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“Perfect Place to Watch the Elephants Bathe!”
Review of Hotel Elephant Bay

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Hotel Elephant Bay
Ranked #4 of 12 Pinnawala B&B and Inns
Brisbane
Level Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Perfect Place to Watch the Elephants Bathe!”
Reviewed 2 May 2014

This hotel would have to be the perfect location from which to witness the incredible spectacle of the elephants bathing. Its location is also within walking distance of the elephant orphanage. The staff are friendly and eager to please and the food, although fairly basic, was beautifully presented and tasty.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Trisha48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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216 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
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English first
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2014

My 8yr old son and I stayed here for 3 nights. We went around and about the area for most of the day (Kandy and the like) but it was very special to come back every afternoon to watch the elephants bathing. Make sure you ask for a Lake View room. To be honest, I think they are all Lake Views, BUT we specified we wanted one and paid a little bit more for it and the room was HUGE with a great balcony and huge windows so we could watch the elephants from our room!
I don't know what the other accommodation in Pinawalla is like, but I'd hazard a guess that anything along the river bank is about the same standard. If I was comparing to a city hotel I'd have given it an 'average' review as there were some elements that let it down, but for the rural location I think they do very well.
It's a little bit tired around the edges to be fair, and there don't appear to be many staff which means it's not as sparkly clean as some people would expect. I personally thought the restaurant was average although we did have some OK meals. Breakfast was appalling though. The staff were very friendly and (once they understood what I wanted - English standard isn't great) they couldn't do enough to help. No wifi in the rooms, but then, you're in rural Sri Lanka, what do you expect. Great value for money and could be amazing with just a little investment.

Room Tip: Pay a bit extra for the 'Lake View Room'. MUCH bigger and you can see the elephants from the...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Vanuavixen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
42 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2014

1- My toddler son had the time of his life as he got the chance to watch by the bay elephants bathing in the river. The gentle giants were brought from the elephant orphanage to bathe twice a day & are left in the water for a couple of hours. We were able to sit on steps or chairs that were available on the balcony of the hotel & observe these amazing creatures for hours.

2- We weren't so keen on how the elephant guards went about poking, inflicting pain with a sharp-ended stick from time to time. Almost as if putting on a show at the cost of unnecessary pain.

3- We stayed a night & it was quite peaceful, just a handful of tourists by nightfall. We had a room overlooking the beautiful river.

4- The food was nothing much. At Dinner we were able to taste just salt, salt & more salt.
5- Staff was a bit rude in getting us to shift to smaller tables in far corners as their priority were batches of tourists visiting the hotel for lunch. At one point I had to stand my ground saying we should not be moved unless it was a table with a 'reserved' sign on it. As it was Sri Lankan New Year (April), some of the staff was under the influence & was quite argumentative.

6- Even if you get a room with a view you will not be given a table with a view. The staff will ensure that as the the agents that bring tourist groups have an 'understanding' with them. ???

7- There's no Manager after dusk.
8- Food orders will be taken down incorrectly & insist that this was what we ordered.
9- Watch out for flies on every morsel of food, on your plates, napkins, drinks. It was terrible shooing away flies as we tried to sit down for a nice breakfast on New Years' day (14/04/2014).
10- It was quite a task to be able to lock & unlock the room-door without cutting & injuring fingers.
11- The curtains had come off the railing & not fixed. Towels were terrible. I wouldn't wipe my dog with it.
12- Bed linen ok, basic & not fitting the mattress.

13- The shops closed by 4-5pm and the area is dead.
14- We spent quite a bit of time on our private balcony overlooking the river till sunset.
15- The tourist shop in front of the hotel road has a few mementos for sale which isn't so pricey.
16- Hotel needs improvement in many areas including better graded staff.

It's a must in 'to do list' when travelling to Sri Lanka. I mean the Elephant watching in natural surroundings. And the Elephant orphanage on the main road.

Room Tip: Even if you get a room with a view you will not be given a table with a view. The staff will ensure...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Amali R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Port Coquitlam, Canada
Level Contributor
149 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2014

hotel right on the river where the elephants bathe twice a day. get a room facing the river and see them walk across the river to bathe mere metres from where you can dine. hotel is old but comfortable, internet available only in lobby, but works if you need it. food is good and authentic.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Garry H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2014 via mobile

It's a really very ideal place to see the pinnawala eliphant orphanage. Eventhough its not a large proprty it is maintained properly.It is situated very close to the river where all the orphanage elephants takes bath in the mid day. You can have a close view of the giants while taking bath. Frequented mainly by tourists from foreign countries so the menus are western most of the time.

Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank srishan75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2014

A party of five of us had a day to explore Sri Lanka. We arrived on a cruise ship and hired a driver to take us to see the elephants. When we arrived they were down at the river. The best way to view them was from the hotel cafe, which was basic but fine. We elected to dine in the hotel main dining area which all together was simply a higher class. The dining area was set out as though they were expecting a wedding party,white linen covers on the tables and chairs. We sat at the table with the best view, Had one of the finest vegetarian curries ever overlooking the river and elephants. The price came to 10 us. Dollars a head which for us was the best deal ever. If you are visiting this is the way to view the elephants in style with great food to boot.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sanny1571
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St Andrews
Level Contributor
155 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 April 2014

We wanted to stay in a hotel overlooking the elephant orphanage bathing pools so we took a risk on this hotel against the advice of our travel agent. I chose between 2 hotels from the internet . Well in spite of what it said it was not very friendly for those who have difficulty in negotiating lots of stairs. Our room was fine but we had to negotiate lots of stairs and hidden steps. At one point I almost killed myself as I did not see a step. The dinner was a curry. Drinks selection apart from beer was very limited . For only one night and the bonus of seeing the elephants first thing in the morning it was ok.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Nick946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Elephant Bay

Property: Hotel Elephant Bay
Address: Hotel Elephant Bay Road, Pinnawala, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Sabaragamuwa Province > Pinnawala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 12 B&Bs / Inns in Pinnawala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Hotel Elephant Bay 2*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Pinnawala, Hotel Elephant Bay is right across from the famous elephant orphanage. It provides rooms with large private balconies and spectacular views of Ma Oya River.Rooms are bright and airy, with simple decor and furnishings. They feature a flat-screen cable TV, a tea/coffee maker and private bathroom facilities.Guests can enjoy leisurely strolls in the tropical garden or make use of the hotel’s sun terrace. The Elephant Bay Hotel offers bike rental facilities for guests’ convenience. Various activities like hiking and fishing are available.Ivory Inn Restaurant serves international dishes. Room service is provided.The Elephant Bay Hotel is a 70-minute drive from Bandaranaike International Airport and a 2-hour drive from Colombo. It is an easy drive to cities like Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Elephant Bay Sri Lanka/Pinnawala

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