A transforming experience at Chaaya Tranz
I was first made aware of this hotel in 2002. I was not a frequent guest at coral gardens but I have visited it once for a wedding long before its closure. I cannot recall much about that visit, but I could still remember that it was a very large hotel in the Hikkaduwa beach stretch and as at that time it was very luxurious. However about two years back when I was trying to find a hotel in the south of Srilanka for my family vacation coral gardens popped back and it's rates were comparatively cheaper than many other surrounding hotels. Attracted by the cheap rooms I accessed their website and saw that the rooms were quite outdated and they failed to encourage me to reserve rooms at the hotel. The hotel was the black sheep of the JKH family. The designs and facilities offered were old and failed to satisfy the needs of the modern day traveller. So as a result of the above I ended up booking another hotel in Bentota even though coral gardens were cheaper. Again during the latter of 2011 I was skimming through the hotels in the southern coast when I was made aware that coral gardens were closed for refurbishment. The respective hotel websites provided information and some pictures of how coral gardens will be opened. During September of the said year I happened to pass Hikkaduwa where I witnessed full scale refurbishment of the hotel. The website also told me that the hotels name would be changed from coral gardens to chaaya tranz.
Overtime I got to know that the hotel re opened and I went through the various websites to see pictures of the rooms and the hotel. Meanwhile a group of people whom I knew very closely was scheduled to visit the hotel for corporate training. After their visits some told that the rooms were of very high standard but the food was not very excellent. I was told that the hotel served a huge variety of dishes but the taste was not to a high standard. Another group of my friends also visited the hotel soon afterwards and their pictures expressed that the hotel helped them to enjoy really well.vAll of these opinions were in my mind when I was once again asked from my family to reserve a hotel for a short family break. I found many hotels around the island for a vacation when my attention was drawn into a special offer given for American express card holders at John keels hotels. Hotels in the eastern coast (Chaaya Blu) was mostly full while it was difficult to enjoy a one day vacation when there was lot of travelling to do. So Chaaya wild was a bit too far for our criteria. As my family has not travelled yet on the new Southern expressway in Srilanka they asked me whether I could find a hotel in the south beach. Only Chaaya tranz and Bentota Beach hotel were the only JK hotels in this area. As I new that tranz was new It was my first preference but when I inquired from the hotel they told me that they were mostly full during the days I intended to stay. The hotel also requested me to contact their head office in Colombo to place a reservation. As the hotel told me that they were mostly full I thought of booking Bentota Beach Hotel for our vacation. The personal at the reservation office were very helpful and they were always at their best. Once again I changed certain details of our reservation and they still did not make a fuss about it either. Overtime I still felt that Chaaya Tranz would have been better option than Bentota beach because the latter hotel has not been refurbished recently so I contacted the reservation office once again to see whether they could find us rooms at the Chaaya Tranz. They were very happy to make the changes. I cannot still decide whether that decision I made was good to change the hotels as I have no experience at Bentota Beach Hotel, but I certainly know that it was not a bad choice. The reservation agents were very polite and they were very quick in making the necessary changes while they always did not fail to send me the updated reservation voucher within 5 minutes. They were very helpful especially when their online Internet payment gateway did not work they apologised greatly while they offered me another alternate method without hesitations. The best part of the reservations was that they confirmed the reservation with only my credit card number. Reservations were very easy at these John keeles hotels. Even after these changes were made I also wanted to make changes to the meal plan as we were expected to arrive at the hotel much earlier than we expected. The agents once again was not hesitant to make the respective changes. The updated reservation vouchers were sent and we were finally ready to spend our vacation at the Chaaya Tranz hotel in Hikkaduwa.
Just as a further confirmation I contact the hotel directly a day before our arrival just in case and they had all the necessary information at their finger tips. Unlike many other reservation systems used by other hotels Zhara HS used by JK hotels were very convenient. Another thing that I noticed is that the amount of time that I was put on hold during the telephone calls were of the minimum.
Finally the day arrived where we were to experience the rich Srilankan hospitality.We were booked to arrive for lunch and the hotel advised me to arrive around one as the buffet would close at two thirty.Upon arrival were welcomed warmly accompanied by cold towels and fresh fruit juice. The staff and the atmosphere was were welcoming and the staff directed us to the arrival lobby. We were asked to sit and await until the staff did all the procedures for the check in. Meanwhile as it was around two in the evening the hotel staff invited us to have lunch before they did the check in. We were directed through the newly designed and trendy lobby to the main restaurant. The buffet was served and it had a good spread. The buffet started with a range of salads and breads which was followed by a western and Srilankan dishes. The menu was ok and the tastes were acceptable. The desserts were quite better than the main courses especially the chocolate and white chocolate mousses. The staff was very friendly and they always was at our needs. After lunch we once again went to the reception to check in. The check in was smooth and and a guest relations representative escorted us to our rooms. Upon check in we were given a envelope with a welcome note from the manager and a small map of the hotel grounds. This was the first time I saw such thing from a hotel and mind you this gave a very welcoming and comfortable experience.
The first thing which was uncommon about the rooms a we're the room number tags outside the doors. I was very impressed to find them on the floor unlike on the doors or the side walls in other hotels. The rooms were very good and the designs suited the requirements. The bed runners made out of traditional tapestries and the many cushions and throw pillows on the bed made it look very comfortable. The rooms had everything we wanted. As we entered the closets was available on to the left which consisted of the laundry bags, cloth hangers and the digital safe. Proceeding further we could find the minibar which was well stocked and reasonable unlike other hotels which charge exorbitant prices for the mini bar. The hotel provided a good range of teas and coffee to be used within the rooms. Many other hotels in the Srilanka only provides English Breakfast tea whereas at Chaaya Tranz we were provided with normal black tea and even chamomile tea. Each tea or coffee making set also comprised of sweaters and coffee creamers. The bed room was well furnished with two big beds and a couch which could also be used as another bed. The linen was clean and neatly laid out. The room had a Tv and a DVD player. The only problem with the TV was the interactive system used by the hotel. Even though the system is convenient it is a bit difficult to switch it on. So every time we wanted to watch the TV we had to call the housekeeper to help operate it. The rooms were also included with a lot of other amnesties such as many mailing items. The bathrooms were not that great. The orange colour scheme did not go very well with the other pinks and the design was not very impressive. However the rain shower was very good. The bathrooms was also provided with many standard amenities such a soap, shampoo, sanitary disposal bags, shower caps etc... The best part of the rooms were the balconies. The design made it look like a private terrace and it had two chairs and a large sofa which could be used to relax whilst enjoying the views of the Indian ocean and the pool and hotel grounds below. The Air conditioning unit worked well and the windows always ensured that the sound of the waves gushing up the beach is kept away from the rooms. The hotel directory provided in the rooms drew up to my notice that the hotel has a DVD library were they lend us DVDs. We went to the reception and was also very impressed with that service.
The dinner and breakfast spreads was also very vast with a huge choice. Dinner included many action stations which was accompanied by a god buffet. The only inconvenience was the long queues at some action stations and that we could not order early and ask the waiters to deliver it to the table once each dish is ready. The best part about the breakfast was the sausages which they serve especially the pork sausages and bacon which was really good.
Check out was also quite quick and convenient. Overall we had a good and enjoyable stay at the chaaya Tranz. There is also a very good souvenir shop by the side of the lobby which has cheap and good souvenirs.
A BIG THANK YOU FOR ALL AT CHAAYA TRANZ WHO ENSURED THAT WE HAD A GOOD AND ENJOYABLE HOLIDAY.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 112 Km away from the bustling city of Colombo and located on the Southern shoreline of Sri Lanka is the district which offers a 24-hour party on the beach. Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon Hikkaduwa, rated a four star is built along the golden sands, calls out to all those who enjoy island-life and beach-life with a promise to pamper its guests with the Southern Sri Lankan hospitality. In each room there is a spacious private balcony looking out to a view of the Golden Belt of the South Coast. 2 family suites, 4 corner suites, 4 deluxe rooms, 140 superior rooms. Air conditioned and equipped with a DVD player, 32" LCD TV, WiFi, mini bar, safety deposit box, telephone with IDD, complimentary tea and coffee making facility, hair dryer and complimentary toiletries. Hotel facilities and services: a selection of dining venues, the main restaurant, specialty crab restaurant, pool restaurant and coffee shop. A lounge and pool bar that offers a wide array of local and international spirits, a roof-top spa facility, banquet hall and conference facility (300 to 500 pax). Moreover the hotel houses a freshwater swimming pool, PADI certified dive center and an excursion counter. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa Hotel Hikkaduwa
- Coral Gardens Hikkaduwa
- Coral Gardens Hotel Hikkaduwa