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“Fantastic location, brilliant staff: our favourite hotel in Sri Lanka”
Review of Cinnamon Wild Yala

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Cinnamon Wild Yala
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Kirinda
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 8, 2013

The Cinnamon Wild Yala experience starts on the journey from nearby Tissa - located on the outskirts of Yala National Park, arrive in early morning or dusk and there's a decent chance of stumbling across and elephant, which is exactly what we did. A little bit terrifying, but we were soon to get used to it...

Arriving is like stumbling across a little bit of paradise. Waterholes, jungle and savanna-esque plains surround Cinnamon, but if it feels a bit out of the way on the approach, it certainly isn't when you're there. A superb design centres around a modest, super-clean pool - there's two bars (one of which is atop the roof and looks out across Yala to the sea), a restaurant and a collection of charming log cabins, one of which you'll be staying in.

Cinnamon blends seamlessly with its surroundings - guests aren't fenced in, which means the animals aren't fenced out. Monkeys will come and go as they please, occasionally taking a sip from the pool (a little odd considering there's a freshwater waterhole right outside), and families of friendly wild boar will roam around after dark, quietly confident that someone will have dropped a bit of their (delicious dinner). If you walk back to your room after dark, expected to be escorted by a be-torched member of staff, otherwise you may be eaten by a leopard.

Rooms consist of log cabins on stilts - and they're absolutely excellent. Large, clean and all the facilities you'd expect from a luxury hotel, when you're essentially staying in a little wooden lodge in the middle of the jungle.

We stayed 2 nights here, but wished we had stayed for a week. Absolutely fantastic and we can't wait to return.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ConsciousCharlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PramukshiKariyawasam, Public Relations at Cinnamon Wild Yala, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2013

We are delighted to see your comments on Trip Advisor and thank you for taking time to write to us. As the hotel is in the buffer zone and is in close proximity to the park, there are no barriers for the wildlife that roams freely within the premises. This is a unique feature of the hotel which most other Hotels do not enjoy. The overall experience you derived at the hotel makes us feel that you would visit us again and we look forward to welcoming you in the near future.

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Reviewed May 8, 2013

My wife and I spent two nights here in early May and loved every aspect of our stay!

Most drivers or companies will have some connection to safaris in the Yala area, and they have various prices. We, however, chose to book through the hotel and were very happy we did. We had a driver, a very nice and well-kept 'luxury' Jeep, a hotel company guide (Sampath), and we picked up a representative from the Park as we went in. I was a wondering why we needed a third person initially, but it was a great choice. The hotel's guide, Sampath, is an expert naturalist and will be working with the hotel and the BBC (along with the rest of the Nature Trails group) for 45 days later this summer on a leopard-filming project, and he and the rest are very committed to conservation. The Park representative was a fantastic spotter and was able to see and locate tons of birds and other animals even while we had the binoculars. Overall, the price premium for using the hotel service seemed to be well worth it. We were so successful in our first safari that we chose to do a nature walk around the property and bird watch ($15 each to go with Sampath) rather than a second safari, and we saw dozens more bird species and the chance to see a sambur on the large dunes from about fifteen feet.

The hotel is isolated, so you will need to eat there; however, both the a la carte options from the bars/lounges (we had duck and salads with dessert) and the buffets (one dinner, two breakfast) were excellent (and very well priced)! The rooftop bar, in particular, was a great place to have a drink and look out over the lake during Happy Hour and the early evening.

The rooms are spacious, the bathroom and showers beautiful with a rain shower with great water pressure, and the staff did a nice leaf and flower design on the sheets during our turn-down. Additionally, all of the amenities (TV, wi-fi, a/c, etc.) were in great working order, and the pool was uncrowded, clean, and well-serviced by the staff (including chasing away the boar and langurs).

Overall, we found it to be a fantastic place and had a fabulous stay!

Travel tip: We took a tuk tuk to the hotel from Tissahamara (1000 lkr). The hotel used to be called the Yala Village hotel as well as Chaaya Wild, if your driver or tuk tuk driver knows it by another name.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jcbnc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PramukshiKariyawasam, Public Relations at Cinnamon Wild Yala, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2013

We thank you for your feedback regarding Cinnamon Wild Yala. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us. The overall experience together with our dedicated naturalists creates the perfect blend and combination for a perfect holiday. We are glad that you were most delighted with the choice you made. We look forward to your next visit.

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Reviewed May 7, 2013

This is a very unique experience for the ones who love to stay admist nature... Although the drive to this place is very long and tiring... but once you reach this resort it is a very relaxing place... the chalet appointed to us was close to the central reception... the hotel is divided into various chalets which are spread over the resort...the central reception area also hosts the restaurant and the pool... the food is very good and international cuisine... local cuisine also available in the buffet... try and get a half board package or all meals package as there is no other option for food except the resort... the staff is very good and courteous.... at night one does have wild animals roaming around the property... so please keep you eyes open at night... hahahah.... not to scare... thats exactly what one goes there for..... the safari to the national park is a must.... ask your van drive to arrange from outside the property.... much cheaper than the hotel.... well appointed rooms and clean.... bathrooms very nice.... eco friendly place....

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Prateek75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PramukshiKariyawasam, Public Relations at Cinnamon Wild Yala, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2013

We thank you for your stay and feed back to trip advisor. We are glad that you enjoyed your stay with us. Our overall service, together with different cuisines and basis of meals ideally suit our customers. We are happy to note that your visit to the national park was worthwhile. We look forward to your next visit.

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Reviewed May 4, 2013

We chose to stay at Chaaya Wild Yala for the first 5 days of a two centre (Sri Lanka/Maldives) holiday arranged by Kuoni rather than stay at one of the "beach" hotels in the brochure, and we were not disappointed.

The drive from Colombo to Yala is a long 7 hours, and the final few miles are on unmetalled road, however in our opinion the journey was well worth it.

We loved the hotel, being next to the sea but at the edge of the jungle and the freely roaming wildlife. The staff are lovely and went out of their way to ensure that our stay was enjoyable. Kenneth the hotel manager makes a point of speaking to all guests to ensure that they are OK and all of the staff enjoy their work - a happy team!

The garden chalet that we stayed in was very nice. The room boys looked after us well and amazed us on our final night by making a picture of an elephant out of twigs and leaves on a pillow case that was placed on our bed at turn down.

The food was good, especially the curries, and the restaurant setting is great on the 1st floor overlooking the hotel grounds and the pool.

The pool is really nice and it is surreal sunbathing beside it with the tank (lake) behind you with wallowing water buffalo, plus wild boar rooting around in the surrounding bushes and of course the monkeys up to their antics too... and then there are the colourful birds flying around - just lovely!

We were surprised at how few guests actually took the opportunity to visit the bar above the restaurant with it's open views of the area and the uninhibited view of the starts in the evening - what a shame - this is a lovely way to end the day.

We did the obligatory safari, however we were not expecting that this would entail chasing around looking for the elusive leopards (we didn't see any), and would have preferred a more leisurely drive around the National Park. We were happy with the natural beauty of the surroundings, the elephants and many species of bird. It's a shame that the leopard is seen as the only prize.

If you have time during your stay, a walk along the beach (turning left as you leave the hotel grounds) to the ruins of the Safari Hotel destroyed in the tsunami is a thought provoking sight - very moving.

Overall an extremely enjoyable stay - we were very sad to leave and will return again one day.

Just a few observations on other reviews I've read about the hotel:
1. Monkeys running on the roof and waking you up - surely one of the main reasons for visiting the hotel is the proximity to the wildlife?
2. Starving wild dogs roaming and pestering - the dogs are friendly but timid and do not bother anyone, they are just there
3. Pool dirty - pool and surrounding area very clean and cleaned constantly throughout the day by the pool boy who is located by the pool all day
4. Requirement for guide to escort guests from chalet to restaurant in the dark - this is for guests' safety due to roaming wildlife and no tip is expected

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank tericat29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PramukshiKariyawasam, Public Relations at Cinnamon Wild Yala, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2013

We thank you for your detailed description and report on your stay at Cinnamon Wild Yala. We are delighted to note your comments in all aspects including the wild life, the park and overall stay. We await and look forward to your next visit to Cinnamon Wild for yet another memorable stay.

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Reviewed 3 weeks ago
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  • Stayed: August 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Francesc B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asfaq M, Front Office Manager at Cinnamon Wild Yala, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

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Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Google Translation

  • Stayed: August 2017, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Jennifer H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asfaq M, Front Office Manager at Cinnamon Wild Yala, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile
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Stayed: August 2017
Thank marlboro78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asfaq M, Front Office Manager at Cinnamon Wild Yala, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

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Additional Information about Cinnamon Wild Yala

Address: Kirinda 82614, Sri Lanka (Formerly Chaaya Wild Yala)
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Kirinda
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Kirinda
Price Range: $73 - $247 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Cinnamon Wild Yala 4*
Number of rooms: 68
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cinnamon Wild after undergoing a brand enhancement is more than a resort; it is an extension of the Yala National park and is intended to be part of the National park. It is designed to represent rustic luxury, resembling a game lodge. Cinnamon Wild Yala exceeds guest expectations with interiors that give the camp look and feel, embedded with large trunk boxes, old vintage furniture, director's chairs and indigenous artwork. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chaaya Wild Yala Hotel Kirinda
Yala Village Kirinda
Yala Village Hotel Kirinda
Cinnamon Wild Yala Sri Lanka/Kirinda

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