.
With regard to the quality of the service provided, being inattentive and the type of food offered, we have interrogated the staff concerned and have taken corrective action to prevent any such repititions.
Therefore you could be rest assured that you will be able have a most memorable holiday during your next visit to Ella Jungle Resort.
Finally, we most regretfully applogize for all the inconvinience caused during your stay.
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 19, 2013

Set in the valley in the middle of the jungle, with a river running through, this place is idyllic. We stayed in log cabin 1A&B, and couldn't praise our cabin highly enough - 2 storey thatched hut with balcony overlooking the river and glass walls looking out into the jungle. You are collected and brought down the winding road and do have to finish the journey by foot, but this wasn't a problem as the hotel staff carried our bags for this final section. Dinner was in open air in a beautiful clearing amongst paddy fields with a log fire in the centre, and was buffet-style. Couldn't comment on the activities as we mostly just relaxed with the views and swam in the river, but there is a zip wire and abseiling, plus guided treks, I believe. Very peaceful and a lovely setting.

Room Tip: Log cabin 1A&B (the higher and lower parts of the same cabin) was amazing - thatched, glass wall...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Catherine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaminda P, Guest Relations Manager at Ella Jungle Resort, responded to this review, December 22, 2013
We highly appreciate your comments. This location in the dense jungle was discovered over 20 years ago and developed despite many hardships. Therefore today it has become an out of the world Jungle Resort which was also selected as the "Best Adventure Resort" by Sri Lanka Tourism for the year 2011.

Hence, we look forward to meet and greet you'll once again during your next trip to Sri Lanka which is commonly known as the "pearl in the Indian Ocean"
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hong kong
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2013

Beautiful surroundings but need to make efforts to renovate the place. Would need to have more activities organized : trekking/hikes with picnic because great location. The river is nice and needs to be used for activities. A lot of things could be developed.
Rooms are very basic and prices are way too high for what you get.
I have to say that food is good and service/staff was friendly.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank audiehk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaminda P, Guest Relations Manager at Ella Jungle Resort, responded to this review, December 22, 2013
We are located 3.1/2 Kms inside a dense jungle and our Log Cabins are built in a most Eco friendly manner to be in par with nature as the clients walking in here are looking forward to be with the nature, gain some spiritual experience by living in a jungle.
We could also arrange many adventure activities such as jungle trekking & Camping, Water Jump, Water Basketball in the River, Cannoning etc.., which are pre - arranged at the time of reservation.

Therefore during your next trip to Sri Lanka please remember to call us well in advance to make your trip a most memorable.
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Castle Hill, Australia
Level Contributor
55 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2013

1)Checked in at a lonely desk by a young boy who could barely speak English - difficult to communicate basics about breakfast- we had to specify a time for it, and there were no options of what to have to eat. But then he asked me if I wanted sri lankan or western food etc..so there were options! Breakfast was not ready on time, and was over an hour late, v v v slow service.

2)Room was in the bush, no lighted paths, very dangerous. We crossed a suspension bridge to room where we found - no twin beds as we had booked, a stilted room with a glass bathroom door (great when you are with friends), no power points to plug stuff in, no aircon, no hot water, tiny in area, and really nothing to do at all if you are just friends lol.... there was no phone to call reception, no wifi, no way to find your way back to the main reception in the dark . was really very very dangerous place to stay! The room had a sloping floor, and rocked in the air when you walked around it which was quite scary. It was swelteringin the room, but no aircon, and unable to open windows as there were no mossie nets or flyscreens. I sms the tour operator, and she called the hotel to have them move us. So about an hour later they woke us up, and moved us back up the dark paths in our pyjamas - back to the main entry and a new room - new room was ugly, and had large gaps in doors, ceilings and bathrooms so that the room was full of mossies, frogs, lizards and the like... Had a good sleep, and the shower pressure and heat was amazing, however the place was really dirty, basic and run down. We were not sure if we should have just stayed in the stilted sauna instead..... it has ALOT of potential to be an amazing place, but it really lacked, and the staff were all unprofessional teenagers - very nice and friendly, but not suited to dealing with adult foreigners.

very disappointing, and tour operator was mortified at our experience and wrote a personal complaint to the hotel as well.

Room Tip: Unsure if there are good rooms! Take a mossie net and the treehouse would be fun! Take a powerboard...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Edward C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaminda P, Guest Relations Manager at Ella Jungle Resort, responded to this review, December 7, 2013
First thing i need apologize difficulty during your stay. Actually location you put your comment is wrong and you stayed at Ella Jungle Inn and managed under same company. Once a again sorry for the inconvienience caused during your stayed at Ella Jungle Inn and we value your comment for improve our service.

Thanks,

Chaminda
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London
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 1, 2013 via mobile

Please be aware this is half an hour drive from ella, once you've completed the additional 30 mins drive 4x4 into the jungle, plus 20 mins walk down a path to the hotel.

We were also kept waiting for 50 mins for the driver of the 4x4 while he had lunch which was unacceptable. No apology given and manger was extremely unhelpful finding it all very funny.

The room quality was high (but shared bathroom outside & cold shower) and the food good but the whole experience was not relaxing, or enjoyable and caused us to leave a day early. This is not for couples or for exploring ella. Suited for a PGL adventure trip or corporate compulsory fun / bonding excursion only. I would not suggest anyone on holiday looking for a relaxing stop over should not stay here or their sister hotel, the jungle inn.

Both hotels where also deserted which says it all really.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Jane S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chaminda P, Guest Relations Manager at Ella Jungle Resort, responded to this review, December 7, 2013
First thing i need apologize difficulty during your stay and we value your comment for improve our service. Thanks Chaminda
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Additional Information about Ella Jungle Resort

Property: Ella Jungle Resort
Address: Karadagolla, Ella 90090, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Uva Province > Ella
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 86 Specialty Lodging in Ella
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Ella Jungle Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Main Resort is spread out over 150 acres of Jungle and caters to those who want to disconnect from our modern-day stressful lifestyle … and connect with Mother Nature. There are 12 Eco Lodges provided – all with riverfront settings.All guests have full access to our many adventure activities including a high rope course, an aerial rope, a monkey rope, waterfall sliding … and much more. ... more   less 
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