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Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
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Reviews (2,580)
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Reviewed 14 August 2009

We spent 3 days at this hotel and it did not meet our expectations for a '5 star' hotel. It certainly wasn't 5 star by any standards. Additionally, Taj seems to go out of the way to rip people off with exorbitantly high prices that provide little value for money. While the room rates were somewhat reasonable everyting else was a complete rip-off. For example, the dinner buffet was the equivalent of $22 per head, but wasn't worth the price at all. You could get a lot more for your money for a $22 buffet either in the US or the UK. We didn't need to travel to Sri Lanka for this kind of mediocre food at such an exorbitant price. There are other hotels in the nearby area where you get much better food for about half that price. Drinks and sodas were marked up considerably. Having said that the staff was relatively friendly, but seemed badly over worked (the hotel was filled to capacity during our stay). One positive, and a good value for money, is the spa - which has well trained and friedly staff. But overall a very disappointing experience. You could get much better overall value at any of the Sri Lankan chains or other local boutique hotels. This Taj gives a bad name for Sri lankan hospitality, which overall is far superior at other hotels.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank senans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2009

We spent 2 weeks at this hotel and it was superb. We have 2 children agend 7 and 9 and they loved every minute of it.

The staff were extremely helpful and friendly. The hotel was spotless. There are 2 pools (not 3 as I saw advertised) - 1 baby pool and a bigger one that varies in depth. The beach is very accessible and the water was warm. The hotels has pineapple and coconun palms and the view over the Indian Ocean is superb, especially when the sun sets. No issues with sun longers - the staff were very helpful in affering cushions and an ample supply of towels. The only downside were the 2 pratts who tried to sell you the water sports activities but they are not employed by the hotel.

The food was simply astounding - fresh waffles and Dosa for breakfast and lots of lots of exotic fruits as well as all the normal western stuff. The lunches and evening meals were simply brillant. There is also a sea food place inside and another more romatic one outside overlooking the Indian Ocean. We also went the the in house chinese restaurant which has great reviews but we found very mediocre (we are spoilt with great chinese restaurants in Nottingham).

Our room was excellent but we did pay a lot for it as it was the biggest room in the hotel. The service was perfect all round. We had great views over the Ocean.

The hotel is beginning to look a little tired though but nothing major to worry about 0 just little things like a few loose tiles around the pool and minor things in our room.

The village was a tuk tuk ride away (£1.50 there and back) and is great. Lots of things to do - we went to Pinnawala Elephant sanctury which was a long trip but well worth it. Buddhist templesare close by and so is Galle a Dutch fort. If you book a Tuk Tuk - ask for Alwis as he is very honest and helpful and his prices are half everyone elses.

The locals are simply beautiful - something to do with Buddhism no doubt. We did not get any hassle - especially important when with young children. Of course there was hte occasion beggar but a polite no and they went away.

The driving is horrendous so be prepared for this.

Lots of Tsnumi damaged houses to see which is interesting but sad.

We did lots of watersports (Jetski and waterskiing and a 3.5 hr boat trip to see "crocodiles". There are no crocodiles, only baby ones which are still nice to see.

The waether was perfect and the serivce was excellent. The pool was not too crammed.

Pool and table tennis is available. Rooms are all air conditioned.

The hotel has mongoose and chipmunks running around.

The Jiva spa was expensive and a waste of time but I'm not into that kind of thing. I had a Ayurevdic massage and there is something not quite right about a bloke rubbing oil into another bloke.

It was expensive and we did not need to have the room that we did but relative to Europe, it was still excellent value for money.

Security is good and the hotel is patrolled 24hrs a day at all accesses including all beach accesses. Took my father in law who looked Sri Lankan and they tried to kck him out until they realised he was a resident!

You do though end up being very spoilt.

We had cause to complain only once about something minor but the staff do not know how to handle complaints and they just say yes to please.

A beautiful Island, a beautiful race, fantastic scenery and views and a delightful holiday all round and perfect for the kids.

Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
2  Thank NottinghamGent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2009

Stayed at this beautiful hotel with my partner, who is a local Sri Lankan. He was told at the door that he could not enter - they assumed he was my driver or tout, etc. It took ten embarrassing minutes of explaining at the door (and intervention by a more senior manager) that we were staying together in the hotel before they would let him in the front door. They repeatedly asked him in Sinhala "You are Sri Lankan, aren't you...?" If the hotel was built for white people only, they should at least post a sign outside. The manager provided a quick, half-hearted apology. However, the staff only served me a welcome drink at reception during this apology. I had to ask for one for him. We remained calm and polite, but we felt devastated and embarrassed. We would have stayed at another location had we not already pre-paid (non-refundable) for the room. The staff here mean well, but have obviously not been trained well. The rooms & room service were just wonderful. No other problems experienced, other than the race issue at the front door.I complained to the hotel officially in writing, though I received no response.

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

The extra cost was certainlly worth it, probably the nicest hotel I have ever experienced

  • Stayed: September 2006, travelled with friends
    • Cleanliness
Thank EdY2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2009

upon arrival in Sri Lanka we were shocked by the streets full of rubish, which we had plently of time to incounter as it was a 3hr drive from the airport to the Hotel. Once in the hotels reception we thought things looked good, untill we were shown to our "DELUX SUPERIOR ROOM" I can tell you it was not a delux superior room by any strech of the imageination. The hotel is reported to be 5* and it is not, The bathrooms were dreadfull, they had been given a lick of paint over the tiles and the bath it self. All the taps were rusting. The bedroom furniture was old dated and the soft furnishings were dirty. We were offered an alternative room, which was just as bad. Having said all this the hotel staff were very pleasent and most helpfull, the Spa was good, the grouds were very nice pity they haven't updated the hotel interior. We will not be retuning.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank challanger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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