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“Pleasent hotel in Unawatuna”
Review of Joe's Bungalow

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Joe's Bungalow
Reviewed 23 January 2012

Travelling around Sri Lanka, this was our best hotel we stayed considering the general level of Sri Lanka accomodation. Accommodation in Sri Lanka is lower quality compared to Malaysia, Thailand, Philipinnes or Bali where we stayed before and considering the room rates in SL. However, Joes bungalows was a nice choice. Located directly on the beach. There is a safeguard all day and night and Padma the cooker was brilliant! She made our stay there perfect!!! Their rooms were clean, air conditioning worked perfectly, however, thez did not change the bed clothes at all and towels just once in 3 days. So we were hapy to have our own towels. The beach and the sea was beautiful. I could even swim with turtle just like 2 meters from the beach. We did not have a proble with noise. So, I can not confirm what other visitors wrote.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mirdzug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kay009, Owner at Joe's Bungalow, responded to this reviewResponded 4 August 2012

Thank you for your positive review, we are really glad you enjoyed your holiday!! There are extra sheets and towels inside the wardrobe in your bedroom and we will happily change your bedding and towels upon request. We look forward to welcoming you back to Joe's bungalow should you return to Sri Lanka

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Reviews (53)
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35 - 41 of 53 reviews

Reviewed 16 January 2012

...Joe's Bungalow might not have scored 3/5.

I was part of a family party, staying over Christmas 2011 for 6 nights. Due to previous comments and a look at the map, we were prepared for the usual Sri Lankan soundscape of buses, truck and horns; it didn't keep any of us awake at night. The property itself is well positioned at the quiet end of the beach and included the main villa (4 beds) and separate one bed accommodation across the garden. There is direct access to the beach from a beautiful palm fringed garden, a large veranda for eating and outside living and ample space for parking if you needed.

It could be a beautiful property but needs more attentive management if it is to fulfill its potential. Certainly the destruction of the perimeter wall was not planned but nor was it dealt with; we were given no notification and had to attempt communication with the digger operator to work out when the noise was likely to stop! There were issues with air-conditioning units not working, cisterns leaking and a lack of housekeeping; all of which the wonderful Mahesh attempted to sort out on top of his catering services. Only by contacting the owner directly was any resolution organised, had we not...

The problems were compensated by the attentive service of Mahesh, his assistant and the property guards who couldn't have been more thoughtful. Mahesh's prepared wonderful breakfasts and dinners; catering to all of our tastes and keeping the menu varied and tasty. Be sure to order fresh fish and try a Sri Lankan curry during your stay.

Joe's Bungalow should do everything they can to hang onto their fantastic staff whilst taking steps to update and repair this property that could be an idyllic property.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank DEBETT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kay009, Owner at Joe's Bungalow, responded to this reviewResponded 4 August 2012

Thank you for your review, but we feel dissapointed by part of the content. Firstly we were not informed in advance that a digger would come and break down our fence as we explained to you at the time, this was nothing to do with us, but it was done by the local council. Nor were any of the other properties along the same beach given prior warning. If course if we had known this we would not have taken or fullfilled any booked in the first place and you would have been offered alternative accomodation. As soon as this was brought to our attention you were offered suitable compensation which you accepted. You were also offered your money back on the remaining nights should you wish to leave. I totally understand that this unexpected event had caused major disruption to your holiday but this was a one off incident that was out of our control.

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Reviewed 7 January 2012

We stayed at Joe's over Christmas 2011 and were looking forward to some serious relaxation and a place to enjoy a family reunion of the holiday period. We were a party of 6 adults and 2 children, so had booked the main 4 bed bungalow and one of the two villas. We were prepared for road noise (most places that end of Unawatuna are on the main Galle road and buses and trucks honk their horns a lot in Sri Lanka - nothing that can be done about that so pack ear plugs if you think it will bother you) but not for the construction on the beach. The authorities had knocked down the property wall just before we arrived (for reasons we never really understood) and a digger worked for 3 days of our 6 day stay clearing it. Not the property's fault but it meant there was no safe way for the kids to access the beach other than us throwing them down. also the noise was pretty horrible our those days.

As a general review:

Pros:

Mahesh - the property's cook and main fixer. Totally made our trip, nothing was too much trouble from arranging a feast for breakfast and evening meal, preparing food for the kids and his amazing flour less chocolate cake to helping us hire a van for sightseeing, sorting the laundry and much more. There are lots of places to eat in the area but do let Mahesh cook you up a treat at least one night - you won't be disappointed! Mahesh gets a seperate 5* vote - he's excellent!

Location - once the digger departed, it was quiet enough, away from the hordes, great garden to watch the sunset from and a jump down the beach for a swim. The kids (and the rest of us!) loved watching the resident chipmunks go about their business from dawn until dusk.

Space - as we had the whole bungalow, we really had the run of the place, the bedrooms were big enough, especially the one bed villa which was really nice. The garden is lovely and there is a big outdoor sitting and dinning room with a table for 10.

Cons:

General upkeep - ok, Sri Lanka is a developing country but this place was not budget so things like air-con not working, toilets leaking, mosquito nets showing signs of previous squashings, general cleanliness all indicate that more attention needs to be given to this part of the business. Mahesh was run off his feet trying to look after our party and the other two families staying in the property - a housekeepeer to clean and keep on top of in addition / as support is a must as these issues were not resolved during our stay and really did take the shine off the good bits.

Items not working - neither the hot tub nor the wifi were working during our stay. not sure why.

Access to the beach - hopefully this will improve but when we were there, we had to climb over rubble to get to the beach.

Unwanted visitors - on Christmas Day a group of day trippers turn up with the intention of hanging out at the property. They were linked somehow with the owners or investors in the place and fancied a day at the beach. This was annoying as we'd payed for the use of the facilities - having specifically booked the place for our own use. A phone call to the management sorted things out and they eventualy left but it was unpleasant for a while and shouldn't have happened in the first place. If you hire out the property, you should understand you won't be able to rock up with a group of mates to hang out there.

We brought our issues to the attention of the property manager and he did recompense us for our trouble, and Mahesh and his food and careful attention certainly made up for a lot of the small irritations. I want to say I'd come back again, it ceretainly has great potential, but I'm just not sure.

Room Tip: Try the ground floor villa, or if in the main bungalow ask for one of the rooms on the beach side to...
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank ettibob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kay009, Owner at Joe's Bungalow, responded to this reviewResponded 20 November 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. May I take this opportunity to apologise for the unforseen incident with regards to the digger. We were just as upset and annoyed by this as you were. It was such unfortunate timing that this co-incided with your stay with us . With regards to the negative points listed in your review, thank you for noting here that once we were notified you were compensated for this. We want all our guests to feel welcome and have an enjoyable holiday. Again I can only apologise and I do hope this wont put you off returning again for a future holiday.

Thank you for your positive comments which are a joy to read

Kind Regards
Joe's Bungalow

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Reviewed 17 November 2011

Joe's is uniquely located on the very end of the Unawatuna Bay. It is private enough to get away and located within walking distance of the middle of the bay where everyone usually pow wows.

We booked a "villa" - this was a large comfortable room with all the creature comforts you will need. I had no complaints about the room but it was not a villa! The loo is small but serves the purpose. Towels are fresh and clean as are their sheets. The only thing travelers should be aware of is the noise. Joes is situated on the MAIN road, and although I didnt quite mind the noise I can see many travelers being more than peeved off about this. It is loud. The noise sometimes makes the panes on the windows shudder a little so we dubbed it aeroplane bus noise during our stay. If you want a lie in during your holiday this is not the best location!

On the flip side, Joes has a hot tub that overlooks the sea and only guests are allowed to use it :) We didnt have any meals here but Mahesh the cook was very obliging and the security guard was helpful when it came to finding our room keys late one evening. You can take your rations/ ask them to make meals for you.

Along with the usual hotspots you will find on your own, I highly recommend Prawn Omelettes and fresh baked bread "kade pang" at Peacock which is a short walk away and have the coldest beers in the Bay at Sunset colony right next to Joes.

I cant wait to go back.

Room Tip: Villas are nicer than the main house. Great to book the entire place out with a big crowd.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Aupert
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Kay009, Owner at Joe's Bungalow, responded to this reviewResponded 20 November 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your valuable feedback and positive comments. We are really happy to hear you will be back to stay with us again! Noted your comments about the noise from the road, we are trying to overcome this as much as possible by changing to double glazing in the property.

Many Thanks once again
Joe's Bungalow

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Reviewed 24 April 2011

We had done a whole lot of research and decided on Joe's based on the website and photos. We were traveling with a hired driver and had inquired about staff quarters and were pleasantly surprised to know they were available. Upon arrival, we were disappointed. Perhaps it was the string of fantastic (and sometimes very basic) accommodation we had stayed in prior, but what we were offered was opposite to what we expected. We paid 1/2 up front, though many of the other places we stayed at did not require this. The bungalow we were shown was small, musty and basic - considering the cost. The driver's quarters were right above us so it felt like were were sharing a room with him. We immediately called Colombo and after much negotiation we were offered the larger villa with several bedrooms and lounging area. We choose the cleanest room as all others seemed to be occupied, though we are not sure by whom. There were boxes stored in the main area, and furniture in need of repair. Given this was a last minute switch, it didn't bother us too much. What did bother us was that someone else had slept in the Villa - not upstairs but on the same floor - and we were not informed. The unidentified guest had entered from a door onto the courtyard later in the evening. The bathroom off our suite had a leaky toilet and shower so we used another bathroom. We stayed long enough to use up our down payment less one night. As mentioned in other reviews, Padma and Guyan were the highlights of our trip. The food Padma prepared was amazing and if not for her, our visit would've have seemed empty. Yes the beach was right there which was nice. And there was a nice outdoor lounging area to have a glass a wine and enjoy the evening.

This review comes late as for some reason I forgot to include it upon my return. I have to say though, the feeling remains, this would not be on my list for a revisit.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank tarouskie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2011

Idyllic beach garden setting w/ fantastic food. We originally booked for 2 nights and ended up staying 7 nights. Padma the cook creates wonders in her kitchen.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Radio-Rosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kay009, Owner at Joe's Bungalow, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2011

Thanks for your lovely review...glad you enjoyed your stay!!! Hope to see you again at Joe's Bungalow. Kate

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Reviewed 2 January 2011

Having read the review below I was understandably worried about my stay at Joe's Bungalow (it appeared after we'd already booked). Having said there, I felt that the reviewer was overly harsh and did not give the bungalow credit for some very positive aspects. The setting of the bungalow is undeniably stunning - it looks out over the beach and has a lovely private garden which is great for sitting and reading in. The staff are friendly and helpful and will cook meals for you (we only took breakfast). We met Joe himself, who was very friendly and was telling us all about the area and the property. It is good value for money, given the location you get. The rooms, although damp, are well fitted and have comfortable beds.

The major drawback of Joe's Bungalow is the fact it is located right on the main road from Galle, which is very busy and noisy throughout the day and night. We struggled to get a good night's sleep in our 3 night stay - and that was with one of us wearing earplugs. The trucks and buses hoot their horns as they are going past, as its on a slight bend in the road. The ground floor villa seems to be slightly better than the upper floor, as it has marginal protection from the surrounding wall.

This criticism has to be placed in the context of Unawatuna as a whole - it is not a quiet place. Most of the other properties are either along the same road as Joe's Bungalow or are in the village itself where the noise comes from the all-night bars and discos. Pick your evil!!! You really need to decide whether the road noise would bother you that much - for two of our party of four it did, but the other two felt it didn't.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank sarahlrhodes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kay009, Owner at Joe's Bungalow, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2011

HI Sarah

Thanks for your review and just to let you know we are planning on doing some refurbishing during the off season and hopefully the rooms will be more sound proof!!

Many Thanks
Kate

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Additional Information about Joe's Bungalow

Address: Unawatuna Beach, Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Unawatuna
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 132 Speciality Lodging in Unawatuna
Price Range: £81 - £83 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Joe's Bungalow is a privately owned beach bungalow with 4 double rooms in the main house and 2 seperate villas. The whole property can accomodate 12 people. Situated on Unawatuna the beach, the property has a large garden and jacuzzi for guests. No food is included in the room rate but we provide a cook who can prepare meals. Rates are $200 for the bungalow (4 double rooms) per night and $50 per villa per night. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Joe`s Bungalow Hotel Unawatuna

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