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“Deleted holiday photos to erase a bad memory”

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Ranweli Holiday Village
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Waikkal
Reviewed 31 August 2014

We decided to fly down to Sri Lanka for a weekend break. Let's start with the good points: we arrived late at night and fell in love with the place. The setting is wonderful, the rooms are large and well equipped. The staff are friendly but not very helpful. Then we discovered we were not going to get a good night's sleep because of the barking stray dogs roaming the resort site. We complained and the staff tried to scare the dogs away but the dogs were braver than the staff. We complained again in the morning and we were promised action. At 2 am the following night we were awakened again by the dogs and this time when I complained to the reception staff they simply laughed at me. They did manage to scare the dogs away but the dogs returned the 3rd night. Luckily we were checking out the following day after a disastrous weekend in our favourite holiday country.

The Internet is painfully slow and makes dial up modem internet seem very fast. It took 4 minutes to download 3 emails. Websites are impossible to access. Internet is only accessible in the public area and is not available in the rooms.

The food is catered for those tourists on a full or half board vacation; i.e. buffet food. My wife and I wanted a la carte but our food did not arrive until all the other tourists had finished their buffet, approximate one hour after ordering our choice from the menu. This was probably due to the staff giving priority to the buffet and refilling of the buffet tables. The a la carte food is, at best, mediocre. The meat was overcooked and very dry. I did not try the buffet so I am unable to offer a comment on the quality of that offering.

Service is only marginal. 15 minutes to get an espresso coffee; 20 minutes for 2 glasses of water. Another occasion it took asking 5 members of staff for a glass of milk and a 15 minute wait.

When you sign for your food and beverages you are charged in Euros. However, when you check out you are charged in SL rupees. The applied exchange rate means they charge, for example, €6 for a €4 drink. You can easily check this by looking up the exchange rates using a smartphone app and back-calculating the cost.

Then when you come to leave you have to endure the vulture taxi drivers waiting to overcharge you for a trip to the airport. The normal cost is Rs. 1900 but those carrion beasts started at Rs. 7000 before a lot of negotiating brought them down to Rs. 2000.

Room Tip: Choose a beachfront villa
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank original_pominoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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277 - 283 of 772 reviews

Reviewed 30 August 2014

We stayed for two weeks in July and wanted a resort not too far from the Airport (30 minutes) and not in Negombo. Ranweli suited us well. My husband has to keep out of the sun, and the covered walkways were a brilliant idea (would also be good in the rain!). We just wanted to chill out. Nice pool, never had a problem getting loungers. No night life other than a piano. Nice lot of wildlife. Do go on the canal boat trip it was great fun and we saw a lot of animals.

Food was repeated after one week, a shame as it got a bit repetitive. Food cooked at the 'station' was always the best be it at breakfast or dinner. Otherwise fairly standard Sri Lanka buffet that you get all over the island. Agree with other reviewer that the puddings got boring, except for the steamed item.
Staff in restaurant always helpful. They were very helpful one day when I was not feeling well, and sent a boy over to my room with some juice.

Room: we had the upgrade to a superior room, if you are staying for more than a day or two (some people used the hotel as an arrival or departure hotel pre or post tour) highly recommend that you pay the extra as it is worth it for the extra space. Nice bit of shaded, outside space, with two loungers. We were near the rocky end of the beach and did not mind this at all. It was fun to see the fisherman and his catch.

Highly recommend the spa for massages. Extremely good value for money. It is currently in the old building, so is colonial in style. Hope they keep the style when it is moved.

Change up some money at the airport when you arrive, you will need it for tips and bottles of water etc. You cannot use the rupees at the airport duty free, so make sure you use them up before you leave, unless you are coming back to Sri Lanka.

Would stay here again for a few days before leaving for the airport. If you want an upmarket hotel, try the Fortress in Koggala. Excellent rooms - but get upgraded room, the basic ones are a bit enclosed.

Room Tip: Worth the money for larger/superior room, unless you are on a budget
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank roslyn105
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2014

All staff incredibly helpful and friendly - a perfect retreat for couples but I really wish it had a beach with swimmable sea in august.
It is close to some of the key sites such as Kandy and easy to get to airport and good night life close by !
Good value for money I believe and I think in few years after more upgrade work etc it really will be a very special hotel.

Room Tip: Deluxe sea facing bungalows are wroth it ! Such a beautiful room but wifi currently only available a...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Grant S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2014

Just returned from a two week stay. The Hotel is undergoing a lot of maintenance, but nothing that interferes with your stay. The Hotel is situated on a sand bar separated from the mainland by a River. Access to the Hotel is by punted Barge which is available 24/7 and goes back and forth. The Hotel staff were extremely friendly and couldn't do enough for you. The Room a superior sea facing bungalow, was kept clean, the room very spacious and wet room en-suite bathroom.
The Pool area was also kept clean and the pool staff were friendly and efficient, however they had a habit of saving the best beds for the German guest, blocking out areas for other Pool users, even though they didn't turn up until lunch, if at all.
The pool side Bar staff were a little inefficient, and caught on stood up,a sleep, we had to shut at him to et his attention.
The lounge area is pleasant enough and the only evening entertainment is a musician, the saxophonist being the best. There is no other entertainment. The Hotel is extremely quiet and wont suit every one, but is great for relaxing.
The only nearby eatery is Anthony's just across the river (see other review).
The Hotel food is very good with a good selection of Curries as well as other main courses. The starters are excellent. The hotel also has two Chefs at every service, cooking alternative fresh food to order. We enjoyed the tempora seafood and Milk batter chicken (a bit like Kentucky fried). Deserts were pretty much the same each sitting, a good choice of mediocre dishes, however there were some gems like the different steamed pudding (especially Irish bread pudding and Omali) Fresh fruit was always available.
Restaurant staff were excellent and very attentive.
Wildlife is in abundance within the hotel grounds, with Large Monitor Lizards and a fantastic selection of Birds.
The Hotel has wifi which ca be annoying as the signal varies, it is easy to access in the Bar/reception area and around the Pool area. There is a strong WiFi signal in the rooms however for some reason you can not access it.

Overall an extremely good Hotel if you want Peace and Quiet. Do not go expecting a wild Night life, there is NONE. It is definitely a place for relaxation.
There is a beach of sorts however it slopes at 45' with a sea that has a very strong undertow, which makes it extremely dangerous to get out of.
If you want to see the local area arrange your trips through Anthony's just outside the main gate. Excellent value trips at a good price.
Last thing is Currency, we were advised to take US dollars as Sri Lankan rupees are not available to take from the UK. DONT take US Dollars, if you are from UK take stirling GBP. you get a much better value and is accepted every where. Do change some for local currency for tips, 220 rupees = 1 GBP. Don't change too much as you cant bring it out.
Trips etc can be paid for by CC.

Room Tip: Pick a superior room with beach view.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank xofyor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2014 via mobile

We stayed for three nights prior to leaving Sri Lanka and were underwhelmed by Ranweli. While the room was nice and location lovely, a number of frequently occurring issues and the overall 'vibe' of the place let it down. The food was average at best, with the buffet using cheaper ingredients and desserts that I would call 'chocolate coloured tasteless gelatinous thing number 1' and 'strawberry coloured tasteless gelatinous thing number 2'. The customer service was also lacking as we were told at a near empty breakfast service that being only two people we must sit on a two person table. The pool also looked like a bomb site towards the ends of the day when the pool staff would go missing and dirty towels and mats were strewn over tables and the ground. We were also repeatedly hassled at meal times about signing up to their 'special seafood dinners', presumably because they couldn't get the numbers. The bar staff outside also seemed to be very nearly comatose and unresponsive to out requests, e.g I asked for a singha beer and was told 'no we're out', even though I knew they weren't as they were restocking the mini bars with singha every day. There also appeared to not be any wifi in the rooms and the 'cable tv' consisted of one movie channel and a couple of news and sports channels. None of these huge complaints but taken together we would have gladly spent half the money on a guest house with friendly faces and a nice home style meal instead. Skip it.

Stayed: August 2014
2  Thank Madjulios
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2014

Returned here for two weeks r&r. Again, the bungalow was spacious and very comfortable. The ensuite bathroom was large and user friendly.
The new management team were very helpful, attentive and went out of their way to please. the restaurant manager greeted us personally at every meal. The fairly high standard of food is maintained in the buffet style restaurant with plenty of choice.

thinking about going back next year!

Room Tip: The deluxe bungalows are very well refurbished versions of the standard bungalows which are a little...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2014

returned here after about 5 years prior to leaving SL. Well received by team. Yes, the hotel is a bit worn around the edges but they are upgrading. We were lucky to stay in a beachside deluxe room which was a stunning example of their refurb work. The overall design of the place remains appealing and it welcomes you to enjoy the beautiful vistas -sea and land. The boat safari which I did thrice on my first visit still remains the best in SL IMO for birdwatching!! with fantastic photo opportunities ..

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
3  Thank hena27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ranweli Holiday Village

Address: Ranweli Hotel Road, Waikkal 61110, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Waikkal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Waikkal
Price Range: £70 - £165 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ranweli Holiday Village 3*
Number of rooms: 88
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ranweli Holiday Village is an eco-friendly resort located on a 22-acre peninsula where mangrove forests and winding rivers converge to meet the sea. Located only 18 kms from Colombo's International Airport, Ranweli is the perfect base to explore the fascinating history, culture and nature of Sri Lanka. The hotel is on Waikkal Beach & provides bungalows & rooms with a private bathroom. The resort has an outdoor pool and its own restaurant & bar. Each bungalow / room is air-conditioned, has a safe, sitting area and telephone. The attached bathroom includes a hot/cold shower. Guests can enjoy a beach volleyball, billiards or table tennis at Ranweli. Water activities such as paddle boating, canoeing and kayaking are available. Ranweli is able to organize boat rides and bird watching tours. You can experience multi-cuisine dishes at the buffets of the resort's restaurant & a variety of liquor is served at the pool bar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ranweli Holiday Village Waikkal
Ranweli Holiday Village Hotel Waikkal
Ranweli Holiday Village Sri Lanka/Waikkal

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