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“A Beautiful Holiday in Every Way”
Review of Saman Villas

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Saman Villas
Ranked #1 of 25 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 March 2009

Our seven days at Saman Villas were just perfect. There are only about 27 villas, so you get to know all the staff who are hand picked to work there and cannot do enough for you. They are all so friendly. The food is fantastic and so healthy. We still miss our tropical fruit for breakfast. Everthing was delicious.

The rooms had everything that you could possible want, including very efficient air conditioning. For once there was plenty of lighting to read and for us girls to makeup in the evening. Most hotels seem to fall down on this. Also plenty of hanging space for clothes and more than enough clothes hangers for the 2 of us.

The hotel never seemed too crowded and children under 12 not allowed.

A trip that can be booked from the hotel - 15 minutes away, is to the house and garden, Lunuganga of Sir Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka's most famous architect. We found it very interesting and had the most wonderful Sri Lankan lunch elegantly served on the veranda.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank JimpatcoLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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668 - 674 of 825 reviews

Reviewed 6 March 2009

Saman Villas provided us with a perfect week's rest after a fantastic, but sometimes tiring, tour of Sri Lanka.
The setting of the hotel is idyllic with fantastic views of the beach & sea. The accommodation is both spacious & elegant and is kept spotlessly clean by the Room Boys whose daily flower decorations on the beds were greatly appreciated!
Our welcome on arrival was extremely efficient, friendly & informative and our daily care both at the pool & in the restaurant could not have been better.
All the meals were A la Carte. There was a good choice of menu, the food was well presented and we certainly did not feel the need to eat outside the hotel.
While some reviews have implied that the tarriff is expensive we feel that our seven night stay at Saman Villas was money well spent and provided a perfect end to a most enjoyable three week's holiday in Sri Lanka.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank jamat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2009

We stayed at Saman Villas at the end of November 2008, after a tour of Sri Lanka.

What to say about the hotel, well to start with the rooms. We had a room with our own private pool as a bit of added luxury, many people say that the pools are overlooked by the balcony upstairs which is true enough but then what do people expect to do in their pool that they would not do in a hotel pool with all the other guests looking on - makes you wonder. The added attraction of the rooms with pools is the fact that you also get your own gated, private garden within which you can relax and watch the ocean and the waves arrive.

I liked the rooms, they are well appointed and felt homely, not too corporate. They are split level with an area to sleep, a dressing area, bathroom (of course) and a sitting area for resting and reading or doing what ever takes your fancy. So much better than the standard hotel where your accommodation is simply a bed in a room and nothing more. The bathrooms are nice and have an outside tropical garden, fresh air feel. Everything was perfectly clean and you would have had to work hard to find a scruffy corner or a past its best item of furniture or equipment. Robes and hairdryer were present as was a well stocked minibar and smallish flat screen TV. The pool was cleaned every day and the garden precisely manicured. You could live there and be comfortable with ease.

Now I don’t know much about spas but Saman Villas has what appeared to be a large one with plenty of facilities and the staff seemed to know what they were doing. Simply because (or hopefully because) the hotel was so quiet when we stayed the spa looked unused and lacked the love, warmth and serenity that it should I thought have. It appeared to be on the cusp of going into or out of mothballs. A few flowers and greenery would have helped as well as perhaps a few care free golden fish in the ornamental pools and the odd lily pad too with the compliment of running water. All this would have added to the experience and Zen.

Food and service - both very good. The food in the evening was offered from a menu with a couple of choices to excite. No school dinner style queuing at the buffet. The food was fresh and appealing, it was as close as one would probably get to a la carte, that is without adding a whole lot of weight to your bill. Wine was expensive (but it always is in these places) with a bottle of labelled wine that you will recognise as a fiver back home setting you back a few multiples of this. Breakfast was excellent and the pastry tray inviting but never sadly finishable if you added it to eggs and the other hot morning eating additions that were on offer. We were half board and if we fancied a snack when the sun was high we had something from the bar menu to share which was enough. All very pleasant, especially taken al fresco.

Odd gripes, I would have liked a comfortable bar area to sit for a drink post or pre diner – there was a bar where the service was excellent and very friendly but the space and seating area (for that is all it was) lacked the certain something that made you want to stay for just one more before calling it a day. A little bit of buzz and relaxation always adds to an evening. You felt that the hotel retired at 10pm and so therefore by necessity did the guests. This works for some, but not others I feel. There were a couple of nights of entertainment that the older people would like, it was a bit placid for me, closer to bingo than bongo.

The room boy and others told us it was their last day on several days, principally to usurp a tip from us we felt (a common and tedious trend that follows you around throughout Sri Lanka), I got the feeling that if you wanted to go off piste in your request then for the hotel this may have been a problem.

We were told that the philosophy of the hotel was ‘if the guest wants it then they will ask’. All nice and dandy but sometimes if you see it you will ask or it, if you don’t see it then more often that not you will assume it is not on offer.

Anything more? I would not attempt to swim in the sea here and its not a place for families, also a trip to the local town is a come and come back quickish experience more appropriate to the rough guide backpacker than the privilege gold carders. If travelled by tuk tuk then it is fun. The hotel grounds were small and could be walked in about five minutes, but very well kept up.

So all in all would I recommend it? Yes actually I would, perhaps a little quiet and stuck in its own polished well versed ways but a very nice experience - the hotel worked hard and delivered to a very high standard. Rooms all very well appointed and most comfortable, staff friendly and eager to please, food excellent and a location that must have been the inspiration for the infinity pool.

Not the place for lovers of nightlife – more a place for honeymooners and night lovers.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank planetwalking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2009

This property has to have one of the best locations available. Four of us stayed for 7 nights over New Year. The staff are excellant, especially Silva at the pool who looked after our every need. Service was efficent and good for Sri Lanka. Not the cheapest place to stay but if you choose to stay here then price should be secondary. Compared to other hotels it is expensive, but compared to the Maldives is excellant value for money. The beaches either side of the hotel are fantastic. Beware of the Tut Tut drivers who wait outside the hotel as they are only there to rip you off. Best to use taxis connected to the hotel. I would go back without hesitation. The friendly locals added to the enjoyment. If you can, take the helicopter from Colombo airport which lands on the beach next to the hotel. It saves masses of time.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with friends
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2  Thank IANALEX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2009

We booked Saman Villas over the internet which was also the source of information before our reservation; as we had only 2 and a half days for a short get away we did not set us a budget as our target was to get the maximum out of the time available.

The daily rate including taxes and half board came to USD 820 so our expectations were accordingly, this level of rates in Sri Lanka is certainly on the top side, even Hilton in Colombo does not come close to this.

The property is meanwhile 13 years in operation and this shows, locks are either not replaced (completely missing), shower hose in the bath tub broken, metal parts in the bathroom are not shiny anymore, walls suffer from humidity etc. My impression is that the last refurbishment was maybe around 5 to 6 years back.

No coffee makers in the room, the breakfast is limited to 10 am in the morning, for people who want to sleep longer in the morning not really practical, the breakfast portion is gone and one has to add additional room service to receive coffee or tea.

The hotel has no espresso machine, one who is not used to regular hotel coffee (and who can be this??) has no other choice than drink tea. The half board arrangement provides a daily multiple choice menu; in general is to say that impression of the menu titles promise more than reality on the plate is - on the second day I received the same sauce with the main course, just instead of beef it was duck this evening. The garnish of the main courses are the same regardless of the choice made, the announced carpaccio of beef turned out to be a beef sausage from a Sri Lankan supermarket chain. All the soups were pretty tasteless, certainly good for people as of 80 plus.The portions were adapted by the famous French Chef Paul Bocus, one has difficulties to find the food on the plate.

Generally said, the food in Saman Villas is certainly not a 5 star experience, neither the presentation; USD 64 per person for a dinner of this kind is not really value for money.

Final statement: a good 4 star property, however, not worth spending USD 820 per day!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ThomasSalaFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Himaj, Sales & Marketing Manager at Saman Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 26 January 2009

Based on the review made on 3rd January 2009, our comments are as follows;

1. The daily rate including taxes and half board came to US$ 820 so our expectations were accordingly, this level of rates in Sri Lanka is certainly on the top side, even Hilton in Colombo does not come close to this.

City hotels with 200 to 1000 rooms are completely different to an exclusive boutique hotel with 20 to 30 suites. In this case comparison is more difficult as the room occupied was a suite which had a 22ft. lap pool.

Average room rate for Saman Villas from 1996 to 2008 has always been higher than the average room rate of Hilton. Seasonal variation of rates in city hotels is almost non-existent. In the case of Saman Villas, bed and breakfast rate for a Deluxe Suite with Pool varies from US$ 417 to US$ 763.Colombo Hilton charges US$ 695 for bed & breakfast throughout the year for a Junior Suite without a swimming pool. In January 2009 a Suite with a pool at Amanwella on the beach at Tangalle was US$ 1,070.

Whether it is Sri Lanka, Bali, Java, Malaysia or Thailand, a suite in a Boutique hotel with or without pool is more expensive than a deluxe room or a junior suite in a city hotel. If at all, exceptions are few.

I trust this adequately justifies the room rate charged during the peak season from 22/12/08 to 07/01/09.

2. Locks are either not replaced (completely missing), shower hose in the bath tub broken

The room was inspected by the General Manager on 08th January and the observations made by guests were found to be untrue.

3. Metal parts in the bathroom are not shiny anymore.

We agree that the metal parts were not as good as they should have been. Bathrooms are open air and because the hotel is on a promontory, salt very quickly tarnishes the chromium plating on sanitary fittings. These are re-plated about 2 to 3 year intervals. In future this would be done more frequently. We thank you for this valuable observation.

4. Walls suffer from humidity, etc.

The bathroom has 3 walls under cover and a third wall which is the wall of the courtyard, finished in exposed bricks. Growth of green and brown moss on this wall is in fact not discouraged and is a feature of the interior décor of the bathroom.

5. The breakfast is limited to 10.00am.

We do not specify anywhere in our guest information breakfast times. We only say that breakfast is served in the Terrace Restaurant, which is open from 6.00am. to 10.30pm. In fact, there is no specified time limit for breakfast. Even requests made by guests (rarely) at 12.00 noon have been met.


6. The breakfast portion is gone and one has to add additional room service.

A bed & breakfast or half board client is entitled to any or all of the following items and there is no limit to the number of servings of any item.

Fresh fruit juice / fresh fruit platter / bakeries & preserves / muesli with fruit / yoghurt / cereals with milk / cold meat platter with breakfast salads / cheese platter with crackers / eggs / omelet with filling / waffle with palm treacle / tea / coffee / milk


7. The hotel has no espresso machine.

Espresso is offered in the menu and is made in a “Francino” espresso machine, which is also used by five star city hotels.

8. Comments on food quality.

The Executive Chef does not agree with guest comments. However, we do not want to get involved in any discussion on this matter as verification of some of the observations is not possible.

9. Portions – One has difficulty to find the food on the plate.

We have looked at 29 guest comments in the Trip Advisor and 34 guest comments in the guest book (unsolicited comments during last 6 months) and no guest has complained that the quantity is inadequate.

As far as we know all our guests have 3 meals a day. Dinner portions are based on the above assumption. We serve a 4 course meal at dinner for half board clients and as we have explained earlier no guests have complained about the quantity. However, we do agree that if a guest does not consume lunch, he/she may find the portion inadequate. It is not difficult to understand that a hotel cannot determine portions based on 1 or 2 guests who may not have 3 meals a day.


Sincerely Yours

Sales & Marketing Manager
Saman Villas, Bentota. Sri Lanka

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2008

a lovely end to our holiday. the villa with a pool was wonderful; the view picturesque, food and service excellent. if you are planning a wedding this is the place to have it, we witnessed a beautiful wedding that brought tears to my eyes and invoked memories of my own. the staff make you feel special whilst respecting your privacy. a great place to unwind after a busy tour or to get away from the rat race.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank funkymonkey69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2008

I stayed here for 3 nights in December of 2007, but felt compelled to write a review when I read what the majority had to say, as I had a very different experience.

Firstly, there is absolutely no denying that the location is beautiful. Stunning pool, amazing panoramic views down coast in both directions from its rocky promontory.

The rooms however (and I was in a bog standard room) need some TLC and a bit of refurbishment. It was no way five star. It was more travelodge. Nasty cheap carpet and furniture; tv fixed to wall on metal arm etc. Not what I expect when I am paying five star prices -- this was the most expensive place I stayed out of five hotels I stayed at while in Sri Lanka, and by far the least impressive accommodation. Nice view of the beach and local fishermen from my terrace though.

Worth noting that all the non-pool bog standard accommodation's terraces overlooks the room-with-pool accommodation. So I had no choice but to feel like I was spying on my neighbours, which I'm sure they and I would have preferred not to feel.

My other big complaint is that this hotel gives you the feeling from start to finish that it's all about making money. I was slightly narked before I arrived by the way they handled my booking -- they conveniently lost my initial reservation, which was for more than three nights, and in the unfolding correspondence I had with them about this I started to get a slight suspicion that, in the busy Christmas period, they had decided that as a single traveller I was worth less financially to them than a family/couple, who I suspect they gave my room to. When I arrived there, I experienced something akin to this again. I seemed invisible to staff by the pool and in the restaurant, where for example, I was always kept waiting til absolute last to order -- as a solo female traveller, most other places go out of their way to make you feel looked after. You do get the feeling that most of the staff here don't really like the guests, and that their thin smiles conceal thinly disguised disdain.

Note that the food is grotesquely overpriced and distinctly average -- perfectly edible, but as with the rooms, the most expensive and least appealing fare I came across in my five-hotel tour of Sri Lanka.

Also the grounds are surprisingly small. Beyond the beach, which is empty and endless, there is really nowhere to go/explore on the hotel compound. You start to feel slightly claustrophic. I was very relieved they'd messed up my booking and I was only there fore 3 nights.

Really, I just found the Saman Villas soulless, and oddly devoid of atmosphere. It depends entirely on its location for its charm, but there's an underlying tinny emptiness about the whole enterprise.

  • Stayed: December 2007, travelled solo
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5  Thank Kessap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Saman Villas

Address: Galle Road, Bentota 80500, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Bentota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Bentota
#1 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
#1 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#1 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#2 Family Hotel in Bentota
Price Range: £275 - £652 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Saman Villas 4.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Saman Villas is laid out on a magnificent rocky headland dividing two long, surf-swept golden beaches. Close by is a sleepy fishing village but you would not know it, the only sounds are sea gulls' cries and the surf below. The resort is inspired by ancient Sri Lankan architecture. The restaurants, bars and villa suites are all angled to take full advantage of the sea shore vista either side of the headland. A terraced garden draws the eye to a dramatic infinity-edge pool. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Saman Villas Hotel Bentota
Saman Hotel Aturuwella
Saman Resort Aturuwella

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