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“Exceptionally charming!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sergeant House

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Sergeant House
Ranked #9 of 140 Unawatuna B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Exceptionally charming!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 August 2014

I spend two nights with the family at the Sergeant House this August. Here are my many positives about it - and a few suggestions to make it absolutely perfect!

+ Wonderful property built around a renovated old house, refurbished and decorated with exquisite taste.
+ Extremely well-equipped and well-tended, with lots of attention to detail
+ Very private, feels like your own luxury house
+ 10’ drive from Galle (we loved the old town)
+ Next to the coast(al road) but pretty quiet
+ Excellent food - breakfast cooked to order; probably the best curd and treacle I had over the stay. Brilliant dinner (though fish was slightly overcooked to our taste, but this seemed to be the rule throughout our stay in SL).

Now for the very minor attention or improvement points: the staff is caring but generally discreet to the point of shyness (to an extent including the resident manager, Mrs Chathuri). In her absence they seem to be a little uneasy with guests; their English is limited, making interaction more difficult. This somehow lessened our otherwise exceptional experience at the Sergeant House. They could be a little more proactive in helping guests make the best possible experience. One example: theoretically the property is a few yards away from the Unawatuna beaches… but it’s actually not that easy to find a good spot on the closest beaches. The better spots are not within walking distance as the walk would be 20-30’ along the busy main road; walking along the beach is unfortunately not an option (rocks and buildings block the way at places). It is more advisable to go for a tuk-tuk ride and possibly the staff could have guided us in this.

(another very minor detail: the…salt in the fresh fruit juices. Maybe they should consider offering that as an option as it was not really to our taste!)

All in all the Sergeant House amply deserves a rating well into the 90% range. It is an exceptional boutique hotel which only needs to nudge the quality of staff interaction a little to be an absolute topper for “happy few” privileged, discriminating guests. No doubt they will get there with experience and some gentle staff training / coaching.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Olivier S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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84 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
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  • Swedish first
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English first
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

Everything is done to make you feel at home and Mark, the owner, will treat you more like a friend visiting than a client.
The rooms are sumptuous. The service is impeccable, even better than in these so-called 4 star hotels.
It broke my heart when I had to leave and I'm sure I'll come back.
Hats off.

Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank David Č
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2014

My husband and I were on our first visit to Sri Lanka and we considered ourselves so fortunate to have hit the hotel jackpot!!
Even though the hotel is situated in a bustling area and on a busy road, the oasis we discovered behind the high walls was such a pleasant surprise. From the warm welcome to the clean, airy and beautifully appointed room, the gorgeous breakfast served by the pool and the exceptional hosting skills of the hotel owner, Mark, this place is faultless!
Mark was spot on with his recommendations of places to visit/dine and his local knowledge will stand any guest in good stead when visiting Galle and the surrounding areas of Unawatuna.
Only been home a few days and wishing we were back there already....
Suffice to say that if you're visiting this area of Sri Lanka, Sergeant House should be the hotel of choice.....

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Natalie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
33 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2014

Sometimes when you return to what was a "perfect resort" more than once, you may get a bit let down as it isn't exactly as you remembered it. However, with Sergeant House (SH), this is not the case. This was my third visit in 18 months and it just keeps getting better. We stayed in the Pavillion Room this time, which is enormous; and has a wrap-around terrace overlooking the pool. Stuie the dog was still there and remembered me. (He is still as shy and nervous as ever.) Cahathuri, the Manager and her staff provided superb service and nothing was too much to ask for. Breakfast was prepared whenever we woke up with an unlimited variety of local fresh fruit as well as eggs (try the Sri Lankan omlette), toast and great coffee. The place is still spotlessly clean with wonderful walk-in showers and rain-forest shower heads. The beds are all four-poster with great mosquito nets covering them. Coincidentally, Mark, the owner of the Sergeant House was also there for part of our visit and able to provide more information about the surrounding area. He also graciously invited us as guests to a dinner party he held for some expatriate and Sri Lankan friends who live in Sri Lanka, as well as some of the hotel guests and it was a very delightful evening. SH can organize a masseur to visit as there is a purpose-built massage and steam room, and the cost can be charged to your bill so you just settle up with the hotel at the end of your stay. Galle, the old Portuguese/Dutch fort is just 10-15 minutes away by "tuk tuk" and costs Rps 400. We ate at Crepologie one night which was excellent. Pedlars Lane has some good restaurants, coffee shops and other art and jewellry shops. In the other direction is Vijaya, a very laid back restaurant right on the beach about one kilometer from SH and the food is a mixture of Sri Lankan and European with wonderful fresh juices. Have a look on the "specials" board. We had avocada and prawn bruschettas to start which were excellent. The lemon and ginger cheesecake was perfect. We also went to Mrissa Beach one day, which is about 40 minutes by public bus. The beach is clean and long and the water was safe for swimming despite the constant breaking waves. We also went to a local turtle farm as well as to a nearby beach to watch the fishermen on stilts. However, at the end of the day, it is all about Sergeant House itself. I still cannot get over how relaxing it is. Wifi is there if you need it and although there are TV's all over the place, I didn't actually see anyone switch one on. Hopefully, I will be back in a few months for another few days of well earned peace and quiet.

Room Tip: I have stayed in all the rooms and all are good. AC is available but I found that just having the w...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Julian K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 May 2014 via mobile

This review is a bit delayed as I stayed here with my husband in January. To this day, I still think about the property. I don't usually ever want to travel to the same place/hotel but I would return here in a heartbeat. I think this would be great to rent out with a group of friends. The property is so welcoming and tranquil yet you are only a short tuk tuk to the beaches bars of Unawatuna. But there are also a couple places to go within walking distance.

The property grounds are beautiful--the owner used to work in landscaping and his talent shines through. He was very friendly often sharing suggestions on places to go, eat and see. Also, Stewie the dog is just plain awesome---such a sweetie.

The breakfast in the morning is really tasty and fresh. It's nice to just roll out of your room and have breakfast poolside. We didn't end up staying for any other meals, which you could elect to but looking at some of the recent pictures posted of the curries I think we have missed out! (oh well...next time!)

Honestly my only regret is we didn't stay longer---we were debating between staying or going to Bentota. We ended up going to Bentota but definitely missed Sergeant House. If I ever find myself back in Unawatuna I wouldn't even consider anywhere else.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Shoelick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2014

This is a stunning property. In fact, it's one of the best places I've stayed anywhere in Asia. Use this as your base to explore the South coast area. Don't bother staying in Galle (it's very quiet with not much to do) - stay here instead. It's an absolute paradise!!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Matt L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aalsmeer, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
74 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

We stayed 4 nights in the pool pavillion and we liked it very much!! What a beautiful designed house, buildings, swimmingpool, lotus gardens and courtyard. The breakfasts every morning prepared by the very nice guys were the perfect start of our days. Made with much attention to every detail and it tasted delicious. The swimmingpool, sun beds, open relax area and quietness made us feel relaxed and at ease. The decoration with antiques, modern paintings, photographs, etc etc etc is done with eye for perfection. Although the boys and gardeners were busy, working hard and seemed to like there jobs, we wondered if the lady who welcomed us, fits in. She asked 2 times if we liked our stay, we did, but we felt she did this more out of obligation than real interest. Found this a bit awkward to be honest. She was at the house only few times, but it was quiet with guests, so it might have been not necessairy for her to be here more. Location is good, not in the centre, but with a tuktuk or a short walk everything to be reached easily. Overall a very nice stay, but the walls in the shower area in our room need a very good cleani. They looked blackish. Would we recommend this place? Yes certainly!!

Room Tip: The pool pavillion was very nice. It was the smallest room, but perfect for us. Near the pool, lovel...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jeanine01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark S, Owner at Sergeant House, responded to this review, 22 April 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your helpful comments.

I have had a look at the shower stall. If if was not clean at that time, I apologize for that, but I have a feeling what you saw was the water staining that is natural to these polished cement walls of our bathrooms. I will keep a monitoring eye on it.

Our manager is very good at what she does, mainly accounts and management of the bookings. These talents come with their own set of personality traits. She is very good at setting up travel arrangements for our guests as well. Unfortunately her father was critically injured in a car accident at the end of March and passed away 5 days later. She would have been very distracted during that period.

Best regards,

Mark Smoot, owner
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 Sergeant House

Property: Sergeant House
Address: 381 Matara Road, Unawatuna, Galle 80600, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle > Unawatuna
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 140 B&Bs / Inns in Unawatuna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sergeant House 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sergeant House is a three minute stroll from the glistening waters and palm fringed beach of Unawatauna. It is a unique villa complex composed of individual pavilions and the historic, Sergeant House Bungalow. Sergeant House, with its tranquil gardens, ponds and swimming pool offers an ideal oasis to enjoy the richness of the south west coast of Sri Lanka and surrounding countryside. ... more   less 
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