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“Absolutely beautiful”

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Asian Jewel Boutique Hotel
Ranked #3 of 27 Hotels in Hikkaduwa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 January 2010

We have just returned from our second visit to Asian Jewel. We loved it so much before that we brought friends with us this time.

Once again we had the most fantastic welcome from Dale and Tanya, Sunny, Veejay and Sarath, plus the new staff since our previous stay. This time we stayed in'Lily' which, although smaller than 'Jasmine' was just as comfortable and had a similar view over the lagoon. The birds that can be seen from your balcony are incredible.

Dale was, yet again, fantastically helpful with booking a tour before we arrived at Asian Jewel and had many recommendations for us. He used a company called Camlo Lanka based in Colombo who were excellent and supplied us with a van and a great driver, Ari. We can thoroughly recommend both. Our friends did a couple fo trips with Anora's tuktuk although my husband and I just chilled out by the pool as we had been there before.

The food was a great mix of western and Asian food, all beautifully cooked and presented. The breakfast fruit platter has to be seen to be believed and I am missing it already. We asked for a seafood dinner one night and Tanya made a special visit to the fishmarket at 6 am to get the freshest fish possible. Once other guests heard of our request many of them joined us with the banquet which included a whole small fish (doba?), jumbo prawn, large prawns, ceviche (tuna 'cooked' in a lime marinade), calamare, etc , served with fries and guacomole and salad. All for less than £15 each!

We would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone and just hope that its deserved popularity won't stop us from being able to book a room in the future!

Thanks again Dale and Tanya - you are fantastic!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Traveller1003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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331 - 337 of 425 reviews

Reviewed 18 January 2010

We decided to book to stay at this hotel for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year after reading the reviews on Trip Advisor and am pleased to say that we were not disppointed with our.

After an initial email to Dale, one of the owners, we sent a deposit for our dates, and then decided that we would like a four day tour before relaxing. so afer changing our dates and hundreds of emails later (sorry Dale) we had our tour organised by Dale and our stay at the Asian Jewel sorted.

The tour was great even with one dodgy hotel but that's a different review when I get round to it. Maroof our driver, who picked us up from the airport, was very knowledgable about the area obviously about the tourist sites as this is his job but about everything we asked about, very accommodating when my husband declared that he wasn't visiting ANOTHER temple, so plans were changed in an instant to suit my husband.

Anyway, on to the Asian Jewel, we arrived along a bumpy dirt track which didn't bother me as I had seen it on photos and read reviews but my husband did admit later that he wondered where we were going. On arriving at the hotel we were given a very warm welcome. The owners Tanya and Dale and all their staff, Cyril, Sunny, Kamara, Surath who cooks the most amazing Srilankan rice and curry, Veejays son (sorry can't remember the name) and Veejay himself!! are really friendly and attentive and provided a top service. Anora the tuk tuk driver is always on hand to get to the beach only 5 minutes away or to organise daytrips, he took me to see the stilt fishermen one afternoon while I left my husband drinking with his new found friends in Buddes Bar. We also took a trip to Kalutura, just over an hour away further north, to see friends of ours, who were getting married, I have to say, the Asian Jewel and Hikkaduwa beach far outshone anything we saw further north, both hotel and beach wise.

The hotel is small with only 6 rooms, which all adds to the special atmosphere that Tanya and Dale have created, at the Asian Jewel you are a person and not a room number which also can't fail to help the guests socialise with each other therefore makig some lovely friends whilst on holiday. Tthe pool was great, we were in a peaceful location with lovely views over the lagoon, our room (Lily) wasn't quite overlooking the lagoon but the view at breakfast and dinner was amazing. The rooms are, as is the whole hotel, tastefully decorated, cleaned immaculately and the fresh flowers in the room every day was a really nice touch. although my husband got a bit fed up of the flowers, I think Tanya knew that. The only one negative comment was the hit and miss hot water but we were in Sri Lanka. The hand-made soaps in the bathroom, the presents at Christmas and the jar of skin cream for my husband were just two of many special touches we appreciated during our stay.

Normally, we would go on an all-inclusive holiday over Christmas but sometimes the food ends up to be very repetetive, or when we have been on a B&B breakfast we like to eat at different restaurants, but we ended up having most dinners at the hotel as the food and service was great, the Western dishes on the menu greatly appealed to my husband, whereas I tried more local dishes but I will admit to not being able to bring myself to try the Sringhoppers for breakfast, although everyone else who chose them enjoyed, loved the fresh fruit or juice every morning, and Tanya, thanks for the Marmite, everything we ate we couldn't fault in any way. I would love to have the Sri Lankan Curry recipe to try to recreate at home.

A couple of days into our holiday we went with Dale to one of his locals, Buddes Bar. so from then on, every afternoon, after a hectic day sunbathing, surfing, snorkeling and reading, we wandered down the great beach to Buddes Bar, for a sundowner or 5 unfortunately the only sunset we saw was the day I didn't take my camera, but great times at Buddes with Dale's friends who made us very welcome into their expat community.

We had a great holiday, thanks again to Tanya and Dale and all those working and holidaying at the Asian Jewel Boutique who made our stay just perfect, we will be back.

PS. Cuddles to Suki, Tia and Bridie and a hello to Maxi the security dog.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank fun-sun-lovers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2010

We stayed with Dale & Tanya over Christmas & New Year and thoroughly enjoyed every minute there. The greatest asset of the Asian Jewel is without doubt the staff, Sunny, Cyril, Dinesh, Surath, Veejay's son (who has the most fantastic smile) and of course the great turkey rustler Veejay himself. The food cannot be faulted, Dinesh for his string hoppers at breakfast, and Surath's Sri Lankan curry were not bettered anywhere, but also the western menu & Australian steak which made my partner's holiday!
We found the hotel to be exceptionally friendly & welcoming and felt very at home and relaxed during our stay and maybe due to the size found ourselves socialising very easily and enjoying the company of the other guests, we even found ourselves (two middle aged fogies) talking well into the small hours with an inteligent, articulate 16yr old called Nick who was staying with his parents - hello also to Dom & Sally, Lee & Andrea, Richard & Steve.
I think my only observation would be the Asian Jewel would not be my definition of a boutique hotel, the Wallawwa was, but you have to pay for it, and the food was way better at the Asian Jewel anyway! The hot water was a bit hit & miss, but Dale & Tanya gave us every opportunity to make comment & were constantly asking that all was OK and smoothing out problems. We would return at the drop of a hat if we could.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank anne_parker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2010

I’ll start this review by quoting another Tripadvisor reviewer’s comments in relation to Sandalwood Luxury Villas. They said: “I do not intend to offend even though part of this feedback isn't all that flowery and encouraging ... There must be complete honesty on my part for future trip advisor users' reference; As I have used others' with faith and trust.” The dilemma that I face stems from the fact that the service at Asian Jewel is so good and so personal that it feels like to make any negative comment, no matter how small, would be a personal attack on the owners, Dale and Tanya. However, I feel it would be disingenuous of me to be all gushy I, as I’m sure others, look for reliable, objective reviews.

So, firstly, all the good stuff. The Asian Jewel is a very special little hotel with an unprecedented level of personal and friendly service. Before we had even arrived at the Asian Jewel, Tanya had surpassed my expectations of hotel service. My wife and I spent 7 nights at the hotel in November with our baby daughter and my father-in-law. We had originally planned to visit over Christmas, but couldn’t find suitable flights. When I first contact Tanya about this though, she made the effort to see if she could find suitable flights at her end and called me at home to tell me. Having eventually knocked that plan on the head, we booked our stay in November. At the time, I asked Tanya if they had a cot; otherwise we’d just have our daughter in the bed with us. Tanya said that they did not have a cot, but they would buy one for our stay! Tanya then travelled up to Colombo (about 4 hours each way) to look for cots, but with no luck. In the end, she had a mahogany cot made especially for us by a local carpenter. She also bought a baby bath for us to use and mosquito net to go over the cot and made bed linen for the cot and soap for us to use. We were totally gobsmacked by the lengths they were prepared to go to for us.

When we arrived at the hotel, the amazing service continued. We were made to feel at home from the moment we arrived and we felt we’d chosen the ideal place to stay with our baby daughter. The staff were fantastic – we often found ourselves passing our daughter to them for a cuddle and then not seeing her for half an hour. It was great knowing that we could entrust her to them, which meant that we could relax over breakfast, dinner, etc. Tanya also arranged for her chef to prepare some purees for us to use with our daughter.

Now for a few (very) minor comments on where there may be room for improvement. I would emphasise, though, that these are all quite picky comments and would be ignored in reviews of many hotels because of bigger issues. I’m making them, therefore, principally because Tanya and Dale are clearly striving for perfection (and doing a pretty good job of it) and will hopefully take these comments in the constructive way in which they are intended.

Firstly, whilst our room (Kingfisher – the family suite) was lovely and immaculately clean, there was relatively little storage space. The only clothing storage we had was one half of a wardrobe (the other half being occupied by the TV, fridge, etc). Some drawer space would have been useful. There could have been a chest of drawers taken out to make space for the cot, but we don’t think that was the case. Also, I personally, found the mattress of our bed to be quite hard and often woke up with “pins and needles”.

Secondly, although our bathroom was very tastefully designed, we felt that, for a family suite, there should have been a bath. As I’ve said, Tanya was fantastic in sourcing a baby bath which we could fill up using the shower. However, we thought that, with toddlers, a bath (and not just a shower) would have been useful. The bathroom was kind of a quasi-wet room, with no partition between the shower and the rest of the room. The floor tiles around the shower were sunken to try to stop water going everywhere, but this didn’t seem that effective a solution and the tiles around the entrance to the room tended to get wet and quite slippery. I appreciate that it was a deliberate design choice, but it could be a little dangerous, especially when holding a baby.

Thirdly, whilst the food was good, I was a little disappointed that there seemed to be quite a bias towards western food. I appreciate that, for some reviewers, this was a good thing, but I took the view that if I wanted lots of English food, I’d either stay in England or have gone on a package holiday. My father-in-law thought the English food that he had was great so it really is a case of horses for courses, but, for me, more local options on the menu would have been good. One night, after hunting around for several days, Tanya managed to get some crab in for us. It was very nice, but had been prepared in a kind of (lobster) thermador style and I wondered if that was the way it would have been prepared locally. That said, the Sri Lankan curry selection that we had was excellent and it was nice having a local chicken curry without having to work round all the bones. You can ask for food that is not on the menu – we had a beef curry one night. However, I expect people will naturally go for food listed in front of them and, no matter how much Tanya and Dale emphasise that no request is too much, will not want to seem “too demanding” by asking for things that are not on the menu. The food was very reasonably priced and there were no huge mark-ups on drinks. Indeed, a meal for three of us cost about the same as a bottle of wine at the Colombo Hilton (where we also stayed)

Fourthly, whilst the service was fantastic and very personal, we did wonder if some visitors may feel that it may be too personal. For us, being able to have a chat with the owners and the staff was great, but some people may prefer a more anonymous stay and may therefore prefer to stay at a larger resort.

Finally, we were trying to decide whether we would describe the Asian Jewel as a “boutique” hotel. To us, “boutique” infers small, bespoke and, to some extent, luxurious. Whilst the Asian Jewel certainly satisfies the first two of those criteria, I wouldn’t describe it as being a luxury hotel. It’s very nice, clean and homely with a huge amount of attention having been paid to every detail, but I couldn’t in all honesty, say that the Asian Jewel could be classified as a boutique hotel.

In conclusion, then, this is a great hotel and, if I haven’t completely offended Dale and Tanya, we would definitely go back there if we could. It was provided us with a lovely supportive environment to bring our daughter at what we considered to be fair rates. It isn’t quite perfect, but it’s pretty close.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank TandL-Bristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
hikkajewel, Owner at Asian Jewel Boutique Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 12 January 2010

Thank you for your review and your feelings on our family room. we understand the problem with the lack of Storage, as you mentioned we had a cot made especially for you and had to remove the chest of drawers,if we had been made aware of this problem we would have tried our best to rectify this. also the family suite is ideally set up for 2 adults and 2 children, but dissagree with your concern over our menu, fresh para fish, sri Lankan rice and curry, thai curry, Jumbo prawns, yellow fin tuna,are just some of the dishes on our menu. as we mentioned if there was any speciality dish that you needed our chef would have happily prepared, as he has done for many other guest as stated in previous reviews. we will take your comments on board, as we are always striving to make our guests feel nothing is to much trouble within reason, and hope you will visit us again in the near future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2010

The Asian Jewel is an almost perfect little hotel.

With only 5 rooms, the owners (a charming English couple named Dale and Tanya) are able to devote a good amount of attention to making sure that you are well looked after - without them ever making it feel like too much or like they are invading your privacy. In fact one of the best parts of the place is that you can get just the amount of privacy that you want.

The Asian Jewel is about 2 km from the beach, which in actual fact is perfect. The hotel overlooks a lake and its distance and size provide guests with a great deal of privacy. That said, the owners have a few Tuk Tuk's they work with regularly, so if you want to get to the beach, it never takes more than 10 minutes and costs only what you feel is fair. We walked it one day, and the walk down is quite a ways in the heat, but really beautiful.

We stayed at the Asian Jewel at the end of our trip and found this to be perfect. The food there is very good, and with western owners, the western dishes on the menu are actually cooked properly. It makes for a really nice transition back. In actual fact, I would say that the food at the Asian Jewel was some of the best I had on my entire trip.

Another nice thing about the Asian Jewel is their desire to help you plan your holiday even when it does not involve staying with them. Dale (one half of the couple that owns the Asian Jewel) was really helpful in telling me about different places in Sri Lanka which I should see on my trip and in helping me to organize a driver prior to my arrival in Sri Lanka. I was not staying with him till them end, however, he had suggested some nice places to stay and nice things to do on my travels so I really felt great when I got there and was able to meet the people who had helped to create a really wonderful holiday.

I can't say enough about them. It is not the cheapest place to stay or to eat. That said, it is far far far from most expensive and the attention to detail, the hospitality and the kindness of everyone there makes this place a real gem.

I hope that many people get to enjoy what I consider to be a great spot on the coast.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jupmoves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2010

The hotel only has 5 rooms and as a result the service is first class - it's very relaxed and Tanya and Dale, the owners can't do enough for you. They make you feel as if you are in your own home and all the staff are excellent - particularly Cyril and Vejay! Our room was beautiful overlooking the lagoon, spotlessly clean with fresh flowers picked from the garden. Although you are not on the seafront, the beach is only a short tuk-tuk ride away and, as beach lovers, we didn't find this a problem at all. There is a lovely swimming pool if you just want to laze around. We stayed for 5 nights and ate at the hotel every night - the food was excellent. All-in-all we had a fantastic stay and we cannot fault the Asian Jewel. We'd love to go back!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jelly2100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 December 2009

Dale and Tanya were the perfect hosts. Along with their friendly staff, who were always helpful without being overbearing, they made us feel as though we were staying with old friends. They even baked me a beautiful birthday cake.

Airport pick-ups can be arranged, as can local tours, and they know all the best local tour guides and drivers. Everything was very easy and relaxed.

Before arriving I thought perhaps I should have booked accommodation on the beach front, but by staying out near the lagoon you get peace and quiet away from the busy roads and noisy pubs. A quick call to a tuk-tuk driver and you'll be at the beach in 10 minutes anyway.

As mentioned in other posts, the food is wonderful. A large variety so something to suit every taste.

If we return to Hikkaduwa, there's nowhere else we would ever stay.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank nztravelchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Asian Jewel Boutique Hotel

Address: lane 3Field View Baddegama Road | Nalagasdeniya, Hikkaduwa 80240, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Hikkaduwa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Hikkaduwa
#3 Romantic Hotel in Hikkaduwa
Price Range: £32 - £95 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Asian Jewel Boutique Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Due to its unique location, the Asian Jewel Hotel, Hikkaduwa - Sri Lanka combines the best of both worlds. Enjoy the tranquility and serenity of the picturesque Bird Lake while being just 2 km inland from Hikkaduwa, one of Sri Lanka's oldest and most established beach resorts. Ever since the very early days of travel, Sri Lanka has been known as one of the world’s most beautiful, diverse and exotic holiday destinations. So, what are you waiting for? ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Asian Jewel Boutique Hikkaduwa
Hotel Asian Jewel Boutique

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