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“Lunuganga ... a place I hope to return to” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Lunuganga

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Lunuganga
Ranked #19 of 30 Hotels in Bentota
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Lunuganga ... a place I hope to return to”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 September 2013

Lunuganga is a very special place, and was the highlight of our trip to Sri Lanka. We were seeking an escape from city life, and found that at Lunuganga. The gardens are incredibly beautiful; we spent much of our time walking and exploring. We had the chance to spot a troop of purple-faced leaf monkeys, who took us by surprise!

We went on the boat tour on the lake, and had the experience of seeing young Brahminy kites practicing their diving under the watchful eye of their mother. Damien was a wonderful guide, and he showed us so many things we would not have noticed otherwise, like the rare dragonflies in the gardens. We also highly recommend the garden tour with Asha, who shared so much with us about the design and architecture of Lunuganga.

The room we stayed in, and all the common areas of Lunuganga are quite unique. There are antiques and art works you might otherwise only see in a museum. But despite the luxurious feel of the place, it was not intimidating; we felt very welcomed and it was like staying in the home of a friend or family. The rooms are light-filled, and a pack of friendly dogs roam the property.

All the meals we had were something special; the ingredients are locally-sourced. Rice grown on the property, and shrimp from the lake. Some of the best curries we had in Sri Lanka.

I should say that as much as my husband and I enjoyed our stay, I can imagine some people who would not. If you need connectivity - there is no TV or wi-fi, but for us that was a blessing. If you have young children, a Bentota beach place might be better option; too many precious, breakable items here that they might run into. Also, if you like the commodified luxury of a big-name hotel, then this is not for you. This is something more magical!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tiana99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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66 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Singapore
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2013

I was glad I did not cancel my two-night stay at Lunuganga. A recent review criticized the estate for being old and worn out, and I was foolish enough to have bought the "lies". Thank God I followed my heart and gave Mr Bawa's country home a chance... and boy, did I have an unforgettable experience!

Lunuganga is NOT a hotel, but and EXPERIENCE. One that is not to be missed. The gardens are dreamy, the space, the silence, the serenity - priceless! Each of the suites has their own personality and story. I stayed in the Glass Room. It's like a modern tree house. No mod cons, but still very comfortable. Yes, the furniture are not new, they are vintage pieces and very stylish. The decor may not suit everyone, but it's definitely my Ceylon cup of tea.

The staff are some of the most gentle and kind people I've met. I spent many happy hours with Damien and Asha on the garden tour and sunrise boat ride. Proceeds go to the Bawa Trust so you're contributing to a good cause while enjoying magical moments. Plus it's a great way to get to know the estate and Mr Bawa better...

Two nights just weren't enough. I wished I had stayed longer. I got lost in the 25 acres of paradise, but I found peace, quiet, inspiration and myself... I will definitely be back for more BLISS.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AndyBoyForever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bellingen, Australia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2013

Lunuganga is a place of pilgrimage for admirers of Geoffrey Bawa’s architecture and garden design. Don't expect a slick international hotel, Lunuganga has the air of a gently decayed historic site ... there is no television, wifi, room service or a mini bar, just simple food and the sound of birds and the rain dripping from the trees.

The rooms are quirky and full of artifacts and works of art. They have been preserved as close as possible to the way they were in Geoffrey Bawa's time. I stayed in the Glass Room which I loved.

Meals consisted of fruit, eggs, hoppers, soup, sandwiches or local curries. A simple three-course lunch with soup, a selection of curries and sambals, and a dessert cost us less than R$3,000. We found the staff helpful but un-obtrusive.

The optional 6:00 am bird-watching catamaran trip, and the guided garden and buildings tour are highly recommended. Also, be sure to see Bevis Bawa’s Brief Garden at Bentota – the garden that inspired Geoffrey to create Lunuganga. The local village is a slow and interesting twenty minute walk away and from there you can hire one of the many tuk-tuks.

Just to re-iterate ... this is NOT a five star resort. It is for Bawa admirers who want to absorb the history and atmosphere of the place where he retreated to for rest and inspiration.

Tips - bring your own alcohol, mosquito repellent and a VERY thick book. Also, as coffee is almost universally pretty bad in Sri Lanka (we are spoilt in Australia!), you are probably better ordering tea.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Fenella B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2013

Geoffrety Bawa, the Sri Lankan architect, is held is almost religious reverence in the country, and students of architecture make a visit to Lunuganga, Bawa's former home, something on the order of a pilgrimage. Okay if that's what you like, but this is no place for anyone looking for an enjoyable holiday, and it is impossibly overpriced for what it offers. The premises are old and in bad repair. We had to ring from a padlocked gate and wait several minutes for someone to let us onto the property. We sat around for 20 minutes with nothing to do until someone who spoke English came to get us settled in. The inland setting is lovely and tranquil, but the hotel offers nothing in the way of modern amenities - primitive furnishings, no TV, no swimming pool, no easy access to the tourist town of Bentota. While we were standing around, a couple of groups came just for a tour of the property, and if you're interested in the architecture, that would b e acceptable way to visit. (I have traveled the world and seen many of its great edifices, and I would rate the architecture at Lunuganga as decidedly unspectacular, but an architect might disagree). But unless you want to escape from the world for a day or two, you do not want to stay here. We gave up our deposit and left for another hotel.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Barry K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 April 2013

Lunuganga is so much more than accommodation. It is an experience that satisfies on many levels - aesthetic, intellectual and spiritual. To visit this special place is to feel like a privileged guest gaining a glimpse into the private world of a great creative mind. The wait staff were friendly going out of their way to help and those connected with the Bawa Trust had a wealth of knowledge about the building and garden and shared some lovely annecdotes about Bawa at the estate. Without doubt the highlight of my trip to Sri Lanka.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sean S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
118 reviews
104 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 April 2013

What peace and quiet and what an amazing house. We knew nothing about the Bawa brothers but are now hooked and would love to go back to Sri Lanka to stay in the other hotels by Geoffrey Bawa. It was so hot during our stay there but fortunately you can use the swimming pool at Club Villa (sister hotel)

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cobweblondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bakewell, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2013

Before arriving at Lunuganga for a three night stay we had read something of Bawa’s work but did not appreciate his status outside Sri Lanka. The point is Lunuganga is a lovely relaxed place to stay in its own right, everything else is a bonus and an opportunity. On our first day we had beautiful dawn boat trip on the lake, when we were gently paddled round an island able to watch a wide range of birds in complete peace – a lovely way to start the day. After that we joined a group of four Dutch architects for a full tour of the garden and buildings, with Damien and Asha giving us a special insight into the importance of Lunuganga in Bawa’s work. The following day and a half were spent walking round the grounds and relaxing at one of Bawa’s seats, complete with bell, each walk revealed a new vista or perspective, and gave us the opportunity to watch monkeys, monitor lizards and the many birds.
We were fortunate enough to stay in the Guest room in the main house; this is a large comfortable room full of original features and art.
We enjoyed the local Sri Lankan cuisine, all very well prepared and beautifully presented by friendly attentive staff.
Thanks to Damien, Asha, and Michael for giving their time so freely, and for their many spontaneous acts of thoughtful kindness.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank PeakTravellers12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lunuganga

Property: Lunuganga
Address: Dedduwa Lake, Bentota, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Bentota
Hotel Style:
#8 Romantic Hotel in Bentota
#11 Luxury Hotel in Bentota
Hotel Class:4 star — Lunuganga 4*
Number of rooms: 6
Also Known As:
Lunuganga Hotel Bentota

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