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“Best on the beach!”

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Calamander Unawatuna Beach
Ranked #14 of 31 Hotels in Unawatuna
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
36 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Best on the beach!”
Reviewed 26 January 2014

On our first trip to Sri Lanka we stayed at UBR after recommendation from a friend.

The Hotel hold a excellent standard for Sri Lanka where we tried 6 hotels during our trip. Even if the service standard goes a bit up and down we where well pleased with UBR. (Not that many downs ;)

The rooms holds a high standard and have a a bigger size then expected. We tried the delux and luxurious.

There is an issue with the beach that the sand is moving away. Still we did most of the beach time just outside UBR. Our son just loved the waves even if they might be to high in the late afternoon for smaller children. There are sand to play with ;)

The resturant is right next to the sea and we did enjoy the breakfast and dinner here most of the days we spent here. The food is good and I also find it of good value (Seen other comment and I guess there are different references. My point is that it's better in the hotel then the other places along the beach with similar prices)

In total we had a great time here and are looking forward coming back here next time in Sri Lanka!

Room Tip: Go for the luxurious room around the pool. The one higher up also gives you a nice view from the bal...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank PatrickB5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paloma scott S, Board Representative for the Calamander Group at Calamander Unawatuna Beach, responded to this review, 28 January 2014
Dear Guests ,

All of us at Calamander Unawatuna Beach have read your review of your stay with us and we are of course delighted that we have achieved the ultimate accolade for a hotel; you want to come back! Despite the occasional lapse in consistency and we do apologise for this, we are very pleased that you enjoyed the food and it stood up against the competition from the other beach establishments.

The matter of the beach erosion is well documented, so I will not elaborate too much here. But, I can assure all our guests that we are working to help repair the damage and restore the beach for the benefit of all the businesses around it.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Paloma Scott, Board Representative for The Calamander Group Inc.
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2014 via mobile

UBR is beautifully situated right by the beach. The standard is high and that goes for both the rooms and the food. The staff is attentive and helpful. Something had happened that damaged parts of the beach but we enjoyed the bathing every day anyway.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank Susanne B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paloma scott S, Board Representative for the Calamander Group at Calamander Unawatuna Beach, responded to this review, 28 January 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your positive comments regarding our hotel. It has been a huge boost to the moral of the staff to have the standards that we strive to achieve, recognised on a public forum. It is particularly gratifying to note that all the aspects of the hotel that you experienced have been good and consistent.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Paloma Scott, Board Representative for The Calamander Group Inc.
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Almaty, Kazakhstan
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2014

Dear miss Paloma Scott,
I see and read your answers on this nice site! I have a question for you, are there any benefits for the long-stay guests? We want to stay in your hotel for 21 days (we have booking a luxurious room)! We have a girl child is 4 years old! You could have us as a bonus to cook an extra bed? And another question - child of 4 years, I do not have anything to pay extra? On your web-site under 5 children admitted free! Thank you!
Igor

Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank IGORKAP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paloma scott S, Board Representative for the Calamander Group at Calamander Unawatuna Beach, responded to this review, 20 January 2014
Dear Mr Igorkap,

Thank you very much for responding to our Trip Advisor site. We will come back to you as soon as possible regarding your request. Our e-mail address for correspondence is customerservice@ubr.com.lk

Yours sincerely,

Miss Paloma Scott
Board Representative for The Calamander Group Inc
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Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
276 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 226 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 January 2014

We stayed here over Christmas for a few days. We have been in lots of places in the word and dont understand positiv Ratings AT ALL of this place! Hopelessly overpriced for what the offer, they pretended on christmas eve, that there is a Christmas eve Dinner" included" in our rate- then we were suddenly charged over 110.Euro on our bill at the end!!- what a surprise! For this amount of money you can go eating VERY often in local restaurants...the food was okay but not top and NEVER worth that amount of money. At our arrival in the afternoon our room was not ready, and then no water AT ALL in our room until in the evening, very nice if you´ve been travelling for hours and hours... The next day a giant cockroach in our bathroom which we killed. Then every day several power failures, a construction site just next to our balcony, the pool areas was not very clean and run down, their beach strip is so narrow you can hardly stay there. The staff was sometimes friendly, but never any help at all. In the end we argued over an hour to get a small discount- I will never go there again and do not recommend this place to any one! The pictures are very misleading, I would rate this hotel in Europe with 3* at the max!
And Sri Lanka is not worth the money either, spend your bucks in Thailand, Vietnam or elsewhere where not only your money is welcome!

Room Tip: good rooms you might find in another hotel and not here...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank bizi02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paloma scott S, Board Representative for the Calamander Group at Calamander Unawatuna Beach, responded to this review, 18 January 2014
Dear Guests,

We have noted very carefully your comments and firstly to explain the charge you refer to, it was for the Christmas eve supplement which includes entertainment and other expenses for the event; it is not just for the food. It was included in your total room bill which you had in agreed to in advance of arriving at the hotel. It was not extra. A copy of the bill which was handed over to you when you checked out, was itemised to show exactly what you were paying for.

We are very sorry that you found our the food not to your liking. We set our standards very high for these events and we are of course disappointed that we did not please you.

Management have looked into the issue of the your room not being ready when you arrived. We have identified this as being a lapse in correctly identifying when guests are arriving and preparing the rooms in anticipation of the time of guest's arrival. We apologise most sincerely for the inconvenience this caused you.

We did have a problem with water supply that day and with demand high with a full house, it was a difficult situation to manage. Again, we are very sorry that you were caught in this unfortunate situation.

I am rather unnerved that you saw a Cockroach, let alone had the nerve to kill it. We strive to keep the rooms to a high standard of cleanliness. It is sometimes very difficult to control nature. Being in a sub-tropical climate and near the beach, nature can be difficult to tame.

We apologise for the inconvenience of the power failures. Again this was out of our control.

Management had asked for all remaining works to be discontinued apart from a few essential works that had to be finished in the kitchen. I am very sorry that you were disturbed by this.

The pool area is a remnant of the old UBR and we do our best to maintain it and keep it clean. We will be refurbishing this area and rebuilding the pool in due course but it is a very popular amenity for our guests all year round, including the low season and there is never a good time to start this project. The fact that you found it unclean, there is no excuse and we recognise we have to improve and tighten up on implementing the cleaning schedule to cover all times of day and evening.

Much has been written and reported regarding the effects of the sea erosion of Unawatuna Bay. Suffice to say that we have created as much beach as nature will allow. And we have developed our own beach close to the public beach that is more secure and private.

Finally, I am personally very sorry to hear that our staff have appeared unfriendly and unhelpful. It is the one thing that I always thought I could reply on in Sri Lanka; everyone smiles. That they have come across as unhelpful is most distressing. Sometimes language and cultural nuances can be interpreted as being unhelpful. As a representative for the hotel and the group we are all most upset that this is the impression you have taken away with you.

Yours sincerely,

Miss Paloma Scott
Board Representative, The Calamander Group Inc.
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Travellers are raving about these Unawatuna hotels

London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
155 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2014

The hotel makes a good first impression. Open reception, nice beach, good setting. The room was adequate, it had everything that I needed... except for internet, technically I could connect to wi-fi yet it was so painfully slow it was unusable, both of my devices had that problem. The buffet was nice, I've enjoyed the food, it was mild and hit the spot well, one thing I would notice is that there was not a whole lot of meat in the food, most of them were vegetarian (with the exception being the grill) All in all it was a good stay.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wolf8668
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paloma scott S, Board Representative for the Calamander Group at Calamander Unawatuna Beach, responded to this review, 15 January 2014
Dear Guest,
Thank you for your review of our hotel. We appreciate that you noticed our efforts to make the hotel visually pleasing and create a good atmosphere.

We constantly have the debate about how much emphasis we should place on meat given that we are a beach hotel. However we take your point and we agree we should continue to strive to please as many palates as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Paloma Scott
Board Representative for The Calamander Group Inc.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2014 via mobile

Only stayed 1 night.

Room was clean and staff were helpful by packing a takeaway breakfast for us for whale watching the next morning.

Buffet food was fine. Sit as far away from the food and grill area as possible as the entire buffet area becomes very smokey from the grill.

Live music is played in the buffet area until about 11pm. This can be heard from some of the rooms.

Beach was average but they are trying to do the best they can with what they have left after the tsunami. I think we may have arrived at high tide too which limited the beach area available.

Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Tara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paloma scott S, Board Representative for the Calamander Group at Calamander Unawatuna Beach, responded to this review, 12 January 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking time out of your holiday to review our hotel. We apologise for the smoke in the restaurant.

The breakwater constructed by the Coastal Conservation Department last year, had originally been to protect the coral reef. An unintended consequence was that the break water has caused half of the bay's beach, which was famous for being a continuous and harmonious crescent, which you could walk from one end to the other, to be seriously eroded. We have worked extremely hard over the last few months with the help of the Coastal Conservation Department, to restore and protect the beach in the most eroded areas. One of these areas being directly in front of our hotel. We have restored, from the destruction, a public beach and our sunbeds and umbrellas are now installed on the beach as in the past. The bay water is shallower as the current is depositing sand at a rapid rate, so arguably the swimming, when the sea is calm, is better. We have also created a private beach with lots of space for sunbeds which is arguably more enticing as it is protected from passing beach combers and hawkers. This private beach which measures approximately 10,000 sq feet has proven to be very popular with our guests who are not concerned with being next to the sea. We also of course have the swimming pool with additional seating and a table tennis table near by.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Paloma Scott
Board Representative for The Calamander Group Inc.
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Darwin, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2014

Having read poor reviews of this hotel before arriving we were not sure what was in store for us.. First impressions weren't good as WE had made a mistake on our booking having booked for 1 not 2 we were told so we paid the extra no problem... But had two single beds pushed together for our two week stay.... Not ideal for a married couple... There was a sewer stench coming out of the bathroom and we advised the staff someone came and spayed some deodorizer ..problem solved for 10 minutes.. We now burn insence sticks through the day to cover the stench... After unpacking I went to the bar to get some soda water and lime to take back to the room and was hassled by a young barman about drinking in our room... This barman has been unfriendly and arrogant our whole stay which is a pity as there are a couple of really good staff behind the bar and we would have spent more time there if it wasn't for this one who made us unwelcome
There are great young ones working on breakfast but they are getting taught by incompetent older staff who just seem to walk around and bark orders at the younger ones who are trying to serve.. Very hard to find a clean made up table when you arrive for breakfast most days having to get my own cutlery cups etc.... Even though the staff are ready to take them away before you are finished.. Also watching staff lining up for breakfast in front of guests isn't a great look, and watching a guest cooking his own eggs and a young kid who was told there were no more pancakes at 8.30 after he had been waiting for 20 mins for turn in the cue.
After going to yala national park and leaving at 3 am in the morning and returning at 1.30 we were very hungry we ordered a salad and ham and tomatoe sandwich not to hard I would have thought but after 50 mins and having to return the salad and then having to ask for dressing we were pretty pissed off.
All I can say there are some good staff here and hats off to the chef who is incredibly friendly...but it seems to be let down by older staff members....
We are travellers who don't want to be waited on hand and foot...would just like some good service..your kidding if you think you are 4 star, 2 star tops with a lot of work to do..

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Blarge34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paloma scott S, Board Representative for the Calamander Group at Calamander Unawatuna Beach, responded to this review, 8 January 2014
Dear Guests,

I have read your review with utter dismay. For every dreadful review we get in Trip Advisor we get a half a dozen glowing reviews in our guest comment book for the same period. I sometimes think that we are running to completely two different hotels. I have started to look into the circumstances of your stay and although I have not completed my investigation, I would like to say the following:

You should have been offered a change of mattress, given the information that was given to us on the booking form. And you should not have had to suffer days of sewer stench. I can only feel intense embarrassment that the solution offered to this problem was a deodoriser! All gully and drainage problems are dealt with by our Maintenance department and at this moment in time I cannot give you a valid reason why our House Keeping department did not report the problem to Front Desk who have a rigorous system of reporting and recording problems of any nature to Management. I can only apologise profusely for the discomfort that you have suffered staying in this room.

I have not been able to pinpoint who the barman is, whose behaviour is deplorable. But it should not be difficult as they aren't many of them. Again, it shocks me that you are writing about our normally friendly and polite staff. There is no excuse for rudeness and I cannot for the life of me imagine why you could not have a drink in your room. The barman should actually have offered to take the drinks to your room! There is a minibar in each room, so I cannot understand why he has made this statement.. Again I can only apologise profusely for this young man's behaviour and a thorough investigation will take place and action taken that none of our guests experience this sort of behaviour again.

The scene that you describe in the restaurant is absolutely terrible. And Management have been aware of the problems and have been making serious efforts to improve service. One of the things we have instituted and I have done it myself, long ago when I was a waitress in a busy London restaurant, is to section off the restaurant so that a captain and waiters look after a particular part of the restaurant and the captains keep an over view of service and step in when there are peaks of activity. If the captains are using the system to abuse the younger waiters, as you say, it is a complete distortion and corruption of a tried and tested system to ensure that diners are served as quickly as possible. The captains that are guilty of abusing their position will be taken to task.

It it hotel policy that staff, who are dining at the same time as guests, should always give priority to guests. Staff will be reminded of their duty to guests and I will personally ensure that this does not happen again.. That we now have children being refused a simple pancake and a guest making their own breakfast! Is a first for me, Again I can only say sorry for these two incidents.

We have had issues with slow room service and 50 minutes for a sandwich is unacceptable. That the kitchen failed to provide a dressing surprises me as, so again I am left apologising for lack of thought and poor standards.

You are absolutely correct. We have much to do to get to a four star standard. In our defence, we work very hard to make the hotel work for all our guests. Consistency of service and standards is a constant problem and I am just very sorry that you have been the victim of this catalogue of errors.

Yours sincerely,
Miss Paloma Scott
Board Representative, The Calamander Group Inc.
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 Calamander Unawatuna Beach

Property: Calamander Unawatuna Beach
Address: Parangiyawatta, Unawatuna 80000, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Unawatuna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Luxury Hotel in Unawatuna
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Unawatuna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Calamander Unawatuna Beach 4*
Number of rooms: 83
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Calamander Unawatuna Beach is one of Sri Lanka's most popular beach resorts, located directly on Unawatuna Bay. The most renowned holiday destination on the South coast, Unawatuna Beach is famous for its natural beauty, laid back ambience, proximity to Galle Fort, a Unesco World Heritage site, and is the best beach in the country. UBR, established over 30 years ago, has been transformed, since November 2011, as Calamander Unawatuna Beach. The resort retains the relaxed character of the former UBR, the excellent service from long standing staff, good food and al fresco dining. The only hotel on Unawatuna Beach with swimming pools, Calamander Unawatuna Beach has built the first glass fronted lap pool in Sri Lanka and the longest, at 25 metres, in the Asia Pacific region. In addition a stunning Italian mosaic, 25 metres in length, outdoor pool, with adjoining jacuzzi and a separate children's paddling pool. Calamander Unawatuna Beach is a 4 star class hotel with five star facilities. It is the first beach hotel in Sri Lanka with accredited carbon neutral status and future projects aim to develop sustainable eco-technology in the hotel's power generation and transport services. Guests are encouraged to engage in utilising the resort's facilities in the most eco-friendly way, without compromising on comfort and are invited to offset their individual carbon foot print with a small, voluntary, financial contribution, to the hotel's carbon neutral status. Calamander Unawatuna Beach is a trail blazer in Sri Lanka, for the 'affordable luxury' concept. Its design ethos of modernity, complimenting the beauty of its geography, has proven to be popular with our guests from all over the world. This together with high standards of service, Calamander Unawatuna Beach is now renowned for being a family friendly resort welcoming Sri Lankans as well as foreign guests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Unawatuna Beach Hotel Unawatuna
Unawatuna Beach Resort

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