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Buckingham Place
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All reviewshis teamthe ownersri lankaattention to detailour honeymooncakeboutique hotelevery aspectseared tunaevery mealmoment you arrivehigh expectationsgarden suitewithout being intrusivefive nightstree housetreated like royalty
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Reviewed 22 February 2014

We spent 5 fabulous nights here. Initially, the hard lines of the design jump out at you but no worries here; the rooms are SO comfortable, the service is so caring and efficient and the garden has grown up so well that the buildings blend in beautifully. The food is superb with excellent presentation. If you turn left on the beach and walk 300m approximately, you can find excellent swimming. But it is the birdlife on the wetlands, just before the hotel, that are outstanding. Walking there and back, we saw 55 varying species while we were there.

Room Tip: Rooms 1 and 3 are FANTASTIC. Near the pool and dining room, with fabulous views over the lagoon. The birdsong is constant and you can hear the sea.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank caroline w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buckinghamplace, Owner at Buckingham Place, responded to this reviewResponded 24 February 2014

While convalescing post-surgery, I can safely say I can think of no better motivation to get well soon than to read a heartfelt review from a former guest – thank you for yours!

Thanks too for choosing Buckingham Place as a sanctuary to stay with friends, it’s rewarding to read that you enjoyed yourselves so much and that you can now praise the hotel and its Team so highly.

Our location as you found, is off the beaten track somewhat. This was the very reason I located the hotel where it is, in the belief there would be enough like minded folk who would enjoy an opportunity to let themselves be entertained by nature. 55 species of birdlife in 5 days is quite exceptional but, not a record I’m sorry to say! Depending on time of year the entire area is a magnet for migratory and indigenous species. Formally a townie so not unsurprisingly, I don’t claim to be an expert on wildlife - far from it. Nevertheless, having spent some 12 years surrounded by exotica I consider myself privileged to have it so close to hand and enjoy very much this relatively new dimension to my life. Interestingly, I’ve found that simply being engulfed by so many I now recognise individual birds or animals and take great delight watching how they adapt to and actually thrive on the hotels existence. I could write all day about this but suffice to say I’m really happy to read you have left the hotel with a little part of what I enjoy most about the place.

Thank you, for your valuable custom and for such ‘gorgeous’ compliments for the hotel and its team.

Please do return soon.

Warmest regards to you all
Nick & the Team

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Reviewed 19 February 2014

We were booked to stay here for 5 nights during our tour of Sri Lanka. We arrived after a busy time in Yala and immediately felt the peace of the place. As the big double gates opened they revealed a lovely garden, beautiful trees and shrubs and a handful of people reclining on well spaced loungers around a pool. BP is in a very rural setting, between the beach and the lagoon and our huge room had picture windows with views over the lagoon. The partially outdoor bathroom was ultra-modern, with a sunken bath and Ayurvedic toiletries. The bedroom was loft minimalist with huge windows and a small outside seating area. If this was just a room, what on earth were the suites like?

As you have probably realised, I could wax lyrical about this place, but really all you want to read about are the really good bits.

The food was delicious and we really appreciated the fact that all prices were shown inclusive of taxes.

The service from all the staff was first class, professional and efficient, yet friendly too.

The air of peacefulness pervading the whole place. The longer we were there, the more we felt it.

The amazing wildlife. I went swimming with the monkeys one day - well not quite, but three female langurs sat watching me respectfully.

Ginger the adorable and funny pony.

We feel so lucky to have stayed at this lovely place. We can't recommend it enough.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank joinedupwhiting
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buckinghamplace, Owner at Buckingham Place, responded to this reviewResponded 24 February 2014

On behalf of the Team, thank you very much for coming to stay and thank you for such a spectacular review!

With almost every review I read I never cease to be amazed by the warmth of support and sheer passion with which they are written – and yours is second to none. I reply to each because I believe it’s the very least I can do to show my own appreciation and that of the Team, for the effort I know it takes to put thoughts and feelings into words.

I too feel there’s something about the place although what it is I am yet to define. I’m just elated that so many guests feel it and, obviously hope that whatever it is it doesn’t disappear! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed your stay from the moment you arrived and that the gardens were on form and the wildlife (and Ginger) on best behaviour. As for your question ‘if this was just a room, what on earth were the suites like?’ I’ll share a secret – they are not hugely different. In fact upon first inspection the Tourist Board wanted to classify all accommodation as suites. My objection and decision to offer a differential was based largely out of worry that if we offered only suites some might be put off from booking them, perhaps fearing unnecessary expense or opulence. There are of course subtle differences but, I was more than happy to live in one of the bedrooms for a nearly year and wanted for nothing more.

Thank you for being really kind to the entire team, especially the hard working kitchen crew. It’s especially pleasing to read appreciation for back of house staff, and I know just how hot the kitchen gets at times. They read all the reviews or, rather one does and then translates for the others - your words will reward all of them I’m sure. Thanks too for reassuring feedback on inclusive prices. For some reason many hotels still hide their extras in the small print, though goodness knows why when sooner or later they’ll appear on the bill?

Overwhelmingly your review says to me and fellow travelers that you enjoyed a welcome and relaxing break in a sanctuary that suited you perfectly, I only wish I’d been there to meet you. I hope you will return one day and that I’m there for the happy occasion, in the meantime I return the warmth of Buckingham Place and its Team along with that of Paradise – just in case you’ve returned home to winter and grey skies!!

Thank you for your valued custom please do return.

Warmest regards from us all
Nick & the Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2014

You're first hit by the "tropical modernism" design of the buildings scattered across this small exclusive resort (though I found it lacked the sole and intrigue of Bawa's originals), then you're amazed at the spaciousness of the resort and the rooms/suites (they're huge, especially the bathrooms), and finally you submit to the relaxation that comes from being in a delightful place, well off the beaten track in a remote area of rural Sri Lanka, with views over a large lagoon from all the bedrooms and just 75m from a sweeping deserted ocean beach. As with most of Sri Lanka you can't safely swim in the sea because of strong rips, but at nightfall this is Sri Lanka's No. 1 turtle nesting beach (see my seperate review about this).
Resort food was mixed, but overall good: Breakfast is terrific, lunch has a good selection of light bites, but dinner has a more restricted choice, and was, in my view, over priced for what you got.
Staff are friendly and generally efficient, and they will do a lot for you without asking you to pay extra. We were given green coconuts to drink each day without charge, even though they had to specially get them in for us, as orange coconuts are more commonly drunk on the island. You can use a canoe for free on the lagoon (but you pay a tuk tuk driver 500 rupees to transport it and you down to the water, set it up and bring you back).
There is interesting wildlife all around you: beautiful birds, non-threatening monitor lizards, cheeky monkeys, civets,and a very friendly feral pony which has the run of the grounds.
20mins by Tuk Tuk (£4) from the town and beach resort of Tangalle, 30 mins by taxi from Dickwella waterdrome and 1.5 hours from Yala NP, this is a great spot to base yourself for a tour of the South.

Room Tip: Some rooms don't have TV and others can have TV removed if you don't want it. But I'm a news addict, so tell them in advance if you want to keep in touch with the world or not.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buckinghamplace, Owner at Buckingham Place, responded to this reviewResponded 24 February 2014

Thank you very much for coming to stay and for submitting an objective and supportive review.

I’m delighted you enjoyed a relaxing and pleasant stay and that you recommend Buckingham Place so highly – thank you for doing so.

Regrettably, as you may know I’m unavoidably absent from the hotel at present. I’m sure we’d have had stimulating discussions about my architects’ brief, the final design and a lengthy and somewhat painful build process! Easy for trained eyes to notice, I believe it only fair to admit I loomed large in my architects’ nightmares. Happily, at least for me I did get my own meddling way - in the end! For your interest the original brief included; build a contemporary, user friendly sanctuary with local knowledge and skills that within its lifetime would be un-dateable; ‘a fairly bold statement’ avoiding what many were copying or renovating at that time – albeit the genius of Bawa. But I did set out to be different, sought to avoid pretention and specific architectural styles; I wanted to work well with the climate and scenery, blend into the hillside but, not apologise to the hotels location – just take advantage of it. This is my first build project and I say with modesty that I’m proud of my input and happy with the collaborative result. I don’t place it on a pedestal as a masterpiece but, do say it makes many visitors smile broadly. A second phase of the project will I hope be complete before I retire!

You raise a couple of points with regards restaurant menus and pricing to which I reply, I take note of your comments, apologise for any disappointment and respect your point of view unreservedly. There are many contributory factors I must consider in terms of both issues. These are too numerous and complicated to discuss here but without wishing to appear dismissive, we regularly survey guests, competitor prices, exchange rates and above all, we do keep a close look out for signs of dissatisfaction such as empty plates or uninspired faces. Unlike any restaurant I know we have a proactive culture of inviting feedback to help us which generally I’m pleased to say is excellent with rare exceptions. I believe our willingness to replace a meal ‘without challenge or charge’ is almost unique and our way of offering wide and eclectic choice over 5 days and all day long, works fairly well. I think our brief to guests however, that they can share off-menu ideas with us doesn’t always come across loud and clear. If this is the case I apologise and will refocus the Team. As you might imagine, keeping everyone happy all of the time irrespective of their benchmarks, reasons for travel, nationality, age, level of expectation, interests, likes and dislikes, time of day and depth of pockets - and do so in the middle of nowhere, is my perennial headache! I really wish we could have satisfied you more – I know the Team would have preferred to. I can only hope one day you’ll return and find yourself more than pleasantly surprised.

Swimming. Thank you for giving timely advice to fellow travellers about sea conditions which as you say are not unique to this part of the island. We caution all clients through our website, printed materials, industry partners, verbally and prominently on our main gates. We all take the view that we’d rather lose business than guests!

Tuk Tuks. Local drivers prefer self-employment and to charge directly. Also, not all guests avail themselves of this service so we don't include it in our rates. However, Buckingham Place now provides sufficient work for several responsible drivers to earn decent monthly incomes which, improve further by them roaming and earning elsewhere. We simply oversee and streamline charges, keeping them modest but fair, though admittedly I’d personally find difficulty waking at dawn to transport a canoe for just 500 rupees!

Finally, my reply to your review has given me a welcome opportunity to communicate to a wider audience. Nonetheless it is you whom I thank for coming to stay and for the constructive criticism. I’m genuinely pleased you enjoyed your stay and underline my wish for you to return – you’ll always find a warm welcome at Buckingham Place each time as though it were the first.

Thank you.

Warmest regards,
Nick & the Team

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Reviewed 15 February 2014

We stayed for 5 nights after a wildlife tour of southern Sri Lanka. We would endorse all the praise heaped on Buckingham Place by other reviewers - it's simply perfect. I'm sorry we did not ask to meet the chef who produces truly memorable meals. The staff are the best we have encountered anywhere and their training is a credit to Nick Buckingham. We do not normally return to holiday hotels - there are too many places in the world to visit - so the highest compliment we can pay to any establishment is that we fully intend to return & for longer next time.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank cecil98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buckinghamplace, Owner at Buckingham Place, responded to this reviewResponded 17 February 2014

Thank you for your very special review. Upon reading it I called the hotel to alert and congratulate the Team, and to tell them that in my view your feedback is as good as it gets. When I asked how they thought we could sustain satisfaction to this degree I was answered simply, “don’t worry, we’ll just keep doing what we do boss!”

With every guest our aim is to provide genuine hospitality, sufficient to make them want to return. So, to read your concluding sentence fills me with pride plus a certain reassurance that we’re succeeding, or at the very least that we’re on course to. Thank you, your kind words really are as good as it gets for us!

As you may know, I’m unable to visit the hotel at the moment, my doctor won’t allow me to just yet. Nonetheless, in my absence you’ve included a compliment for me too for which I thank you sincerely. I can’t take all the credit obviously, even when I am there it’s really a Team that does all the hard work, I just do my own thing in the background, acting I suppose as Team quality controller cum mentor cum worrier!

Thank you very much for coming to stay, thanks too for your valued custom and such a heartfelt, supportive review. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed yourselves and say finally, that should you indeed return to Sri Lanka please do return to Buckingham Place, I can say with safety that all of us will be delighted to make you welcome again.

Please come again.

Warmest regards and thanks,
Nick & the Team

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Reviewed 10 February 2014

I was a bit cautious about this place, not because I had any doubts over it's presentation and location (the reviews have all been so wonderful), but because I was travelling alone and I had some slight feelings of trepidation that it might be really a bit of a honeymooner/'retirees on tour' kind of place and I wondered if it really would be what I was looking for. As soon as I arrived all these (admittedly minor) concerns could be swept to one side. The staff were all unfailingly helpful and charming and made me feel entirely comfortable. They managed to strike up that perfect balance of being attentive and personalised, whilst also not intrusive. They helped me to arrange the transport and trips that I wanted with total efficiency and grace. I had a wonderful stay. As other reviewers have pointed out, the rooms are huge, clean, stylish. The pool is a little small for serious swimming, but again faultlessly clean and beautifully located. The food was fabulous. It was all freshly prepared and there was enough variety. I would definitely recommend this place for all sorts of people (and not just honeymooners-- although it is clearly a great spot for them too!). I had a relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable time.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
2  Thank chinagirlrocco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buckinghamplace, Owner at Buckingham Place, responded to this reviewResponded 15 February 2014

I am so pleased to read a great review from a solo traveller. Thank you for throwing caution to the wind by choosing Buckingham Place and thank you for setting the record straight. I fully understand your trepidation to stay in a hotel which might appear to cater to a one dimensional clientele; I’m exactly the same when choosing where to stay, preferring a small, diverse crowd, somewhere a bit different from mainstream, and where I’d have a chance to meet travellers of all ages, nationalities and from all walks of life. Since opening the hotel I’ve done whatever I can to avoid or focus on specific ‘market sectors’. In one review alone you’ve said this as eloquently as I would have liked to say it myself, thank you very much for your help!

Whilst away from the hotel, I’ve been highly delighted to read and hear so much praise for the Team that does all the hard work. I never cease to be amazed at how adaptable each individual is with our guests and, how naturally hospital they are regardless of diversity and, especially knowing what limited opportunity they have to travel themselves. Keeping every guest happy all of the time is like balancing on a tightrope without a pole at times but they achieve it day in day out! So, I really appreciate your kind generosity towards the Team and thank you on everybody’s behalf for it.

In future, when you’re in need of a place to relax, enjoy a few nice meals and be looked after like at home, I hope you’ll remember Buckingham Place – you’ll always be made welcome but I guess this you now know.

Thank you, please do return, your kindness and good custom are appreciated at this hotel.

Warmest regards,
Nick & the Team

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