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“November Holiday”
Review of Club Hotel Dolphin

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Club Hotel Dolphin
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Waikkal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 December 2013

On arrival the transfer was ok, just be aware of the baggage boys as you exit the arrivals lounge, they will politely offer to carry your cases/push your trolley only to request a substantial tip as you get outside, it’s not far and a firm but polite “No” will suffice.
The trip from the airport to the hotel is approximately 40 minutes and on arrival the normal procedures are completed. We upgraded when booking the holiday to a Superior Sea View room and were initially allocated Room Number 206, a sea view yes, if you call four degrees of sea in view whilst craning your neck around the adjoining room, the balcony was also tiny. After returning to reception and viewing another two rooms, not acceptable we finally compromised and we were given room number 324. The hotel is totally transparent about Sea View and Superior Sea View, their prices are in reception, the virgin site however is not, ensure you ask the question. The room serves a purpose and has all the required amenities expected with no hot water issues at all. Housekeeping requires more training on attention to detail, like cleaning under beds, replacing used towels and shower gels etc.
Our Virgin holiday Rep, Shirley (male) gave an average brief on day two of the holiday and we never saw or heard from him again till our last day when we received a phone call after his refusal to arrange our leaving brief from Friday to Saturday as I was away diving Friday morning. Any issues you may have find Thyagi, the hotel Customer Relations Manager who is a pro-active, polite and very efficient.
Previous comments on this thread complain about works being undertaken which during our two week stay were increased due to a large reception at the hotel on Sunday 1 Dec 13. Yes there are construction noises at times during the day but this does not overpower the music in the pool bar and compliments to the hotel on continually trying to improve the hotels appearance.
The pools and adjoining bars are excellent and kept immaculately clean on a daily basis. The sea however can be rough with a steep slope with crashing waves, strong swimmer advisable. They have created a groin which does allow for a sheltered swim however the waves are still present. The sand is very course. The pool bars reduce the strain on the bar staff by having permanent access to the soft drinks machines, this is a fantastic idea, wish all inclusive deals/hotels did the same.
The food at all meal times within the restaurant was varied and caters for all tastes. Yes at times things were not as hot as you may like it but there was always a chef on hand at the hotplate to flash it in the pan for the required heat effect. The selection of local food was available and with varying heats and spices. For those of you with a sweet tooth the deserts were excellent. A special mention goes to Madumi who was always so happy, smiling and very efficient when serving us in the restaurant.
The animation team have a fine mixture of individuals who do walk around asking for volunteers for the daily activities and again a “No” is sufficient for them to find willing participants. A mention here to Richie, Pali, Kumar & Jimmy who are fantastic sports and engage with all nationalities.
The hotel has a predominately German/Russian clientele but we had no issues at all throughout the holiday.
We went on two trips with Asda Tours, (you can find them to right of the hotel on the beach). We did the Tuk Tuk, Train and Boat Trip to and from Negombo (half day) and the Elephant Orphanage & Rides, Kandy Temple, Spice Garden and Tea Factory (one day). Well organised and the information throughout given by Nishan is excellent who also pulls out all the stops to get tickets to feed the baby elephants at the orphanage.
Be aware at the elephant orphanage when they are taken to be bathed in the river and you are invited down to wash them, many people take up the offer only to be hounded for a tip by the staff (they are currently asking for 2000 Rupees (£10) for a two minute back scrub). One couple were hounded up the street as they refused to pay, good on them.
Overall the holiday was enjoyable, the local people were fantastic, lovely people who could not do enough for you, always with a smile on their face.
I would return to this hotel again as they are heading in the right direction, the attention to detail throughout could improve, but hey, this tourism thing is only 5-6 years in the making after the end of the countries’ civil war.
The only real negatives all stem from Virgin Holidays and their sub standard customer relations services.

Room Tip: Ensure you ensure that when your tour operator sells you a Sea view room ensure that it is.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Lee S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 November 2013

Where to start is the question....

We went for our short honeymoon of 9 days to his hotel. It was really beautiful, as good if not better than any 4star European hotel.
We stayed in a garden bungalow, as unfortunately all the sea view ones were booked up and we were a but last minute as we just decided to go there about 3 weeks before.
The hotel is being refurbished, but most of the work is completed, and the ongoing work that is left does not affect the stay at all, but they should be completely finished in a couple of weeks.

As it was our honeymoon, we went for the "gold package" all inclusive, which allowed us a few extras which were not on the normal all inclusive. The nice thing about this, has to be that you can eat in the a la carte restaurant, seafood market & snack bar and it includes wine with your meals. We also had a private tour to Waikkal and Negombo which was also very nice. However, there is a very good buffet restaurant and should you wish to try the seafood restaurant or the waves restaurant it is not so expensive to do so.

My only downside with the area, was that the beach was not exactly as I had expected, it was very nice but it was a bit rough, ( this may be as it was end of monsoon season though) and that the sand was also rough. However there is 2 pools. 1 bigger one and another quieter one. We heard the nicer beaches are in the south, but with the roads, traveling a long distance is difficult.

We also took two tours, one via our tour rep to Sigiriya, which we were disappointed with. And 1 from a local guide called Edward to Kandy, he has a small shop to the left of the main pool called Tesco.. The price from all the external guides are about the same but after taken the one from the tour rep in the hotel, Edwards tour was much better. Not to miss tours would be to Sigiriya and to Kandy which also includes an elephant ride and if you want you can also wash one.Be advised to bring some small notes for tipping as the people working in the tea plantations, factory etc. earn very little money - about €2-3 per day. 100 rupees is about 60c.

All in all, we had a wonderful time, and would love to make it back there.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank Janet T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2013

Had the most fantastic 10 days at the club dolphin, we stayed in one of the newly refurbished superior sea view rooms, the room boys do a amaizing job as do all the staff so friendly and helpful, we really enjoyed the wide choice of food and fab puddings. Some of the hotel was still undergoing some building work so some of the hotel was unavailable for most of our holiday but this didn't effect our stay , the work was completed a couple of days before we left and were fortunate to be given a tour of the improvements and carnt wait to return next year. We booked 3 trips with asda tours ( hi to thamel ) I was with my friend and our 2 daughters and thamel and Gary really looked after us we would highly recommend asda tours great service and excellent value for money, we did the elephant orphanage,(brilliant) tuk tuk to fish market train trip and boat ride (£10 each bargain) amaizing day, train ride is an experience not to be missed, we also did a 2 day safari to Yale national park, nothing was to much trouble for the asda team and they made our holiday one we will never forget

  • Stayed: October 2013
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1  Thank Pamelabally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

Visited Dolphin Hotel in November and found the accommodation to be excellent, we stayed in a superior sea view room which had been refurbished to a high standard, our only criticism was the position of the toilet which did not leave a lot of room between the it and the shower.
There was a wide choice of food at all meals, yes you could have curry at every meal or choose more European cuisine, we enjoyed both. Also the sweets were delicious, top marks for the ginger and date pudding.
We booked a day trip to the Elephant Orphanage and Kandy with Sam the Hayes and Jarvis rep from the Hotel which was excellent and we also booked a Tuk Tuk, Train and River Boat tour into Negambo with Harry from Asda Tours (off the beach) this was a super half day trip and excellent value for money NOT TO BE MISSED.
The Hotel staff were all friendly and helpful as were the locals.
A very enjoyable holiday and one we would highly recommend.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jenx2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2013

An experience never to be forgotten. We spent the first week of our honeymoon at this hotel and there were plenty of positives:
Great Service
Great food
Lovely sea view villa - good vantage point for amazing sunsets
Clean rooms (room boys do a good job)
But a few negatives:
Stray dogs - around the pool and beach
Horses kept next to the spa (can ruin a nice peaceful massage)
Monkey chained up on beach - not to mention Mr Asda and Mr Tesco trying to sell excursions ALL of the time!
Hint - we went with Virgin - the rep was very annoying!!

Room Tip: Sea view villa's definitely worth the extra. 57 was great
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Simona326
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 November 2013

I booked this holiday for Semptember as a special holiday of a lifetime for my partner and myself but sadly it was not to be. Although I was informed on booking there were renovations going on we were assured it would not affect our holiday. On arrival we found that the large pool which is one of the reasons we came and features prominently in the advertising for this hotel was not usable due to building work and various facilities were not available.If we had known this we would not have booked. As with another review which prompted this one the food was always luke warm and never improved although mentioned often to the staff. However the staff and the Sea view villa were very nice. I booked the sea view villa and paid extra to make this a holiday to remember as it was my first trip abroad for over 47 years so I was upset to find people upgraded for free because there was not room in the main block. Also if you do book a Sea view villa be prepared for a bit of flooding when it rains. So make sure if you are thinking of coming to Club Dolphin that everything is in order. Best of luck. Disappointed!!

Room Tip: If you want a good view book sea view villa.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank John I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLML, General Manager at Club Hotel Dolphin, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2013

Dear Guest,

We are happy to hear that you liked the service of our staff and the villa rooms situated on the beachfront.

We are saddened to hear that you felt disappointed with your stay with us during middle to end of October 2013, predominantly due to the activity pool (large pool) being closed down for refurbishment. We are concerned as to why you did not have access to this information at the time you made the reservation as we had clearly informed our partners selling our property in the UK which facilities will be effected and how long the renovation is expected to be carried out. If you could provide us an opportunity to connect with you direct by email or phone, we would like to pass on your sentiments to the travel agent you made your reservation, hoping they would provide an explanation to you regarding the miscommunication. However we understand your disappointment and hope you will not hold this incident against us.

Further regarding the room upgrades, yes a few room changes did take place because the initial block of refurbished superior room which were released had a few teething issues. I hope you will agree that this was to deal with a situation which arose as an exception.

We have noted the point you made regarding the food serving temperature. Our executive chef is already reviewing the food temperatures and will take necessary action to improve the temperature inspections that take place during the main meal servings. We are also sorry that you had a little bit of water coming into your villa, which rarely ever happens, but if at all, only during very heavy monsoon rains. We do apologies for any inconveniences you experienced and hope this would not discourage you from returning to us in the future.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any assistance in the future and thank you once again for sharing your feedback with us.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Ludwig,
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2013

i think dissapointed is a apt discription of our holiday
we travelled with another couple and we are all 60 plus
we arrived back in england on the 1st of november having spent two weeks in the hotel
the couple we travelled with rob and sue had visited the hotel before some years ago and said that it was a very good hotel.we were informed by our travel company that renovations would be completed before we arrived unfortunately they were not,only the bar at the small pool and a bar close to reception were open,rooms were very good and well looked after by the room boys,animation team seemed to take turns doing the animation and working on the building site.
but did a good job with games round the pool.the food was varied but a lot of the times it was cold in the tureens even with the tea lights lit beneath them,was it cooked and left in the kitchen cooling before it was put on the tea lights? overall the staff in the resturant were friendly and efficient.on the dining experience our friends that had been to the hotel before had a red band whilst ours was blue rob and sue got a free glass of wine with dinner we had to buy ours.another
point it seems that a religious festival once a month the hotel cannot serve alchol on particular festival days even though we paid for all inclusive months ago,and guess what in room fridges had beer so we drank them on the festival day and yes we were charged.taxi guy at gate godfrey is genuine nice guy,been to a lot of all inclusives mexico cuba dominican mauritius and carribean don!t think club dolphin is on my list to visit again

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank dannyboyCastleford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLML, General Manager at Club Hotel Dolphin, responded to this reviewResponded 18 November 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking time to sharing your valuable thoughts and views regarding your recent stay with us. We are happy to hear that you liked the rooms and found the service of our associates to be friendly and efficient. .

We have noted your comment about the ongoing refurbishment during your stay from middle to end of October 2013. We are surprised that the correct information had not got communicated to you as we had informed all our travel partners well in advance about the refurbishment with a detailed time frame of work. If you could provide us an opportunity to connect with you direct by email or phone, we would like to pass on your sentiments to the travel agent you made your reservation, hoping they would provide an explanation to you regarding the miscommunication. However we understand your disappointment and hope you will not hold this incident against us.

It was indeed a pleasure to welcome back Rob and Sue to their second home and as a small gesture of goodwill, we have a special program for repeating guests to our property. This enables us to express our gratitude for the continuous patronage of our resort by our valued repeat guests and we hope you will provide us the chance to extend these treatments to you if you decide to return to us.

Once again, thank you for sharing your feedback and we hope that you will stay with us again next time you are in Sri Lanka.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Ludwig,
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Club Hotel Dolphin

Address: Kammala South | St. Sebastian Mawatha, Waikkal 61110, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Region: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Waikkal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Waikkal
Price Range: £71 - £181 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Club Hotel Dolphin 4*
Number of rooms: 154
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Here on Sri Lanka's golden west coast, we believe that every moment of your time spent with us is precious. . Precisely why we offer a host of facilities for your comfort and opportunities for you and your loved ones to enjoy an unforgettable stay with us in Sri Lanka. Whether you want to PLAY or PAUSE you can have the best of both worlds at Club Hotel Dolphin Waikkal. Our hotel is known to be the ultimate family beach holiday destination in the region.. PAUSE... Find a place under the swaying coconut palms, and re-discover that inner peace that you've been missing for so long. Take a long walk on the golden beach. Enjoy the sensation of curling your toes in the pure sands and revel in the warmth of the sun on your skin. Lie back and listen to the soothing roar of the waves as you slip into a deep state of relaxation at the spa. PLAY... Dive into Sri Lanka's longest swimming pool and score the winning point at water polo! Hit the gym, or take a water aerobics class. Say yes to adventure! Learn to paddle a kayak and explore the mangroves, or feel the wind whistle past, as you see the world from horseback trekking along the beach. Enjoy top notch entertainment and live shows, indulge in beach-side BBQ s and delicious buffets, take time for a romantic meal for two under the moon and stars... Whether you want to PLAY or PAUSE at Club Dolphin you can enjoy the very best of both worlds... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dolphin Hotel Waikkal
Club Hotel Dolphin Sri Lanka/Waikkal
Dolphin Hotel Sri Lanka

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