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“Incredible!”

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Galkadawala Forest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Incredible!”
Reviewed May 15, 2013

After 4 weeks in Sri Lanka this place stands head and shoulders above every hotel or guesthouse I have stayed in. The location itself is beautiful just tucked away in the forest which borders farming area and a natural small lake with beautiful water lillies. The first evening we sat looking out onto the lake as many species of birds flew close by with the tiny bats before a huge electrical storm came in looting down then the sky was lit up by thousands of fire flies. It was one of the most beautiful evenings I have ever had the pleasure to experience. Add to this the food which was outstanding (subtle, beautiful flavours from basic but exceptionally high quality ingredients) and invigorating as well as the truly beautiful gentlemen that looked after us it was an experience that I will not soon forget. It may not be for everyone as privacy is minimal but what you loose in privacy you gain by having your space shared with the beautiful environment. We left feeling the kindness of this beautiful country condensed into 3 wonderful days.

Room Tip: Try and book in off season where you will likely have the place to yourselves
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Ngrrk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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151 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
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English first
Noosa, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Without doubt the best food i have had in sri lanka (by a mile). Seriously good and fresh. I am no veggo, but left here feeling revitalised and alot healthier on the inside. The service was great and very personal. The rooms are open, so the fireflies at night were lovely to fall asleep to. It is jungli and a little hard to get to, but an awesome place to breathe for a few days and just, like...dig ya know? Heartily recommend. A great place for couples...i was with a mate and it was nice but not like that. Also a great place from which to base oneself for a bit of elephant stuff and heaps of birdlife and giant squirrels etc etc.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank robertm155
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2013

We (group of 5 friends) reserved the full lodge for 5 nights in July 2012. Our stay was more than we had expected, the place is clean, the staff is wonderful and great cooks. Communication with Maulie (owner) was excellent. The Sri Lankan breakfast (Hoppers, rice and curry) was outstanding and the cooks accommodated one of our friends food preferences. Keep in mind that you'll make some creepy-crawly 'friends' in the evening... ;) I truly recommend a stay at Galkadawala Forest Lodge if you're looking for a different experience. Very comfortable, quaint, cozy & special place!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank ldhoekstra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level 6 Contributor
159 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2013

Maulie has created a treasure here in the jungle. If you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of wherever you live I can't recommend Galkadawala more. It makes rural Sri Lanka and life in the jungle perfectly accessible from a comfortable, eco friendly vantage point.
Note that this experience is not for someone craving a resort or perhaps anyway who is afraid of insects. While we were there we woke up to the calls of peacocks, and monkey's running around. As we lounged we greeted by little frogs who hopped by our feet and different sorts of birds. At night we sat around the area by the roof, read, and watched a storm roll in. It couldn't have been more serene or peaceful. There's also a large lake nearby where one can swim (watch out for crocs) and even observe elephants coming to drink on occasion. You're also charmingly accompanied by the resident doggies on these strolls, which I highly recommend.
Food is delicious, vegetarian and all homemade. The entire lodge is beautiful, the rooms charming, clean and very comfortable. Oh there's also hot water.
Getting there can be a bit tough and the road isn't the best but Maulie is very helpful and directed our driver easily enough. I'd highly recommend you arriving by car for your time at the lodge to avoid hassles with public transport and to just make your trips around the cultural triangle all that much easier. Maulie will look after your driver.
I miss this place and would definitely visit again. This is probably one of the better hotel experiences I've had.
Bring bug spray if you can or pick up some citronella oil(which is what we did) in Colombo.

Room Tip: If you're looking for privacy opt for the rooms on the ground floor.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jebediah_Solomon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utrecht, Netherlands
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2013

We stayed for two nights here and loved it! Especially the whole idea of building a house with recycled materials, basic but still very comfortable. Walls are thin so expect to hear other guests. All food is vegetarian, so maybe not perfect for meat lovers, although my husband didn't seem to mind ;-). Road to the house is in poor state and hopefully this will be fixed in the short future (but maybe it will takes years). When visiting the cultural triangle you can do so from this location, so you might want to stay more than just two nights.

Room Tip: Choose one of the rooms on the first floor.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JJC_NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2013 via mobile

I can't recommend this place enough. We stayed only for 1 night because we were moving on but I will definitely return to this refuge on my next trip. We had previously spent about 70 dollars for a treehouse bungalow near Yala But this was by far better value for money. The staff are professional and attentive and Maulie is a gracious and charismatic host. There are several walks you can do around the lagoon next door and through the wilderness. It is a bit of a hike from Habarana town so i would recommend booking two nights and enjoying it. They also have a Carum board you can play with. Can't wait to return!

  • Stayed February 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sane_Jane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1 review
Reviewed February 1, 2013

We've spend 5 nights in the Galkadawala lodge. It was by far our best stay in 4 weeks Sri Lanka. The lodge is beautiful, with magnificent views from the rooftop terrace (meditation-heaven at sunrise). The rooms are big, with a big comfortable bed. The rooms have no walls but curtains to the outside, which makes that you experience nature around you at its best. Every morning after breakfast, a monkey family walked past, beautiful birds flew around the lodge and squirrels peeked into our bedroom. The owner can arrange all kinds of day-trips. The staff is great: superfriendly, and they cook the nicest curries. So all in all a very high recomendation fot those who like to spend some time in tranquility, surrounded by nature!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank dunja_amsterdam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Galkadawala Forest Lodge

Property: Galkadawala Forest Lodge
Address: Galkadawala | Palugaswewa, Habarana 50150, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > North Central Province > Habarana
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 52 Specialty Lodging in Habarana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The tranquility that surrounds Galkadawala Forest Lodge is an ideal setting to experience Ayurveda Therapy in a traditionally authentic way. Mahinda, the owner of Athreya Ayurveda Spa in Habarana would be present with staff for daily consultation and treatment for resident guests only at Galkadawala Forest Lodge. This is our new venture to have special Ayurveda programmes for 7, 14, and 21 days. ... more   less 
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