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“A little too 'natural'”
Review of Kalu's Hideaway

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Kalu's Hideaway
Certificate of Excellence
Stockholm
Level Contributor
37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A little too 'natural'”
Reviewed June 9, 2012

Wonderful staff and a lovely looking resort with a beautiful swimming pool.
The dinner was the best we had in Sri Lanka.
There was a cockroach in our bathroom and 3 Geckos in the bedroom which was a little off-putting.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank willos23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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552 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (106)
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 4, 2012

Perhaps I should start this review by saying that the other places we stayed in on our recent trip to Sri Lanka were fantastic and therefore my view and rating need to be taken with this comparison in mind. Nevertheless, Kalu's Hideaway can't use the excuse that it was the cheapest as it wasn't so there are definitely much nicer, better value options out there.
It wasn't an issue with the location (although Ude Walawe was a distant 2nd to the fabulous and much less touristy Wilpattu National Park) or the accomodation itself (although I do get the sense it is trying too hard), but just poor service (not what you come to expect in Sri Lanka generally).
There was a distinct lack of staff - 2 people were responsible for everything it seemed to us, which unfortunatley meant a lot of things were just poor (cold dinner, no service for drinks, tables not cleared and just left with food for hours). I want to say that the 2 people who did help were very nice and tried hard they just need A LOT more support to ensure Kalu's Hideaway remains on par with the other accomodation in this price bracket.
Final point, the price for the pool/snooker table needs to be reduced. It is cheaper to play in a bar in central London which is crazy! To be honest, it seems a bit mean spirited that one needs to pay at all given no one used it once while we stayed there.
This may well be one of the better options to stay in the area if you want to safari here, but it was the least nice (probably better expression than worst) of the places we stayed on our trip and if I was going again, to be honest, I would probably miss Ude Walawe out.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank LinThom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Muscat, Oman
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2012

After a more basic hotel in Ella, arriving in Kalu's place felt like heaven. All staff were helpfull and indeed made a clear effort to speak English. We took the upper chalet room and this was a real pleasure for a family with 2 kids. The view from the spacious balcony is very tranquil; they made a magnificent garden with rice paddy, mango trees and even a kids tree house. The only minus is the slow service and the quality of their set menu. Their menu with more local dishes seems a better choice. With the combination of an eas safari this made a special slightly pricey stop, in the heart of the country.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jacqueline798
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
Level Contributor
57 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2012 via mobile

This is a lovely hotel with first class facilities. The pool and bar area are absolutely gorgeous and a perfect way to relax after a day of safari in the nearby Udawale park.

The restaurant area is lovely and the breakfast very good. We were even given a breakfast pack when we left at 5.30am for our safari.

The first nights food was an excellent traditional rice and curry ordered from the menu. However on the second night there was buffet only which was very average.

The staff are lovely and really make an effort several knowing my name even though we were only there a short period. The owner Kalu also makes an effort to meet the guests. As we were in Sri Lanka to watch the cricket we had a long chat about the upcoming test match.

The only thing that slightly holds back the hotel is the rooms. There is nothing wrong with them but in comparison to the rest of the hotel are very average and more budget and look in need of decoration.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jubbsi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2012

Overall, I would have to say that this place is pretty magical - a gem of a boutique hotel if you will. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful on arrival. They were all very proud of their hotel and of the owner - Mr Kalu who is a former Sri Lankan cricket player. There is a small collection of his memorabilia on display in the hotel. The room was a very good size with comfortable beds and mosquito nets. Part of the charm of this hotel is the fact that it is so small and quiet and extremely peaceful and relaxing. After completing a succesful safari nearby, it was great to be able to swim in the infinity pool and then enjoy a drink and dinner outside while listening to the peace of the countryside. As the title suggests, the only thing that stops this hotel from being rated as excellent is that the shower in the room was merely more than a drip and we struggled to find the right temperature. Also, as you are literally in the middle of nowhere, there is no other option but to eat in the hotel. The meal was a little disappointing as it was a set menu with a choice of chicken, beef, pork vegetables or fish and the beef was very overcooked, although my friends enjoyed their chicken and pork. Overall, a very succesful stay.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Chris M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
40 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed April 6, 2012

i found this place by chance on trip advisor and it was a gem, staff friendly my son loved them all, food fine, rooms comfortable, bathroom fully working. The gardens and pool were welcome and the elephant safari brilliant. would certainly recommend a stop if you can fit it in, especially with children. As a good safari but not too arduous and lovely to come back to breakfast and a swim. Would have liked to stay for a few days.

Room Tip: only 7 rooms at present we found the standard room perfectly adequate and spacious with one child.
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank sue454
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stevenage
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 29, 2012

This is a gem of a place!
Staff are really friendly, they are always happy and working hard.
The place is small, only 7 rooms, but that's what makes it special. The rooms are large with big showers and comfortable beds. It has a really nice infinity pool, just what you need in the heat. I don't think many places around this area have a pool. The place is very picturesque and surrounded by plenty of trees and wildlife.
Food was really nice, they didn't seem to have a menu, just asked you what you would like a few hours before so they could prepare it.
Kalu was there when we stayed, he is a really nice guy (with a firm handshake!) and more than happy to talk about the place and his plans. We had dinner with him one night, really interesting hearing about his cricketing career and his passion for the place and resolving Human Elephant conflicts in the country.
A colleague and I were working with the Elephant Transit home (just around the corner and very worth a visit) and we wished we could have stayed at this Kalu's for longer, it was certainly the best place we stayed on our business trip!

A few comments on other older reviews...
They do now have a license to serve alcohol.
The towels were lovely and big.
Most staff speak English or are more than happy to learn with your help ;)
The place is dimly lit because that is the tranquil atmosphere, plus no one wants bright lights everywhere that attracts all the bugs!
I didn't find any bugs in my room, you have a mosquito net, plus they put a plug-in mosquito repellant in the room. You are staying in the forest, so you have to expect a few bugs, thats part of the experience and nature!!

If your thinking of visiting this area of Sri Lanka (the safari in Uda Walawe National is brilliant and the Elephant Transit home is a must!), I would defiantly stay here!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank j3ffb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kalu's Hideaway

Property: Kalu's Hideaway
Address: Walawegama | Udawalawe, Uda Walawe National Park 00300, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Uda Walawe National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 22 B&Bs / Inns in Uda Walawe National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Kalu's Hideaway 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With 14 Fourteen Spacious rooms including 5 Superior rooms,6 Deluxe, 2 Chalets & 1 Suite, the hotel caters to the most unique clients. It provides the butler service with personalized dining menu of your choice. The Hotel is located just 5 Minutes next to Udawalawe National Park & Udawalawe Lake. From Colombo 187 km to the Hotel and around 04 hours drive from Colombo. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kalu`s Hideaway Hotel Uda Walawe National Park
Kalu's Hideaway Sri Lanka/Uda Walawe National Park

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