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Apa Villa Thalpe
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Reviews (301)
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All reviewssaffron suiteinfinity pooltuk tukbutler servicesri lankanarrow beachparadise on earthlarge spacious roomssister hotelpalm treesliving areagreat poolmosquito nettingbeach frontcurriesthrough agodabreakfast and dinner
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Reviewed 23 August 2014

This is the fifth hotel we stayed at in our 14 day tour of Sri Lanka. Stayed here for 2 nights/3 days.

Apa Villa Thalpe is a boutique picturesque hotel. Rooms are spacious and stylish. You have your own patio, lovely sitting area, spacious bathroom with a wet room, spacious bedroom with a nice comfortable bed and modern amenities including tea and coffee making facilities, air-conditioning and a fan. The room assigned to us faced the pool and the beach - really picturesque with the quintessential idyllic tropical setting. The pool was fab. Staff friendly and amicable.

Unfortunately we found the hotel menu a bit limited so we had to go to Galle for our meals hence the four stars. We had a driver and a car so it was easy for us but for others it might be an additional cost to go out via tuk-tuk. Otherwise, this is a really good resort.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
5  Thank w0rldwidew0man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Thalpe, responded to this reviewResponded 26 August 2014

Thank you for the heartening review and we are pleased that the guests find the room, the pool and the amenities to their satisfaction.
We are equally dismayed that our guests were not able to experience our new All Day Menu and the A La Carte Dinner menu that have been revised to meet the needs of our guests young and old. They missed the introduction of the menus by a couple of days.
Our A La Carte Dinner menu features a soup, four hot and cold starters, eight main dishes of fresh seafood, chicken and meat prepared Asian-style as well as Western, six side orders including vegetable, rice and pasta. For dessert, the chef offers five delicious puddings and original cakes from Southeast Asia.
Apa Villa is known for its famous Rijjstafel (rice table) Sri Lankan dinner comprising 10 plates of curries, spiced vegetables, relishes and our homegrown red rice.
For seafood lovers, we have designed a Seafood Celebration feast of fresh fish, prawn, lobster or crab dishes. The Singapore Chili Crab is as tempting as it sounds and is highly regarded for its authenticity.
We hope that with these changes, our guests will take satisfaction that we are making all effort to improve on the choices and quality of food served at our hotel.

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Reviewed 17 August 2014

Stayed here for three nights towards the end an enjoyable three-week holiday in Sri Lanka. In no way was it comparable to any of the other hotels at which we stayed (Horathapola, Heritance Kandalama, Earls Regency, Tea Trails). As we are a family of four, we booked two adjacent suites - Saffron 6 and 7 - the most expensive in the villa. We had a long drive from Yala National Park to Thalpe, but our chauffeur-guide called ahead to inform Apa of our ETA. Despite that, the Apa staff member who met us was completely unaware of who we were. He asked us curtly whether we had a reservation, before running off to check with the manager on our status. Now Apa is a seven-room villa, not a major hotel. Eventually we were shown to our rooms, which were were nice enough. However, there were a number of problems. Meals are intended to be served on the balcony of your suite, but the lights and fan on ours did not work (not useful when it's dark and still very humid). We also then informed that the chef would not allow us to order from the "all day menu" because it was after 5.30pm, and that if we wanted to order from the a la carte menu, we would need to do so IMMEDIATELY. Apparently, the chef was bestowing a special favour on us by taking our order at 7pm. Not what you would expect from a boutique villa, and unfortunately the service did not improve after this inauspicious start. Nor was the food and drink any compensation. Limited range, mediocre quality. Oh, and the beach front is a narrow stretch of sand ending abruptly in a coral barrier that makes swimming impossible. If you want to swim, then stick to the pool or drive to Mirissa. So all in all, I can't recommend this place to anyone. For the price, you would do well to look at alternatives.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
12  Thank Neuromancer2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Thalpe, responded to this reviewResponded 26 August 2014

We thank this guest for his/her review and we would like to explain the situation on the "delayed entry" and other points brought up. There was a heavy storm prior to the guests' arrival which created havoc in the area including felling a bougainvillea tree at the villa's gateway.
A contracted workman and our gardeners were doing their best to prop up the tree and free the entry and that caused a waiting period.
Our management staff Ms. Shamila personally welcomed the family at the door and brought them to their two suites. We are at a loss as to why this guest commented that the staff was curt and unaware of his/her booking.
It was unfortunate that the very storm caused an electrical short circuit in one of the three phased electric supply. The power line was repaired the same evening and we apologize for any discomfort caused at the time of the repair.
We offer an All Day Menu that usually ends after 5.30 pm. We have very recently introduced a new A La Carte Dinner menu with more choices for guests as we understand that a three-course set dinner menu presents some limitations for some tastes. We also offer our Rijjstafel dinner of Sri Lankan dishes and curries on top of the daily dinner specials. Our multi-course Seafood Celebration and Singapore Chili Crab meals have been widely appreciated by most of our guests.
Alas, the beach in front of Apa Villa is not conducive for swimming in the sea because of the reef and strong waves. This is remarked in our web site. We recommend the beaches of Unawatuna Bay less than 15 minutes away from our hotel to guests who want to swim in the ocean. Most guests welcome the villa's infinity swimming pool overlooking the surf as an adequate alternative.

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Reviewed 13 August 2014

Everything about this place is great. The staff, the setting, the welcome, the food and the overall experience. And the price is right. Food, drink, laundry etc. all very reasonable
Can't recommend it highly enough.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Thalpe, responded to this reviewResponded 17 August 2014

Thank you for your review and so glad that you enjoyed your stay at Apa Villa.
May we take this opportunity to welcome you at another time in the near future and we will be more than happy to offer a friendly discount for repeat customers.

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Reviewed 3 August 2014

spent one night here on the last leg of our break. we really couldnt fault it - great room set up (we had suite 2 as was the only one available) which was very well set up for 2 adults and 2 children - all having their own beds under one mosquito net! the highlight? the delicious out of this world sri lankan curry extravaganza we ate for dinner, coupled with great service from the staff. breakfast also delicious. lovely grounds full of wildlife and very relaxing pool. a little tranquil haven somewhat isolated from the noise of the main road! great option for those who feel a villa would be too isolated but don't want a large hotel.

Room Tip: suite 2 is the only one facing the back, all the others face the gardens and beach.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank JulesLC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Thalpe, responded to this reviewResponded 17 August 2014

We are so pleased with the review and that everything went well during your short stay including your enjoyment of our signature Rijjstafel curry dinner. Thank you for taking time to write your impression.

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Reviewed 21 July 2014

I've never before posted on Tripadvisor so apologies if any of this offends. I've stayed at many places but never before has somewhere been so bad that I've felt the need to warn others. And I've stayed in a Travelodge!!

We spent over two weeks touring Sri Lanka with our fabulous Chauffeur / Guide Ranjith. We stayed at Tintagel in Columbo, Cinnamon Wild, Cinnamon Lodge and Mas Villa to name just a few and each one was exceptional in its own way. Most especially the lovely staff.

When we reached Apa, we were ignored initially! They seemed unaware we were arriving and couldn't find my name. The reaction was to leave us stood with our suitcases on the driveway in the sun whilst staff strolled around shouting. Previous places had offered us a seat in the shade along with cool towels and fresh juices. Eventually a man speaking no English used sign language to suggest we should follow him. We pulled our suitcases along and followed.

The same man with no English showed us into a room which contained a small double and a single under the dirtiest Mosquito netting I had ever seen. I tried to make the man aware that we were a group of THREE but he didn't understand. There were only two of everything - 2 sets of towels, 2 cups for coffee/tea, 2 bottles of water etc and despite asking, a third never appeared. I don't know what I was charged for this 3 person stay in the 2 person room because I booked the whole tour as a package and nothing was itemised, but I am assured that the Tour Operator made it clear that we were a party of THREE. All of the other hotels were happy that we were a party of three.

We later met the owner and her charming husband and I asked for a third bed. Despite telling me it was the beginning of the season and the hotel was very quiet, she seemed surprised that we didn't want to have to share a small double bed if possible. She arranged for a small single to be assembled in the room. The mattress she provided was revolting and covered in many stains. There was a single sheet separating us from the mattress so we chose to remain fully dressed in bed. The Mozzy net was the same filthy grey as the main net (how difficult can it be to wash a net?) and both were liberally dotted with the stains of dead mosquito's - which is presumably the blood of previous guests!!?

A short while after arriving (around 2pm) we were asked to choose dinner for later that evening. Two of us were in the pool, one was asleep in the room. When I told the staff that one of us was asleep, I was asked to choose FOR the sleeper because the Chef had to know NOW what we wanted. I thought that was reasonable because the menu was quite big and he obviously needed to be prepared, but NO, we weren't offered the menu, we were offered a choice of 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts. Nothing appealed to us. I asked if we might at least choose the desserts later but was told that No, we must pre-order the whole menu.

We guessed what our sleeper would have.

When dinner arrived only one of us liked it, unsurprisingly. I was quite looking forward by then to a "cool lemon tart" to finish but instead was served a Hot Lemon Souffle!!

Breakfast the next day was lovely.

The beach and swimming pool were beautiful and a new butler had appeared who was very friendly and spoke English well enough for us to ask questions. We used the call bell for the Butler on just 2 occasions and neither time resulted in a Butler. Instead, one of us had to walk around to find some assistance.

At lunchtime we were again asked to pre-order all three courses for dinner that night.
It was a different menu but still only 2 options. We asked if we could choose something from the lunch menu but told that was not possible. No idea why? Also, in every other place, we were given Cola and water from bottles which were opened at the table so we were assured of their origins. At Apa we were given glasses of Cola and lemonade, as though they were "draft" and therefore mixed from tap water. Table water was provided in large jugs with ice. Again, we were concerned that this was the tap water that we were always advised not to drink.

The 3 course dinner cost more than any other meal we had taken in two weeks and yet was by far the least appetising. If Apa Villa would rather not cook for guests, they should make it clear and offer alternative arrangements in nearby town. They advertise as a luxurious getaway place where all you need do is relax and be pampered...

We made a group decision that we definitely didn't want to stay any longer. Despite paying in advance for 4 nights we only stayed 2 nights. We invented a relative with poor health back in the UK and PAID to bring our flights forward and return home early. I have no interest in getting any money back. Ultimately we chose not to stay and I certainly didn't feel comfortable about being open and honest with the Owner at the time. I have informed the Tour Operatorof what we experienced.
I can't see that there are any excuses for disgusting mattresses, filthy netting and oddly limited menu's. Instead of Butler bells that go un-answered, maybe they could provide a small fridge in the rooms?

I have agonised about whether to submit this review because my British sense of fair play insists that I should have complained at the time and given the opportunity to the Management to put things right. But that same Englishness wouldn't allow me to make a fuss and the teenagers I travelled with were embarrassed at the idea of "making a scene". I have normal eyesight, however, and the filth I witnessed would have been clearly visible to everyone else at the Villa, surely?

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
14  Thank slbooth22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ApaVillasGalle, Owner at Apa Villa Thalpe, responded to this reviewResponded 30 July 2014

As owners of Apa Villas we are truly dismayed by this review especially when the lady in question had to apologise to us "if it offends", and then admitted in the same breath that she did not want to complain to us directly. “My British sense of fair play insists that I should have complained at the time and given the opportunity to the Management to put things right.”

That would have been so easy, because she and her teenage children came to stay in "off season", had the entire villas, pool and garden for themselves and as it happened we, the owners staying in the next suite right beside them. As we normally do, we repeatedly stopped by for a chat before or after mealtimes and inquired about their well-being.
Yet, she went ahead nevertheless to inflict as much damage as possible with her review instead of allowing us, our management and staff to rectify her misgivings on the spot. We cannot understand why a family so unhappy with their stay would have to agonise and feel embarrassed to tell us the truth about their feelings and had to lie to us. We would have immediately moved them to a separate room if she had pointed out more of her grievances. We hope now that the writer feels better after posting her complaints so publicly.

She and her teenage children were "left standing in the sun on arrival" when there are but mere steps to our shaded reception area connected to our library hall and beach garden while our staff attended to their luggage, cold towels and their welcome drink.
Our double bed was too small for her and her son and when we set up an additional separate emergency bed and netting she thanked us personally and had no complaints.

Being by the seafront and the salty air, it is a constant challenge to have all electric sockets, fans, light fittings and appliances working to fullest satisfaction. We have had power cuts intermittently and tropical storms most of the monsoon month May/June that could have damaged her buzzer temporarily. But the next buzzer is only a few meters away.
Our Singapore-style dinner menus are popular with our guests as any alert reader of our Trip Advisor reviews can attest to. Our All Day menu is laid out in the rooms. We have not had fiercely negative complaints.
We felt truly sorry for her story of the heart attack of a family member back home and their sudden early departure and as requested by her were discreet not to mention it to her children in order “not to upset them.” We are now relieved to learn that there was no such incident.

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