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“Dark and stuffy alternative accommodation offered”
Review of De Fonse Place

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De Fonse Place
Ranked #60 of 162 Colombo B&B and Inns
Reviewed 3 March 2013

Unfortunately our booking here was not taken up. Two weeks before flying from RSA we were advised that our room was required by a visiting relative from Oz. We should perhaps not have so readily accepted the offer of a placement with a 'cousin' as it then became impossible to check the room arrangement in the proffered accommodation (no net details). While the house owner was friendly, the set up afforded us little privacy, the room was dark and stuffy and all the cupboard space was full of 'stuff'. Based on our experience elsewhere so far, the breakfast offered was stingy. Rate was $45 including wi-fi.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Leopard-trip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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12 - 18 of 57 reviews

Reviewed 2 March 2013 via mobile

We stayed here as 2 19yr old backpackers for 1 night in March '13. We paid 4500SKR (£22.50)  per night for a double room, non AC. Breakfast  included. Free wifi.

Room - we had room 4 on the first floor. It was of a good size, clean and the beds were comfy. Unfortunately, there was no mosquito net, just odor plugs, and my friend got quite badly bitten. The bathroom sharing situation wasn't great but there was a fab washing machine for people to use. The shower was powerful. 

Food - Breakfast consisted of a Slice of papaya, tea/coffee, eggs and lots of toast. Typical guesthouse breakfast. 

Service - Ianthe is a super host. He found us some mosquito repellant, went out of his way to help us organise taxis to the airport and let us hang around all evening although we weren't staying. 

Location - Colombo 5, a short 100SKR tuktuk will get you anywhere in town. 

A great place to stay even if the prices are a little high for what you get. 

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank LMG921
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2013

Three generations of a singalese family having lived for many years in London runs this little guesthouse. The grand old man built the house himself two generations ago. The house was designed by the now famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. His typical coconut palm tree pillars carry the porch roof, and the lay-out of the house is very nice. But the whole house is a bit worn down and needs a sincere renovation.

Room Tip: Our room was probably the biggest and the best. But the aircon is (over)due for a replacement.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank CMSilfverberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2013

I had booked myself at this place for Jan 8-11, 2013 and was on my own. My husband booked the room due to its good ratings on tripadvisor. Ianthe offered me with proper directions to reach her place. I was offered the room overlooking the roadside which would awaken you in the morning hours due to the traffic noise. And if you get up early there is nobody to attend to you until Ianthe wakes up which is around 8ish. The room lacks basic things like drinking water, coffer or tea maker, shower cap, mirror in the bathroom, blanket on the bed and there was no air conditioner. There was no provision to lock the room on the first day of my stay as well. There was no hot water in the room, but Ianthe had informed us well in advance and had offered the room for $38 to compensate for the lack of hot water. However, on the last day she took me to her cousin sister's home, only to realize later that i was supposed to be put up at the new place for the last night since she needs to do some plumbing work in her room. When I returned on the last day to Ianthe's place to collect my luggage to shift to her cousin's place i found that my baggage was lying in the hall and my specs and footwear were all packed in the same bag. Initially i found my specs missing and I was following Ianthe to my room, to which she stopped me in a inhospitable way and claimed the rooms were dirty. I found it very strange but obliged. I was dropped at her cousins (Dharini's) place which was a very beautiful house and she does not actually offer rooms on rent. The room was charged at normal price but was too good. I wished Ianthe would have put me up there for all the three days. Later I learned that Ianthe had given my room to some other guest. However, I condemn her behavior of taking guests for a ride and shifting them to other places without prior intimation. It also causes trouble since in a new country when you get used to one location you end up shifting to some other location. Tracing things becomes difficult specially when you are travelling on your own. However, Ianthe, Rohan, her dad and children were friendly and chatty, but the place lacked basic services. For those who wish to visit Sri Lanka, explore other options for the room and negotiate on the price. Sri Lankan people (from cab drivers to local people) are very chatty and friendly.

Room Tip: Please ask for the room overlooking the garden and not the room overlooking the roadside.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank Sowmya K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ianthe W, Owner at De Fonse Place, responded to this reviewResponded 25 January 2013

Dear SomaPai,

I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy your stay in our home, particularly as we so enjoyed meeting you and hearing about your work and travel plans.

Ours is a small family run guest house, and as such we do not offer certain amenities that you would find in a hotel; such as shower caps and coffee or tea makers in the room. We are however happy to make tea for guests if they ask, and invite guests to use our kettle to make themselves tea or coffee if the family is not around. And while we do not provide bottled water in the rooms, guests can help themselves from the bottled water dispenser in our kitchen.
Not being a hotel, we unfortunately do not have round the clock staff, - but our maid is on hand from 7.30am, and if guests request an early breakfast we are happy to accommodate that.

I'm very sorry you were disappointed with the room, especially with it's not being air-conditioned. The rate I quoted you was for a fan cooled room, as you had not specified that you wanted an air-conditioned room in your email. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, and wish you had mentioned it to me, as I would have tried to change your room. Also, we usually provide a covering sheet rather than a blanket in our fan cooled rooms, but we are happy to provide blankets on request (as we did for you).

The room you occupied was only recently renovated, and we were experiencing a few hiccups, as I explained. While we tried our best to make your stay comfortable; ensuring you had hot water showers every day, providing a full length mirror in the room, as the one in the attached bathroom had to be replaced, we realised that the service was not up to the standards we regularly give our guests and so arranged for you to move to my cousin's house, in order that the plumber could attend to the hot water situation, and install a new mirror (I think you must have misunderstood about the room being double booked). In terms of moving your bags, I must apologise, I only did this as I did not want your bags to be covered in construction dust.
I know it was an unusual situation, but I thought that you would be more comfortable at my cousin's house (and I'm so glad to hear you were).

Our house is in central Colombo, and while it's situated on a side road, there is occasionally traffic. The room you were in is in fact our only guest room not facing the main road, but I'm sorry to hear you were inconvenienced.

I hope that you enjoyed the rest of your travels, and that your first trip out of India will be the first of many.

Mrs Ianthe Wijewardene.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2012

Staying with Ianthe and Rohan was the best part of my stay in Colombo. I was truly treated as a member of the family.
The owners were warm and hospitable, and did everything to make my stay comfortable and interesting.

I was lucky to be visiting while the owners Father was in town. This was very special, as I had a chance to observe family life and listen to local perspectives on Sri Lanka.
The house is very attractive and well decorated, with a nice interior courtyard. The bedroom is clean, large and comfortable. I slept soundly.

Make sure to meet the sweet Turtles inhabiting the garden!

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled solo
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Thank TillyJosephs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2012

This is a heavenly place to stay. Just look at the photo and imagine coming home, peeping into that large cool room with the garden beyond. Ianthe and Rohan, Ianthe's father and children -- and visiting cousin and niece, while I was there -- somehow manage a space for visitors in the heart of their family life. Everything the other reviewers have said is true. The guest room (and more are very soon to be ready) is large, the bathroom is magnificent and the downstairs and the garden are splendid. This is a very interesting family and the conversation is enlightening. I had a slight travel meltdown -- well, it does happen even to the best of us -- and Ianthe was kindness itself. The dog and the tortoises helped too. For me, this was the best part of Colombo altogether and I shall keep fond memories of that household for a long time to come.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled solo
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Thank Miranda_Escobedo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 November 2012

Much like the other 5 star reviews here, we had a great stay at De Fonse guest house.

From the moment we stepped through the gate, we were treated like a member of the family.

The room was huge, with plenty of storage space, a desk, fan and ceiling fan. The full bathroom with hot water shower was also very large.

The location is about 15 minutes on a TukTuk from the Fort (mostly due to the traffic!), but if you get a metered TukTuk like the family advised us, it is cheap and easy to get around (approx. 150 rupees to the Fort).

The family are great, offering excellent local and regional information willingly, they helped us plan our trip around Sri Lanka with their excellent advice.

The family dog has boundless energy and is super cute, complimenting the lazy nature of the garden tortoise. One of the highlights for us was watching the tortoise eating our leftover papaya skin from breakfast!

Ianthe and her family were great hosts, from offering to introduce us to other travellers for further advice to Rohan giving us a lift on his way to a meeting, showing us the sites along the way.

We cannot recommend this place enough, and will definitely return when we go back to Colombo.

Room Tip: For good quality Sri Lankan food, try the Green Cabin, as recommended by Ianthe
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  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Team V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about De Fonse Place

Address: 29 de Fonseka Place | Havelock Town, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka (Formerly De Fonseka Place Guest House)
Region: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Colombo
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #60 of 162 B&Bs / Inns in Colombo
Price Range: £27 - £41 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in the heart of Colombo, the de Fonseka Place, Guest House offers you comfortable accommodation in beautiful surroundings. With open spaces, and teak finished interiors designed by Sri Lanka’s premier architect, Geoffrey Bawa, the house is airy and tastefully furnished. The open clay tiled patio at the back leads into a well maintained lawn, a lovely area to sit out in. Birds and squirrels frequent the garden and we also have three resident star tortoises. The bed rooms are airy and comfortable. For those who need to keep up with the news of the rest of the world there is free use of wi fi throughout the house and cable TV in the living room. ... more   less 

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