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.
- 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