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“Absolutely Fabulous!”

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Gem River Edge - Eco Home and Safari
Certificate of Excellence
Oosterhout, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Absolutely Fabulous!”
Reviewed 23 March 2014 via mobile

We kinda loved everything about this place, the Gem River, the lodge with its beautiful architecture, details and materials, the restaurant, what a place! As always, the people make the place, and at Gem River the warmth and service is just perfect. Carla, Ajith, Uncle, the "house-monk", genuine hospitality!! Even Boon the Dog attributes to your stay here. The food is great (together with Ranga from Talalla beach house, uncle provided us with the best food in Sri Lanka!).

Carla and Ajith have a keen focus on sustainability which is needed in Sri Lanka, they are working on a project on sustainable farming in Kataragama: hope it works out fine!

We went on the full day safari, which was another perfect day, perfectly organised, comfortable, and yes; we saw a leopard!! Yala has an abundant wildlife scene. Go for the temple at dawn for some extraordinary views over the national park.

Thanks Carla & crew at gem River for a perfect stay!

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Obbie75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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191 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
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Austin, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2014

This is indeed, a gem of a place to stay. I felt like I was living in a glamorized version of the Jungle Book, . If you're into staying at humdrum, predictable, i-like-it-because-it's-what-i-know properties then this place may not be for you, BUT if you're into one of a kind experiences and are seeking an unforgettable nature retreat with impeccable service - this is it! We stayed there two nights, ate both dinners there, and went on the safari through the hotel (worth the money! don't even question it!) and were WOWed every step of the way. It was one of the few places I stayed on my month long trip in Sri Lanka that I reeeeally had wished I had more time at. And I don't mean Yala... I mean, at the hotel! I would have loved to cozy up in one of the many little comfy nooks with a cup of tea and a book and just take it all in. .. it's that good.

Thank you to Muna and Carla for the amazing experience, delicious food, and impeccable service. It was the perfect finale to my time in Sri Lanka!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sarah K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stafford, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
269 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 March 2014

It was great to return after two years, and this time to meet Carla as well. This place really grows on you with its eco principals, the buildings are charming especially the eating area where Uncle provides you with vegetarian meals of distinction, using different rices grown on their own land . We were looked after by the attentive staff and took advantage of Carla's map to take a wonderful walk to the local lake to view the flora and fauna of the area. We were also given a preview of the new retreat project on the other side of the river which Muna is currently building.
We are planning to visit again in 2015.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Barbara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto Canada
Level 6 Contributor
283 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2014

The Gem River flows right through the Edge. Hence the name, Gem River Edge. They have a little swimming hole with rapids and somewhat slippery dangerous rocks. This is good though, because crocodiles also inhabit the river, but don't fancy rapids ... at least this is what we have been told. Still, as I bask in the flow I keep my eyes peeled downstream in search of brown logs travelling against the current.

Gem River Edge has been the hi-light of Sri Lanka. The food - all vegetarian - is great. The location is peaceful and relaxing; even their of dog pack is calm and quiet.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jack-Dru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Sussex
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 February 2014

From the host to the room to the food to the buildings and the river everything was just superb. The hosts have taken excellent care to create a stunning paradise and the food was the best I had on the island, subtly flavoured with coconut and spices- mmmmm - all vegetarian here but we could get - less good - veggie curries everywhere. Showers are not heated but they are working on that as not everyone likes a cold shower even in this heat.
The family suite of 2 rooms -for 2 of us would have been cheaper if we had booked direct with them rather than through Booking but it was sooooo comfortable and we had a lovely sleep. Our charming hosts had prepared maps for guests to go to the local bird lake where we saw masses of stalks, peacocks and hens and a monitor lizard on the path and we had it all to ourselves - we could not find the temple with the pouja which was a shame. We took the game drive half day and though we saw a family of elephants with a new infant, jackals, wild boar, deer and some other wildlife that we had seen elsewhere the drive was much shorter than expected - just 2 hours of actual spotting - and the guide could not answer questions in English. Because of the dense bush in Yala its not so easy to see too much but we did see lots its just that we had seen elephants and water buffalo on the open road through Yala which runs at the side of the game park and monkeys at the accommodation.

Room Tip: book direct with the hosts to save money
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Cartimadua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2014 via mobile

A wonderfully peaceful setting, friendly owners and great food made this a superb choice for a one night stay when travelling around with friends visiting from the UK. We all loved it, and recommend it highly.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Mo R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 31 January 2014

We stayed four nights at the lodge and enjoyed the great food (we loved the hoppers for breakfast and the fresh salads), the hospitality of the whole family and the beautiful surrounding. Taking the bikes for a ride to the lakes was very nice and the landscapes at sunset amazing. The Safari was great (the nature there is truly breathtaking) but some more insights and infos given by the guide would have been nice. Anyways, we had a great stay!

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank megamogli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gem River Edge - Eco Home and Safari

Property: Gem River Edge - Eco Home and Safari
Address: Keselkoratuwa - Mailagama | Sella Road - Kataragama - Yala Park, Kataragama 91400, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Uva Province > Kataragama
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Kataragama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are located on the border of Yala Nacional Park. It's an ecological place, built in a natural way for a responsible tourism and safari. Bordering the Gem Menik River where guests can enjoy the clean water and refresh body and mind. We organize responsible safaris in Yala NP, we go from Kataragama entrance which is more quiet and wild and we go far from the crowded and busy jeeps to observe the wild life and vegetation. We offer visits to the ancient temple - Situlpowa in the jungle. We have at one's disposal free bicycles for tours long the lakes and we help the guests to explore the local area. We guide the guests to a visit in the Kataragama multi-religious site and participate in the daily Pooja. We have 4 comfortable rooms (one is a large family suite) with terrace and sitting area all built in a rustic style using renewable and natural material. We serve Sri Lankan cuisine prepared daily and cooked on an open fire with terracotta pots. We share a comfortable and traditional atmosphere where everybody are welcome to join for a relaxing experience in harmony with nature and wildlife for an unforgettable stay and experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gem River Edge - Eco Home And Safari Sri Lanka/Kataragama

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