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“Secluded gem”

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Apa Villa Illuketia
Ranked #12 of 23 Hotels in Galle
Toronto
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Secluded gem”
Reviewed 26 February 2014

I agree with some of the other reviewers that Apa Villa Illuketia is a bit secluded and hard to get to, but when you do, it will be worth every minute you spent being lost!

The villa is an ex-plantation house and divided into several suites that share a common living room and a beautiful verandah that runs around most of the house.

The Hibiscus suite where we stayed is the largest and probably the most impressive one with a private verandah overlooking rice fields of the Illuketia village. It's lovely to wake to the villagers walking their children to school or tending to their cattle.

The other suite that impressed us a lot was the Citronella Suite. It is a smaller room but has a lovely little private garden and a sit-out overlooking some wonderful jackfruit trees. On humid days, the smell of jackfruit hung heavy in the air and it made everything smell so sweet! Oh and the antics of the monkeys will keep you entertained for hours.

There is a beautiful Buddhist temple right outside the gates of the Villa and in the evenings and early mornings one can hear the chanting of the Buddhist monks…I have never felt more at peace. One evening my sister and I decided to walk to the temple and have a look around. Not only were we given the most gracious tour, but we were given an audience with the residing head monk who gifted us three books on Buddhism. Not once were we asked for a donation or a gift - nothing. These books were given us with a pure heart and we were so grateful.

Meals at Apa Villa are simple and wholesome. Please don't forget to try the ginger tea, it's the best tea I have ever sampled! If anyone from Apa Villa is reading this, please, oh please, let me have your recipe!

Sumith, the main person at Apa Villia is wonderful and very capable…it was so nice getting to know him.

On the day we checked out of Apa Villa Illuketia we decided to visit their sister property at Thalpe which is on the beach. It's an equally nice property but more resort-like. Illuketia takes you away from the usual beach destinations and offers you the opportunity to pretend you're a successful plantation owner with miles and miles of grounds to enjoy and preside over.

Thank you Ranjan, Sumith and the rest….we promise to return some day!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Lotus777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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132 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Shanghai, China
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2014

I booked this hotel when it seemed that all the nice hotels in Galle Fort and on Unawatuna Beach were booked up. Booked in December through Agoda and had no problems checking in last week of January. Yes, the villa is hard to find--it's tucked down a long dirt road. It would have been nice if there were better directions on the website. The condition of our bathroom was "shabby chic" or perhaps "benign neglect."

Pros:
Lovely, lush, verdant setting, grounds very nice for strolling, and wraparound veranda makes a great place to enjoy a drink.
Large, comfortable beds, proper mosquito netting
Spacious rooms
Staff are relatively friendly and helpful, some far better than others
It's very quiet at night

Cons:
Courtyard facing rooms are not immune to noise in the morning
Our room (Lotus Suite) had a skylight and windows facing the ouside and the inner courtyard; there were shutters for the bottom half of the windows but not the top. No one could see in, but the sun poured in - tough for light sleepers.
The tuk-tuk driver that the hotel called wanted to charge 700 rupees to go to Galle when it should cost 400
On check-out, the hotel claimed that their office was closed and they couldn't get to the credit card machine (at 11am on a Monday morning)
We wanted to pay a 4,800 rupee bill with a 5,000 rupee bill and they claimed not to have 200 rupee in change.

For a romantic getaway, yes I could recommend this hotel--but be warned that it is at least 15 minutes from Galle Fort and 20 or so from Unawatuna Beach.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank crosby372
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2014

We booked this hotel in November. We were debited for this stay on 25th January. We found out the night before there was no rooms for us, The manager informed us his contract with Agoda was terminated on December 16th. Party of four. No where to stay. Had to go to Colombo for accommodation. Very very disappointed with the total lack of communication from Agoda.

Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank GlennG G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 14 February 2014
We deeply regret what happened to Mr. Glenn and want to take this opportunity to advise all Tripadvisor readers to visit our hotel website apavilla.com and click on Booking and Rates to book directly and get our own booking confirmations. Another option is to send an email enquiry to booking@apavilla.com.
Agoda.com ignored our termination notice in December and despite our repeated reminders continued to accept advance payments and new bookings without our reconfirmation during the peak season. Due to our full house occupancy in December and January, it created an embarrassing dilemma for all parties involved.
We sincerely apologise to Mr. Glenn caught in the middle of the non-compliance of the booking agent.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 February 2014

The Illuketia benefits more than most from TripAdvisor reviews because it will help steer beachgoing and convenience-seeking tourists towards other properties. The rest of you, keep reading. Gardens that are deceptively large and diverse, including flora and fauna. An old black-and-white manor house akin to Alkaff Mansion in Singapore or the E&O. Creative landscaping and homey artistic touches that make the verandahs and interior square inviting. The Illuketia is a long exhalation. For those looking for that simple quiet beautiful spot, it really works. After decades of Pico Iyeresque travel, there are only two places where I had this awakening.

Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Ee_and_zz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 6 February 2014
We are so heartened by Ee-n-Zz's appreciation of our inland plantation house as it is precisely the reason why we have opened the doors for guests who will find inspiration and quiet in the gardens and living space.
We hope to see the family again and perhaps, for a longer stay to write that next book or to read in the cocoon of our Illuketia confines. Thank you for your kind words.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 31 January 2014

After turning up with my agoda booking and asking to drop my bags off, due to having to go to galle hospital to pick my wife up who had broken her back... I was turned away with the rude staff stating they would not accept my agoda voucher.

I was made to wait outside with know help or anything... I have never been treated so badly and if they think that is 5 star service they are mistaken.

Please everyone be carful booking here and if you dare, please phone ahead as I would not want you turned away too.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mark w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 6 February 2014
It is regretful that Mr. Mark W from London was caught in between the non-compliance of his booking agent and our management.

Mr. Mark W’s booking was made the evening before and we had immediately informed Agoda that the booking cannot be accepted as there was no room available.
Nonetheless, the guest turned up despite our immediate action to Agoda and when we explained the situation, he accepted without any dispute.

Our staff at hand was never rude to Mr. Mark W and we believe that the customer should have queried his booking agent first and foremost.

We are sorry that Mr. Mark W’s wife was with a broken back. He did not mention this to us.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moscow, Russia
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed 21 January 2014

I booked a Waterlilly room in this hotel in December and payed for 9 days in advance more than 1700 USD. I maked it from Agoda site and booked a room since 5 of January till 14 of January. When I book it there was plenty of photos of beach, big rooms so I was sure that the hotel on the beach because there is no such category of room on hotel's site (waterlily). Then I arrived there is no transfer from the hote althouth I asked for it so we have to get taxi and had a long journey to hotel. Then we call to hotel there is no answer on our rings. Then we arrived on it (5 of January) we found out that the hotel is on jungle, the room is very small, dark, without TV and frigo, with a little bad and the destination to the beach is more than 5 km. While we were staying in hotel heavy machinery worked near our window for the whole day! So I have to check out on 6 of January at 12:00. I informed General Manager of Appa Villa (Mr. Ranjan Pathiranage) of my urgent check out but he refuse to get my money back. By the way I didn't received any papers from Apa hotel because their refusal. That's unacceptable situation and so I payed for 8 days just for satisfaction of management of the hotel.
By the way I didn`t recieved any e-mails form hotel for all my requests. I`m absolutelly sur the the hotel doesn`t deserve Trip Advisor reward!

Dmitry Rozhkov

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dmitry R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Illuketia, responded to this review, 6 February 2014
Mr. Rozhkov checked out of Illuketia abruptly after one night's stay on Jan. 5 saying that he had expected a beach resort instead of being our inland plantation estate.
He cited viewing photos of the beach and had expectations of staying on a beach villa presumably Apa Villa Thalpe, our sister hotel. He moved out to another hotel in Unawatuna and demanded a full refund.

We are completely baffled by Mr. Rozhkov's unrealistic demand for payment for what is basically his failure to understand that Illuketia is not a beach villa. The fact that he booked under the Agoda web site with the descriptions and photos provided by Agoda shows his lack of understanding of what he had paid for.

We suggest that Mr. Rozhkov take this matter to the booking agent Agoda and retrace his steps on how he came to the unfortunate mistake of an inland plantation estate (not a jungle) instead of a beach villa.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2014

This place is something very special. The gardens are stunning and the pool is beautiful.
The Waterlily suite is very small but to be honest, unless you are staying for a week, this place is not about the room, since you will spend time in the gardens, by the pool and on the veranda rather that in your room. So the Waterlily suite is fine if you are just here for a night or two.
This place will suit someone that is looking for piece and quiet away from the beach and someone that wants to relax in a beautiful colonial style house. Go for a walk along the rice fields which is truly stunning.
We had the Singapore crab dinner which was great.

Room Tip: The Waterlily suite is very small but to be honest, unless you are staying for a week, this place is...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Flickey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Apa Villa Illuketia

Property: Apa Villa Illuketia
Address: Illuketia Watta | Wanchawala, Galle, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Galle
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Galle
#6 Family Hotel in Galle
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Apa Villa Illuketia 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A villa hideaway with five suites set in 12 acres of garden and ponds. A luxury that our guests can discern on arrival. Only 15 minutes from Galle town, going to Illuketia is a return to nature and plantation lifestyle. The splendid mansion with original wooden temple doors, carved window frames and Oriental-style furniture is drawn out of a traveller's journal. A swimming pool in the far end of a lush garden allows a dip while watching birds and monkeys at close range. Three differently styled bedrooms are placed around a courtyard fish pond in the main house and two other suites are located in a separate Pond House. Each room varies in size and outlook, with its own walk-in wardrobe, sitting area indoor or outdoor. The Hibiscus Suite is considered the master room with a long private balcony lined with cushions and facing tall jack trees and rice fields. There is a separate walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. The Lotus Suite is aligned long and spacious with a walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. Windows look out to a water channel and flowering trees. The Citronella Suite is cozy and comes with a dining table and chairs in a private open-air verandah. It has its own wardrobe and en-suite bathrooms. All rooms are air-conditioned with additional ceiling fans and power points. The villa serves organic rice from its own rice fields, fruit, herbs and vegetables from the garden. Apa Villa's Sri Lankan Curry Rijstafel Dinner is all-time favourite among guests.. Apart from this, there is All Day menu of snacks, light meals and tea service. Evening meals are from an A La Carte with our stewards serving in the traditional sarong and tunic outfits. Booking for long-term of Pond House and whole villa welcomed. Illuketia and its grounds is ideal for weddings, anniversaries and birthday celebrations or groups with special interests like bird-watching, workshops, mahjong, painting and photography. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Apa Villa Illuketia Hotel Galle
Apa Hotel Illuketia

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