We had high expectations of this hotel. Anyone would, seeing the photos. And you can't take away from it the fact that the location is stunning. Set on an archetypal tropical beach, with palm trees and waves pounding and with real working stilt fishermen just down the bay, it is a dream setting.
However, we were upset by the standard of the hotel. Here are the pluses and minuses as we found them:
Plus: we had a spacious room which looked stylish (although wasn't very practical). We had good balcony space with 4 chairs and a table. We did in fact have probably the best room in the hotel, I think.
Very big plus: the chef was amazing. You would pay a lot of money for food like this. He could turn his hand to anything, from 12 dish Sri Lankan curries to perfectly cooked tuna steaks and New Zealand lamb chops all presented like something off Masterchef. We never had a poor meal in all our time there.
Plus: the setting, as described above.
Now for the minuses:
The hotel's ethos appears to be one of personal service. This mantra was repeated several times - we were told that we were to ask and our needs would be met. Unfortunately we did ask and they weren't. In reality this meant: no tea / coffee making facilities in the room, instead you could ring for a cup of tea but it would cost you about £2 each time; no newspapers provided, we asked four times before one appeared; there were several bulbs out in our room when we arrived - some never were replaced, including the one over the shower, meaning showering in the dark.
Although the room looked stylish there was virtually no storage space, the only wardrobe (which wouldn't take a long skirt / dress) was actually in the bathroom and there were no shelves or drawers. There were many many light switches, so many we never got the hang of them, but even so it was far too dark to read (the hotel did provide a standing lamp when we asked - and tea making facilities as well). Our room was serviced in the evening only sporadically - four nights out of seven - it was all a bit hit or miss. There was no information available on the local area, we asked for a map or information on Galle but in the end we were told they didn't have any. If we had wanted to take any trips we would have had to go to the Lighthouse hotel to take them, quite a trip and we had to pay our own fare to get there.
There was an extensive bar menu of cocktails but I tried twice to have a Pina Colada (both times no coconut milk) and then a Cosmopolitan (which eventually arrived but there was no-one available initially who knew how to make it). There had been a storm the week before and the steps down to the beach had been washed away. So it was a big jump down to the beach, not possible for everyone, especially as the wall was covered in sharp wire. But the steps weren't replaced all week we were there. Also there were only two sun umbrellas which were pretty much broken and 9 sun beds (for a potential 16 guests). The latter didn't matter as there were only 2 or 3 rooms occupied while we were there.
Whilst we were there we witnessed several couples arriving and then leaving presumably because they didn't think it was up to standard.
We have travelled with Jetwing 5 times now and this is the poorest experience we have had. We stayed at Blue, their hotel in Negombo, at the start of our holiday. That is not as costly a hotel but it is far better equipped and run. Jetwing, you really need to get a grip on this property. It could be wonderful but you don't seem to have grasped what is needed yet.
The two end rooms upstairs are the biggest and have most balcony space
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
4 January 2012
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I am truly sorry to hear that your recent stay at Jetwing Era Beach was less than satisfactory. I am indeed troubled to hear that so many things went wrong during your visit and allow me to personally assure you that every comment mentioned has been investigated by me personally and corrective action has been taken at every avenue possible.
Since Jetwing Era Beach’s initiation into the Jetwing Family last year, we have been working hard to bring its service standards up to which Jetwing Hotels are renowned for. I am truly sorry we were unsuccessful in that attempt during your stay with us. I thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed description and the fact that you have mentioned the aspects which appealed to you, means a lot to us. I shall give Chef Kumara a pat on the back next time I see him.
We have pondered allowing coffee making facilities in the room but decided against it as we felt that providing freshly brewed coffee to the room was more personal. However, we are now considering reverting back to in room facilities due to guest feedback such as yours. This will be changed in the coming days. Also steps have been taken to ensure that copies of at least two newspapers are kept at the hotel daily.
As I inquired into the matter, it was brought to my attention that many of the maintenance issues you faced, including broken umbrellas, faulty sun-beds, steps to the beach and light bulbs were due to the storm which occurred a week prior, knocking out power for the region for over five days. Jetwing Era Beach had been closed due to this issue up to the day prior to your arrival and many of the repairs were still ongoing at the time. We hope that you can find it in your heart not to hold this against us, along with my personal assurance that these matters were already addressed when I visited the property upon reading your review.
We have also identified a lack of bar knowledge amongst some of our junior barmen and I thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Extensive cocktail training has been scheduled for these individuals commencing from January. In the meantime, a senior barman will be sent daily to Jetwing Era Beach from Jetwing Lighthouse to oversee operations.
It is my humble wish that you will return to Jetwing Era Beach at some point in the coming year to find that we were in fact sincere in our promises of rectifying the mistakes made during your stay and to experience firsthand that all your comments were indeed addressed and improved upon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC