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Hotel Mermaid & Club
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Reviewed 26 May 2014

We stayed at the Mermaid 5th to 20th May
What a wonderful place. Great staff, nothing too much trouble. Very clean rooms, in fact the whole place was immaculate. Food excellent and lots of choice. Can't wait to go again.
Mary H. Kenilworth

Room Tip: We were downstairs opposite the pool and we liked this, if you want more privacy we suggest a 2nd or 3rd floor room.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2014

Stayed here for two weeks and was ill most of time from food eaten. No help at all from Hotel. I informed them I was ill but they were not bothered at all. When I could not get to meals I used from Mini Bar and was charged a fortune for 2 small packs of crisps and a chocolate bar !! Flies everywhere when you went to bar area - snacks only fruit and horrible cakes and so called dried sandwiches made from left over food !! Coffee left for hours so that it was so stewed you could not drink it - But all staff talked to me on last day waiting for tips !!! Never go again even if they paid me - disgusting and it ruined my first trip to Sri Lanka - this place should be closed for health reasons

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank korcula
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Himaj J, General Manager - Marketing & Operations at Hotel Mermaid & Club, responded to this reviewResponded 29 May 2014

We refer to the reviewers comments. About the same time there were two other similar reviews. Allegations were diarrhea and vomiting. These are very serious allegations bordering on food poisoning and we decided to carry out a comprehensive investigation before posting our replies.

We have not had any similar incidents since commencing business since 1983.

Diarrhea/ loose stools can be due to consumption of food not agreeable to a person and will vary from person to person. This is the most common cause of diarrhea. Diarrhea arising from food poisoning is caused by contamination with pathogenic bacteria.

The outcome of the investigation is as follows;

1.In order to verify, we wrote to 13 guests via email who were staying during the same period to verify cases of possible diarrhea. There have not been adverse comments made by these guests about food.

2.In order to make verifications internally, we spoken to several of our staff members. During the period 6th to 12th May a very few guests have informed our staff of experiencing diarrhea/loose stools. When our staff had offered assistance, they have stated that it was minor and nothing serious and refused any assistance.

3.Since some reviewers claim that medication was obtained from the Beach boys, we also spoke to several Beach boys and the Beach boys informed that a very few guests informed of minor diarrhea/ loose stools. Beach Boys have not prescribed any medicine, but provided guests with a herbal remedy which is available off the shelf in many shops.

4.The Restaurant & Bar Manager had also spoken to a guest after receiving information from staff. Upon inquiring if assistance was required, guest had stated that it was minor and refused any assistance.

5.In order to verify from the booking sources of guests, we spoke all the Tour Representatives of the Tour Operators who visits the hotel to meet the guests. We have also spoken all Executives of the local agents who are locally handling Tour Operators. They have all confirmed that there have not been a single incident reported by in-house guests directly or through the foreign Tour Operator. This also confirms that there was no major issue.

6.The Chairman & Managing Director places a personally addressed welcome letter to all guests upon arrival. In the welcome letter the Chairman & Managing Director invites guests to contact the General Manager or any of the other Department Managers for any assistance. For convenience telephone extensions numbers of Managers are provided in the letter. No guest in the hotel had contacted the management to raise any issue pertaining diarrhea or vomiting.

All this confirms that there was only a minor stomach disagreement with a few guests which is common when consuming food that one is generally not used to.

We believe that the probable cause of diarrhea/ loose stools experienced by these few guests may have been due to spices and chili in some of the dishes or some other food that did not agree with them.

There were several other guests staying at the hotel and other recent reviews on TripAdvisor by guests who had stayed during similar periods have not had any such issues.

We categorically deny that there was any food poisoning caused by contamination with pathogenic bacteria.

The hotel is currently closed for a refurbishment. One the major activities amongst several other improvements is the upgrading of the kitchen and food service in order to qualify for ISO 22’000 Food Safety Certification, which is only awarded to a handful of resort hotels in Sri Lanka. We hope to obtain ISO Certification about September 2014.

Thank you

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2014

As everyone says, all the staff are fantastically friendly and helpful and I am not happy in having to criticize the hotel and possibly jeopardise their jobs but after reading the managers’ response to Kat Plumb, I must give my views. Not once in our 3 week stay did the manager introduce himself to us despite the reception staff recognising us from our previous visit, he stayed very aloof.
We did inform the hotel staff of being ill; the usual response was “have you eaten outside”(which we hadn’t). My wife was advised by the restaurant staff to drink black coffee with lime juice and what to eat or not. They were very helpful and kind to her (but apparently did nothing to inform the management?). My wife even lost weight while at the Mermaid which is a first. I was ill on two days, my wife for many days. My own cure for diarrhoea (Gin & Tonic) worked well so I carried on with the treatment for many many days. It is true that guests were getting a local remedy from beach boy Suresh. There was one day when everyone we knew was ill and in all 3 weeks there was not one person that we knew who was not ill with diarrhoea. I was not aware of anyone vomiting. The food especially the desserts and the bread should have been covered. Neither did we inform our representative; hygiene is the hotels’ responsibility.
We were very happy with the food in our first week but after that it became very repetitive and in our third week it became very difficult to get excited about lunch or dinner (breakfast never changes anywhere).
The waiters in the restaurant would stockpile glasses of beer at lunch and dinner so when you ask for a beer it has been sitting in the heat for too long and it’s not nice getting a warm flat beer, yuk!
The fresh bread in the mornings was lovely especially with the bacon, fantastic. There was never a queue for eggs at breakfast. If the chef did ask diners’ opinions he did not ask ours and when I did ask the chef to serve the mint sauce (which I hate) separately from the lamb at dinner, I was ignored.
My wife thought the aromatherapy was fantastic and excellent value for money.
We had great fun playing water polo and bowls, the animation team were fantastic. There were always plenty of sun-beds but all too often we had to wait for towels and mattresses. Why can they not be put outside where guests could help themselves?
The grounds were kept very clean and tidy but my lasting memory is the flies, possibly because of the time of year. Yes there was some mud by the pool but that was because of the rain, not the hotels fault. Likewise, the beach does not belong to the hotel. It is true that there was decorating in the bar on one or two days but it was never problem for us.
We were never approached by staff for tips.
As for Poya day, it is true that the hotel is not allowed to serve alcohol, but unlike other hotels there was no attempt to “help” guests “acquire” alcohol the previous day. They obviously saw it as an opportunity to make money out of all-inclusive guests who have already paid for their drinks. We were told by staff that if the police or the army did inspect the hotel, they would not be concerned with guests drinking alcohol. But it’s not just Poya Day, there is also Labour Day and our leaving day was also a “holiday” when no alcohol would be served.
Also it is not true that we were informed at the time of booking of Poya Day or any other “holiday” when alcohol would not be served. If I had I would have changed my holiday dates. I shall be taking this up with Mercury Direct.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Martin I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Himaj J, General Manager - Marketing & Operations at Hotel Mermaid & Club, responded to this reviewResponded 29 May 2014

We refer to the reviewers comments. About the same time there were two other similar reviews. Allegations were diarrhea and vomiting. These are very serious allegations bordering on food poisoning and we decided to carry out a comprehensive investigation before posting our replies.

We have not had any similar incidents since commencing business since 1983.

Diarrhea/ loose stools can be due to consumption of food not agreeable to a person and will vary from person to person. This is the most common cause of diarrhea. Diarrhea arising from food poisoning is caused by contamination with pathogenic bacteria.

The outcome of the investigation is as follows;

1.In order to verify, we wrote to 13 guests via email who were staying during the same period to verify cases of possible diarrhea. There have not been adverse comments made by these guests about food.

2.In order to make verifications internally, we spoken to several of our staff members. During the period 6th to 12th May a very few guests have informed our staff of experiencing diarrhea/loose stools. When our staff had offered assistance, they have stated that it was minor and nothing serious and refused any assistance.

3.Since some reviewers claim that medication was obtained from the Beach boys, we also spoke to several Beach boys and the Beach boys informed that a very few guests informed of minor diarrhea/ loose stools. Beach Boys have not prescribed any medicine, but provided guests with a herbal remedy which is available off the shelf in many shops.

4.The Restaurant & Bar Manager had also spoken to a guest after receiving information from staff. Upon inquiring if assistance was required, guest had stated that it was minor and refused any assistance.

5.In order to verify from the booking sources of guests, we spoke all the Tour Representatives of the Tour Operators who visits the hotel to meet the guests. We have also spoken all Executives of the local agents who are locally handling Tour Operators. They have all confirmed that there have not been a single incident reported by in-house guests directly or through the foreign Tour Operator. This also confirms that there was no major issue.

6.The Chairman & Managing Director places a personally addressed welcome letter to all guests upon arrival. In the welcome letter the Chairman & Managing Director invites guests to contact the General Manager or any of the other Department Managers for any assistance. For convenience telephone extensions numbers of Managers are provided in the letter. No guest in the hotel had contacted the management to raise any issue pertaining diarrhea or vomiting.

All this confirms that there was only a minor stomach disagreement with a few guests which is common when consuming food that one is generally not used to.

We believe that the probable cause of diarrhea/ loose stools experienced by these few guests may have been due to spices and chili in some of the dishes or some other food that did not agree with them.

There were several other guests staying at the hotel and other recent reviews on TripAdvisor by guests who had stayed during similar periods have not had any such issues.

We categorically deny that there was any food poisoning caused by contamination with pathogenic bacteria.

The hotel is currently closed for a refurbishment. One the major activities amongst several other improvements is the upgrading of the kitchen and food service in order to qualify for ISO 22’000 Food Safety Certification, which is only awarded to a handful of resort hotels in Sri Lanka. We hope to obtain ISO Certification about September 2014.

Thank you

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2014 via mobile

Stayed here for 2 weeks in May 2014. Although staff were friendly (although every single one hung around waiting for a tip on the last day) and the rooms were clean and cool, the food was extremely poor. Old meat, flies all over food, no air conditioning in restaurant so all fruits warm and no effort to cover these or desserts. Candles round these made the problem even worse. Uneaten food reused in different ways for days. Horrible dish concoctions. A La Carte menu nice but shame you have to pay for a decent meal... All people myself included had diarrhoea and sickness issues for pretty much the whole holiday. One day 7 people were throwing up at the same time and one party asked the beach boys for medicine. Disappointed that renovation work due to start when hotel closed on 20th may began early, so some days were spent listening to chainsaws for 8 hours or having people paint in bar whilst guests relaxing. Non inclusive cocktails supposedly containing Bacardi etc actually contained local spirits. Pool dirty. Beach filthy and covered in rubbish and dog faeces. Area around pool muddy. Flies everywhere all day, and most areas infested with ants. Service charge for putting a can of diet coke in fridge. Mini bar ridiculous. Entertainment poor. On Poya Day no alcohol in public though you can pay triple the price the day before for a bottle of local beer. Bottled water not used for supposed environmental reasons, but you could pay for it. Water from machines provided but warm and tasted awful after being put in old flasks. Will be complaining to our tour operator. If it wasn't for the sunshine and the people we met who felt exactly the same, it would have been a complete disaster, to the point where we and others were considering flying somewhere else. Cannot understand all the great reviews at all. Stay somewhere else and get your value for money!

  • Stayed: May 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Kat_LDN0365
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dilip S, General Manager at Hotel Mermaid & Club, responded to this reviewResponded 21 May 2014

We thank the reviewer for their stay at Mermaid Hotel & Club and commending our staff.

The reviewers comments made on food is untrue. Our menu operates on a 3 week cycle to avoid repetition of food for long stay guests and we never recycle food. During the period the reviewer was staying with us, there were about 60 other guests staying with us and no guest had commented negatively on our food or beverage services. The reviewer had special food requests and all requests had been catered for by our Chef. Most guests who stayed during this period have very positively commented on our food and it's variation. We have not received any complaint of guests having diarrhea or vomiting and the reviewers allegations are untrue. The tour representative of the reviewer who visited the hotel is unaware of the issues raised by the reviewer or other guests.

We have made arrangements to close the hotel on 20th May 2014 for an upgrading, but we have not advanced the renovation work. The reviewer’s comment made on a sound of a saw was to remove a fallen tree at the entrance of the hotel and had nothing to do with refurbishment work been advanced.

A la carte is not included under All Inclusive entitlements and this information is clearly published in all tour operator information sheets as well as the hotels information sheets which are provided to guests. Furthermore all-inclusive package consists of locally produced alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages. The additional services obtained from Mini bar or foreign liquor/wines is not included under All Inclusive. Further, an information sheet of the package entitlements of all inclusive is always given to all our guests on arrival for their easy references and entitlements on All inclusive is also provided by the tour operator.

By law all hotels are required to refrain from serving alcoholic beverages on Full Moon Poya days and this information too is provided by the tour operator at the time of booking.

Had the reviewer raised their concerns during their stay to the management or the tour representative, we could have rectified these issues.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2014

Not an impressive entrance but from the time you alight its great care shown to small detail that leaves a lasting memory.Free snacks throughout day time tastes well, well appointed bathroom with shaving mirror at a height to suit a midget to a giraffe and green soap,variation in meals while the stand out is the caring attention of the staff. Animators enthuse activity for all ages.Not much consideration for those under 6- water mark too high in the pool/no floaters and no video room.In my two days saw 3 kids under 4 years kept away from the pool which is a parents hazard.

Hotel is active till midnight since free booze is splashed around.The bar area needs a TV with sports channel for the silent tippler.

Room Tip: Avoid ground floor rooms unless you want the beach at your feet.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank ruvinivavuniya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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