Again beautiful and comfortable stay. Good vegetarian food. Super treatments and very nice service and people. Clean place and ayuerveda at its best. Visit the temple and turtle farm. Very relaxing and quiet place. Go for it
- Free Wifi
- Free Parking
To be precise: I cannot wait to go back in February.
If you need to relax and be spoilt, this is the place.
The bungalows are great, the food, the treatments, the staff.
The beach is beautiful to make long walks. And when we were there in February, we could swim everyday.
There is a small clean pool you could use if you do not want to go into the salty water, Ayurveda medicine doesn't advise that.
For the rest I have been feeling a lot better after my stay of 2 weeks!
Classy place - good location & value for money The treatments and Therapists are fantasticIf you are looking for an Ayurvedic paradise who is offering you medical competence, gastronomic specialities and amicable staff...then look not further and book your vacation in Sri Budhasa.
Reservation Process: I booked the hotel online. Note that they have 2 websites. I emailed the first one, but never got a response. It was only after I contacted the person on the 2nd website (http://www.ayurvedahotelparadiseisland.com/) that I got a response within 24 hours.
Hotel: The hotel is located about a 3.5-hour drive south of Colombo airport right between Bentota river and Bentota beach, a rather idyllic venue. The hotel itself is very basic, but most Ayurveda retreats are. Keep in mind that the hotel is very small, I believe only ~ 25 bungalows/rooms. So it’s quiet, relaxing and intimate.
Rooms: All rooms are in small bungalows. The rooms are functional and clean. The bathroom is en suite with a shower, but no bath tub. There’s air conditioning and a fan in the room. Though Ayurveda discourages the use of air conditioning. No TV or radio, so you’d better bring some books or your laptop with you. The bungalows are only a 10-second walk away from the beach, and most of the bungalows have beach view. I’d compare the quality of the rooms to a 2- or 3-star hotel in Europe, but given that I was here for the Ayurveda and not for the hotel rooms, they were fine for me.
Beach: The beach is fantastic in that you can walk for hours and only run into a handful of other tourists. That’s one of the big benefits of Sri Lanka being an undiscovered gem that only finished its civil war about 2 years ago. However, I was there in August when the waters are not calm. Hence, swimming is somewhat dangerous due to the strong currents. So you cannot go in too far and have to assure you can still walk / touch the ground with your feet. There are no lifeguards on the beach. Otherwise, the beach itself is wide and clean with nice waters.
Guests: While I was here, there were only ~ 15 other guests. All other guests were German.
Service: The personnel and hotel manager were most eager to please. Excellent, proactive, professional and friendly service.
Restaurant: The restaurant serves buffet-style food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only fish and vegetables were allowed. Healthy and generally quite tasty Sri Lankan-style curries. The hotel manager also suggested that guests can order something else if they don’t like the buffet. I was fine with the buffet, but appreciated the option to order something else.
Ayurveda: This was my first stay at a resort dedicated to Ayurveda, so I don’t have much to which I can compare the Ayurvedic treatments. After an initial consultation with the resident doctor, I was prescribed a regiment of special potions and herbs along with 6 treatments (~3 hours) every day. The treatments included Acupuncture, various massages, Yoga and meditation classes. Each treatment lasts for about 20 minutes, which I think is a bit short, but it might be standard for Ayurveda – not sure.
Overall, all of them were solid, though I wasn’t a big fan of the Yoga. The Yoga instructor had a rather basic understanding of Yoga. I didn’t get a sense that the doctors really got in depth into my health issues as all guests got mostly the same treatments and the same food. I heard that at some other hotels, your food and treatments are more personalized to address your specific health problems. So I think that this place is great for detoxification, relaxing and an introduction to Ayurveda. But it’s probably not suitable for people who are looking to address specific health concerns. Nonetheless, I did feel relaxed, less stressful and generally healthier after my stay. I also lost ~ 3 pounds, which was not my primary objective but it was a nice side benefit.
Treatment Facilities: All treatments are in a separate building. I think all of the treatment facilities and equipment need to be renovated. They are rather basic, and some of the facilities really need go be renovated, e.g. the massage beds were worn out and somewhat uncomfortable to lie on. The bath rooms with the bath tubs for the various herbal baths were old and not really that welcoming. Overall, this was the weakest part of the hotel. Not that horrible, but the hotel owner should really invest in much nicer treatment rooms.
Other: The hotel and also some of the ‘beachboys’ can arrange trips, e.g. trips to Kandy, Hikkaduwa, Galle or Colombo, and also boat trips. For a full-day trip, expect to pay something like $60. For a trip to the next city for some quick shopping, I would pay ~ $2 to $5 for a tuk tuk to drive me around for an hour. Note that Sri Lanka does not have highways (yet), so it takes a very long time to get from place-to-place, i.e. the maximum driving speed is ~ 30 km / per hour. So if you want to visit other parts of the island, you should ideally plan to do an overnight stay.
Price: I paid ~ $1,800 for a 14-night stay in August 2011. That price is all inclusive, i.e. it includes the hotel room, all Ayurveda treatments, all meals, and transportation from and back to the airport in Colombo. I thought the price was quite reasonable considering it included everything. Though they charged me 3.5% extra for using my credit card for payment. If you want to save a little bit of extra money, arrange the airport transfer independently. It should cost something like $40 each way (the hotel charged me $80 each way).
I checked out some other places like the Austrian Beach Hotel, Paragon Ayurveda, Adia Hotel, Lanka Villas and Siddalepha, but I picked Paradise Island, because it’s relatively close to the airport (2 hours), inexpensive, has bungalow-style rooms right on the beach, a great beach, and got overall solid reviews from other travelers.
In short, I definitely recommend this place. It’s great value for money and a solid introduction to Ayurveda. If you want something a bit more hard core and personalized, you may want to research some of the other Ayurveda hotels like Siddalepha or Lanka Villas. I don’t know if they are better, but they sound more hard core.
If you are looking for an Ayurvedic paradise who is offering you medical competence, gastronomic specialities and amicable staff...then look not further and book your vacation in Sri Budhasa.