Our flight arrived at Colombo ahead of schedule as there was a technical fault which meant we didn’t stop at Male. Because we were early our transport hadn’t arrived so we waited in the Airport for over an hour. We made the 2 hour trip to Bentota Beach in a mini bus with one other couple. We were warned that the driving in Sri Lanka is somewhat chaotic, but we felt our driver was particularly aggressive in his driving manner. He had two accidents on the journey (both his fault) and as an employee of Kuoni we thought this was particularly poor. We gave him a $5 tip but he said it was not enough as he needed medicine! Not a great start to our holiday but this should have no reflection on Bentota Beach Hotel.
On our arrival we were warmly greeted with a fruit juice and freshening towel. The reception area was cool, smelt beautiful and made a very good first impression. The reception staff were very friendly and efficient in processing our arrival and we were shown to our room with a guided tour of the hotel on the way.
Our Superior Room 206 was spacious, clean and well equipped with superb views over the Bentota River and The Indian Ocean.... we couldn’t have asked for a better room. We had a lovely platter of fruit and an arrangement of flowers on our arrival which was very much appreciated. The decor was a little dated but full of charm nonetheless. The bed was comfortable and there was a fantastic selection of pillows for your own comfort. We had a lovely seating area on our balcony with a candle which we thought was a lovely idea to sit out during the evenings (with mosquito repellent on of course). There was ample storage for our clothing and space for the luggage. The mini-bar was well stocked with branded beverages and complimentary bottled water was supplied. Our room was kept clean and well stocked daily with a turn-down service at night. The nightly flowers arranged on our bed were a delightful touch.
Bentota Beach is situated on the West coast halfway between Colombo and the South of Sri Lanka. On one side is the Indian Ocean and the Bentota River on the other. The River is a haven for wildlife and it is well worth a river cruise for a couple of hours to see the diverse variety of flora and fauna. Directly outside the Hotel are a few shops and restaurants. Be warned that you will encounter people touting for business, mainly taxi’s and Tuk-tuk drivers. We chose Bentota for its location as we wanted to see the Blue Whales (we were fortunate to see four whales and plenty of Spinner Dolphins) from Marissa and visit the Elephant reserves. It is worth noting that what seems to be a short distance on a map does take a long time due to the road links and driving. Be prepared to spend a lot of time travelling anywhere in Sri Lanka.
We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis. The restaurant was spacious and staff very efficient. Seating was not reserved so you could sit wherever a table was available which meant we had a different waiter each time. There was a good variety of food available in a buffet style and possibly the tastiest food we have sampled in any hotel! We did have dinner in the Hotel main restaurant twice and enjoyed the food but it was quite pricey for the amount we ate (we are not big eaters at all). Again it was a buffet style meal with plenty of variety and the deserts were fabulous. We had a pizza one lunch time in the Hotel garden which was nice. The Hotel provided a good breakfast box for our daytrips and departure day as we had early starts. Most evenings we ate in Aviva Restaurant across the road. We were treated very well and enjoyed a great selection on the menu. The staff gave us gifts of souvenirs on our last night which was a lovely surprise and very touching.
The beach has beautiful white sand and you can have a lovely walk to the end of the peninsula to a temple at the end. We found we were pestered a lot on the first few days by people wanting to take us on daytrips. They say they work for the Hotel but they do not. They were not aggressive, just persistent but left us alone when we explained we just wanted to walk. There seems to be a lovely breeze on the beach but the sun is incredibly strong, so keep your sun lotion topped-up!
There can be strong currents being the Indian Ocean and there are flags to warn you on the beach. There were also men keeping an eye on swimmers/bathers but we were not sure if they were lifeguards. They did alert people if they got too close to rocks, if the current changed or they swam too far out. Although visibility was not good for snorkelling, the waves were fabulous for body surfing.
Every night there were either dancers or singers and bands in the main lounge/bar. They performed different acts each night we were there. On the whole they were of a good standard and entertaining. The bands sang well known English/American music mostly. The dancers performed traditional acts. One night we were invited to watch a Fire dance show in the sports area for a charge of $7 each. It was clear this was a new venture for the entertainers and it was very standard poor indeed, unrehearsed and disjointed, even if there was a free cocktail.
I treated myself to a Spa treatment and would recommend the Azmaara Spa. I had the Azmaara Feelings treatment which was a 90 minute Full body massage and scrub by a lovely Balinese lady called Ayu. The Spa was very well equipped with experienced and friendly staff.
Bentota Beach Hotel is a delight. It is very relaxing with superb friendly staff and great facilities. Out of the 200 guests staying at the Hotel, 150 were Russian... the remaining were English, French, Italian and Norwegian. We were made to feel special and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. We would highly recommend this Hotel and would consider returning if we visit Sri Lanka again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Bentota Beach by Cinnamon is the perfect getaway from the buzzing city life. The resort specializes on water sports and other adventures at its own Water Sports centre with a variety of activities such as wind surfing, jet skiing, and banana boat riding. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bentota Beach Hotel Sri Lanka