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“Lovely - but something missing”

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Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Ranked #2 of 23 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence
Norwich
Level Contributor
151 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 173 helpful votes
“Lovely - but something missing”
Reviewed 28 March 2010

We stayed here for 6 nights after a Kuoni tour. We had an Orchid room which was really nice but we ended up at the end nearest the railway - however, I wear earplugs so it didn't really bother me.
The rooms seem to be cleaned twice a day or something as there was always people on our corridor. We had a complimentary bottle of really nice wine and fruit, plus canapes were brought some evenings too. Also they give you 4 complimentary bottles of water and if you take them in the morning, they will be replensihed at turn-down.
The bathroom was disappointing as it really was on it's last legs - although very clean, it really needed stripping out and redoing (the bath started to de-laminate one day!)
The bed was strange as well - although a king-size, the mattress acted like a water-bed - every movement my husband made left me bouncing up and down. It affected how much sleep we both got.
Service was generally really good. It was only in the bar it was really slow (especially when there was hardly anyone there) However, we found similar service all over Sri Lanka so it wasn't unique to the Taj.
We used the laundry service 3 times - excellent and reasonable
The buffet breakfast was probably the best we had in all the hotels we stayed and the waiters there were really friendly and helpful.
The pool and sunbeds were excellent - we had a fantastic view along the coast. We went down to the beach a few times - bit choppy but lovely.
The location of the hotel is also good - at the end of the road. There was a Carnival on halfway down the road which must have affected the Serendib next door and the Bentota Beach nearby. It seemed to go on quite late at night (seemed really only locals went to it)
The bit that was missing was nightlife - not only in the Taj but anywhere in Bentota.
We ate in Susanthas (3 other tables full) and the Golden Grill 4 times - really good food (ranged from about 4 tables to 10 tables full). Looked at Aida (one couple in) and ate in the Taj's chinese - excellent by the way (2 other couples).
We were last in the Taj's bar one night at 11.30 and generally there was half a dozen couples in there after 10.30 - and the hotel was full.
It seemed similar in the other hotels - we just don't know where people went at night, or if they just went to bed early.
This took the edge off the holiday as we like to socialise.
By the way - change your money in the Taj as had better rates than the banks

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
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4 Thank LockyNorwich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (523)
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New Zealand
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2010

My wife and I had a lovely stay at the Taj. We stayed in a seaview room, and it was beautiful. The room was kinda tired, but good enough for what we wanted. We had a lovely massage at the spa, and the staff were excellent in making us feel comfortable. Almost every staff member we walked past said hello, which made the stay nicer. We took a train to Galle for a total of 200 rupees return, which was a nicer way to see a bit more of Sri Lanka. The train station is only a few hundred metres from the hotel. The beach was the highlight of our stay - lovely warm waters, good waves... I loved it. The only problem we had with the hotel was that they said in their book in the hotel room that they accepted Diners Club card, so when we went to pay with it (after a spa treatment each, room service and food put onto our bill) the rude man told us we couldn't pay with it, and had to find another way to pay. Quite difficult situation which wasnt helped by the poor attitude of the last guy we would've been in contact with at the hotel. Otherwise, we enjoyed the stay, the location, and the beach. Would love to go back again - with a different credit card I might add!

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank bobinthebottle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 March 2010

After a long flight to Colombo, we embarked on a next long journey from the airport to the hotel (3.5hrs). When we reached the hotel, it was very beautiful and very refreshing. We had booked for a Orchid room, which included a lot of ameneties, special service desk etc.. But when we got there, we got the normal check-in. The room was small for a Premium room and the Balcony had a view of the beach and the next door neighbours.
The restaurants were ok, but more places to eat just outside the hotel and reasonable price. The hotel ameneties were nothing major, basic and good. The Palms restaurant does buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with indoor and outdoor sitting. Pretty decent choice of selection.
The travel desk is really good and they have a notice board in the lift lobby with the tours, packages and prices. The tour from the hotel is cheaper and the drivers have a good knowlede about the places. The hotel has a adjacent beach with private enterance to the hotel, nice and clean. But take a car and go some other place... to avoid unnecessary local interferance. The hotel boasts JIVA spa, but the prices are very expensive. Try out other spas in the vicinity. There is a Ayurvedic spa located adjacent to the hotel compund. Worth checking it out.
The best part of the hotel was the sunrise and sunset view from the rooms.
The hotel could do better with their bathrooms, I guess its a normal thing with TAJ. We have stayed with 3 other Taj properties, and found less space and very ordinary toileteries and ameneties. The Bathroom can fit one, keeping in mind that it was a Orchid Room. We had to have constant attendance from the house keeping to keep the damp smell out of the bathroom. Later on discovered that since most of the furniture and flooring is made up of wood, the tropical weather affects it and makes it let out a damp smell.
For the price you are paying and the distance, it would be helpful to check out other hotels in Galle area eg. Galle fort hotel. The drive time from Galle to Bentota is only 45mins. If you do have to stay in this hotel property, I would suggest you go for a Standard Room and spend the rest on something else.
ALL IN ALL IT'S NOT WORTH SPENDING YOUR MONEY ON.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank adviseguru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
uk
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2010

Spent 2 weeks here and despite some negative comments on this site we had an excellent holiday. The staff were efficient and welcoming and the hotel location was superb. We used only 2 of the 3 restaurants and these were of a high standard - we did not use the buffet style restaurant as it's not our style. Our room was delightful with 2 balconies overlooking the beach. Others have commented about the noisy swimming pool, all I can say is that it was quiet when we were there in February, and we were able to get sunbeds on the grassy area as late as 09.30.
The beaches were large clean and mainly empty, but beware of the tides when swimming. I was told by the Manager that these tides claimed an average of 2 people per month along the 2 mile beach, usually people who ignored the signs and flags or thought they were strong swimmers. The Taj seems to be the only hotel on the beach that employs permanent life guards.
I would confirm the finding of other people on this site that the Golden Grill is a good alternative to the hotel restaurants. They will also sell you a decent Chilean wine (if you ask quietly) for ca.£10, whereas the local wine shop will charge you double this. Unfortunately It takes ca. 3 hours to travel from the airport to the Taj, unless you travel late at night or early morning. There is a new Colombo by-pass being built and should be ready for late 2011

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank johnvb1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JORDAN
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2010

first of all hi guys its nice to be amember here, when we got to the hotel they asked us to wait for 10 mins coz our room was not ready but we stayed for maybe 30 -45 mins me and my husband were really tiered and upset we just got to srilanka and we didnt know wt to expect coz when u see the ppl in the streets and there simple lives u dont think ur gonna find a good hotel there, but i liked the hotel it was nice and clean the room was cleaned on daily base the staff was very nice the food was ok they didnt hv that much veraity but it was good maybe its coz im a vegetarian i didnt find much to eat.
the view was owsome from our suite i loved it we had a jacuzzi our suite was big and with a huge balconi we could see the whole beach from it and the trees ohhhhhhh it was amazing . we were surprised coz we thought that its gonna be hot but the weather was great and it even rained while we were swimming i loved the feeling of it . in srilanka where ever u go its green and i advice u to go on the river trip in the boat it was amazing we loved it we saw all kinds of animales and birds .we went also to a place there were elephents and i tuched them they were in a river but its not in bentota it was in kandy . and we went to cultural festival we also liked it and we went to bothas castle i dont know wt to call it but it was nice u can feel the power of believing or u can say respect to smthn or someone there all ppl are praying it was humbuling i know im not a bothiest but i praied over there from all my heart it was avery nice peacfull feeling . and would i go back to sri lanka and do all this again yup ill do it i would love to . but be carful from the ants there me and my husband we were taking a pic and we were close to asmall wall and then we got attaced by the ants and we got bitten by them it hurts and i was going crazy loool when i look at it now its funny hhhhhhhhhh and u got to keep on giving the staff there tips alot of tips they will be happy to help u more.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank ABBMASS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colombo
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2010

The hotel it self is really beatiful and the food was awesome. I have to point out that the staff is very freidly ,courteous and polite EXCEPT for the reception staff.Seriously,they act as if they own the hotel and are rude.
Apart from that the rooms were fine but they hav to clean the glass doors because they are stained and needs to be washed.
Overall the hotel it self is very beatisul and the location itself is simply stunning.(specially in the evenings)
I hope the management will actually have a training programme or some thing to the reception staff on how to greet and treat the clients!

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Mysteeq23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
85 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2010

I stayed here for one night only, to break my journey on the road back to the airport.

Reception was via a long driveway - security checked before you can get through (or at least your vehicle will be checked by a guard who looks under it with a mirror). I received a firm handshake from a man wearing a colonial style white uniform. There were uniformed guards all over the place. From speaking to the locals, this is designed to give reassurance given relatively recent troubles with the Tamil Tigers. For me it was an annoyance.

Check-in was slow and laborious. It took around 30 minutes for the person to check me in. She did not appear to know what she was doing. Eventually I was told I was checked in, but not taken straight to my room. Instead, with no communication about what was going on, I was taken to a bar for a welcome drink of chlled tea. I don't like tea!

Once in my room (Orchid) there was a welcome bottle of red wine - but no cork screw. You had to dial room service to have it opened. The room itself was lovely, but no panoramic view of the sea as advertised. Instead, if I squinted through the trees, I could see many overweight pensioners blobbing around the pool. Not great really.

There was a stocked mini-bar, at hugely inflated prices for a country like Sri Lanka. Room service was excellent - delivered on time, with a friendly smile etc. No return to collect my dirty dishes however.

I had several knocks on my door within the first hour of reaching my room. All from housekeeping. First a pair of slippers. Then a bathrobe. Then more minibar items. This suggested that the room was not actually ready....

I didn't sample the restaurants as the hotel was totally full, including many children and families on "all inclusive" package deals, so very busy indeed and a tendency towards buffet style food - not for me, hence I stuck to the room service menu for a bit of peace and quiet.

The pool area seemed very busy, with loads of people running around after the hotel guests, fetching drinks, towels etc. Another reminder of the old colonial days I suppose.

The beach outside the hotel is vast and beautiful, especially if you turn right - there are far less other hotels along this stretch, though busy with local people doing all they can to get you to spend your money on them - which is only to be expected in such a poor country. I didn't find anyone to be offensive or in hassle overdrive however.

Overall I didn't have a problem with this place - it's just not my style - though I do like to have a nose around these "luxury" places now and again. It reminded me why I choose to travel independently with my backpack.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank flyingscotsman2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj - Bentota

Property: Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Address: National Holiday Resort, Bentota 80500, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Bentota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Bentota
#2 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
#2 Spa Hotel in Bentota
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Bentota
#3 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Vivanta by Taj - Bentota 5*
Number of rooms: 160
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sri Lanka is referred to as a ‘small miracle,’ for despite the island’s relatively small size, its natural wonders and beauty are in abundance. Vivanta by Taj – Bentota is located on the south west coast of Sri Lanka. The hotel lies over a lush hill that overlooks the Indian Ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vivanta By Taj - Bentota Hotel Bentota
Taj Exotica Hotel Bentota
Bentota Taj Exotica Hotel
Taj Exotica Sri Lanka
Taj Exotica Srilanka
Taj Exotica Bentota

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