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Rockside Cabanas Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Russia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Nice place”
Reviewed 16 January 2013

Stayed 8 days at Rockside, first visit to Sri-Lanka.
Only facts for newbies and other who want to stay at Rockside. Located at a narrow strip between sea and road + railroad. Have a look at Google maps. If you are sound-sensitive, the place is not for you. As MANY other places along the coast ( I think so). Rail traffic is not hard, but you will hear a whistle every hour from 6am till 8 pm. Road traffic is hard and you will hear horns constantly as drivers love to honk. Take it in mind not to be frustrated.
For newbies. There a lot of mosquitos at the evening and night. Buy Cintonella oil just on arrival. It’s natural and gives good protection.
Facts about Rockside. We lived some days at apartments and some day at garden cabana. Take apartments if you are sensitive to sound of waves. If you like to sleep at cool air take apartments as there is no AC at cabana ( only fan). But I can say that air is good at cabana without AC . Space at cabana is roughly twice more than at apartment.
The distance from territory to the shore is several meters. The coast is sandy with a lot of corals ( in water ). There is a good place for swimming 50 meters right from Rockside. There is a natural pool formed by coral reef. There is almost no waves and shallow ( not more than a meter depth ). Nice place for children. Nice for snorkeling. Dimensions of the “pool” are roughly 30m to 100m.
People wrote about “German order” at Rockside. I’ll try to be objective. Only some observations. When walking along the coast you can see other cabanas and Rockside as one of them. You can see:
- There are no coconuts at cocotrees at Rockside and a lot of nuts at other cabanas. Silly? It won’t be silly when a nut falls your head.
- A firm white-painted stone fence. It is not high, about half a meter. But other cabanas have fence made of sticks from nearest bush
- Staff at Rockside wear new blue t-shirts. Sometimes you can see staff from other cabanas in wrinkled far from new clothes.
Those can seem stupid but for me it shows the attitude to visitors. I think that “German order” is better than “local order” in that country.
Finally three more things.
You can choose only eggs in all variations as a main at breakfast. I wrote Renata my thoughts about it and some ways to improve breakfast menu. Hope she will take to heart.
There are ants in apartments and cabanas. Not a lot, I saw only one track at bath. Keep it in mind if you are sensitive. But if you stay close to the nature I think it’s unavoidable and fight with them would be a great stupidity. We would die from our own chemicals.
Some people wrote that it’s forbidden to bring food into apartments and they though because of greed owners. I think everybody brings. We brought. I think this rule is not because of greediness. I’m not sure of rats, but exactly because of ants. We drop a small piece of biscuit and saw ants track directly that piece a few hours later. Certainly we washed the floor and ants disappeared but next time we were very careful with food.
Shortly it's a nice place with specific features.

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank TanyaMos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Oxford
Level Contributor
106 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 January 2013

Sardined between the railway, road and beach we stayed in the apartments. If you have seen the train scene in My Cousin Vinny you will know what I mean about the 5am train! Run by a German lady, imaculate and ordered right onto the beach very pleasant. No food in rooms at all we were told twice and we ate in the restaurant, pizzas not great unless you like just cheese.
Not our cup of tea I don't like being told to stop staying thankyou, so British! or I must relax.
aircon was weak in one room and over the top in the other, all present controls.

Room Tip: Somewhere else!
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
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4 Thank hogfairfive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2012

My son and I stayed in Unawatuna town before staying at the cabanas - reasonably lively beach, fair selection of restaurants, beach sellers stopping by every few minutes and can be loud at night. Moving to the cabanas we were greeted with pretty much the opposite and it was lovely. The cabanas are set in a nicely lawned garden speckled with coconut palms right next to the beach. Saying that you can't really swim in the sea directly in front of the cabanas as the waves crash in. Saying that, it's very theraputic and seeing the turtles popping their heads up every few minutes in the afternoon is great to see. To swim you have to go a whole 50 metres around the corner where a natural reef acts as a breaker and the water is calm to swim in and great for kids. If you like getting up early, watch the sunrise around the bay to the left. If you like sunsets go to the right around Frog Rock and see some of the stilt fisherman hard at work (they will shout for money if you take photos though!!).

The cabanas themselves are large circular buildings with clay roof tilings. Half of the building is where the bedroom and bathroom are while the other half is set out as a veranda with table and chairs that you can chill out on watching the waves come in. The cabanas are comfortable and the beds are good but I think they're designed for you to sleep in rather than spend time inside - when you have your own lovely veranda, grassy garden and beach, why would you want to be inside anyway.

If you like scuba diving you can pop over to Unawatuna Diving Centre down the road for about 150 rupees. This is a professional outfit owned by the same German couple as the cabanas. Be careful about getting the right place though as the people next door also run a dive centre but called Unawatuna Dive Centre. Very, very silimar in looks and when I mistakenly went there on my first day and asked for Hans they kindly said that he wasn't around but would I like to do some diving? They forgot to mention that he was next door and was the competition!!

What else to tell you? The food is pretty good but if prefer to eat out there is a great little bar around the corner near Frog Rock that does good food, beer, wine and cocktails. Unawatuna town is very close and will cost about 150 rupees in a tuk-tuk - you'll be there in 5 minutes.

For us we got the best of both worlds - quiet, restful, no people selling you things on the beach, sunrise, sunset, food and beer and close enough to town that you can have loud and more variety if you want it!

Room Tip: Beachside - noisier but you're meters from the water. Garden - quieter but still get to see the...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank BrightonHuddFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
25 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2012

How often have you sat on a beach late in the evening, wishing you didn't have to go back to your hotel? At the Rockside Cabanas, you don't need to go anywhere - the rooms are literally a few metres away from the gently roaring waves! The beaches of southern Sri Lanka are beautiful, rivalling any of those in Thailand or Malaysia, and the Rockside Cabanas is located right on one of the best beaches in Lanka - Unawatuna.

The hotel is run by a German couple and there are European touches everywhere, from the breakfast spread to the bilingual (English and German) hotel information directory. Renate and her husband pay close attention to detail and are always around to make the guests feel comfortable or to attend to their queries and requests.

I arrived at Colombo Airport at 11 PM, and Renate had arranged a taxi to pick me up and drive me straight to the hotel (120 KM away). By the time I reached, it was 1.30 AM, but Renate showed up at the gate to take me to my room and ensure that all was well. This is in stark contrast to even 5-star hotels where I have been met by sleep-faced and unattentive staff.

What overwhelmed me throughout my stay was the sound of the waves - it is omnipresent at the hotel, hardly surprising when the waves are literally a few steps away from wherever you are in the hotel. When I woke up in the morning and opened the window to the room, I was greeted by the sight of waves lashing against a rock and sending white foamy spray into the air. Not a bad way to start a holiday, eh?

The hotel is located around 7 KM from Galle Fort and there are plenty of local buses or tuk-tuks to get you there inside 15-20 minutes. The slight downside is that there is a railway track that runs close to the hotel, so every now and then a locomotive whistle startled me - but then, trains in Sri Lanka don't seem to operate after dark so it wasn't a bother in the night at all.

The beach cabana I was staying at was minimalistic but very comfortable. There is no air-conditioning, but I left the sea facing window open at night and the breeze from the ocean was more than enough to cool things down. The emphasis seems to be on being eco-friendly, so the room has enough natural light to ensure I didn't need to switch on the lights during the day at all. Even the clothes rack came with a small skylight!

Breakfast is simple but delicious. The room service menu is not extensive, but the food is well made and not expensive. The "boys" will run around and get your order delivered within minutes, unless you order something fancy off the menu.

Although I didn't try these, the hotel has excellent tie-ups with local diving and surfing agencies and they can make arrangements for whale-watching and turtle-spotting trips.

In summary - this is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the soothing sound of the waves and the tranquil beauty of clear blue waters and white sand. There aren't the facilities of a luxury resort, but also absent are the airs and arrogance of a luxury resort.

Room Tip: Simply no doubt - book the Beach Cabanas. If you can't handle the sound of the waves, ask for an...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Atyanand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belfast
Level Contributor
29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 August 2012 via mobile

We had only 3 days here, in a cabana just in front of the ocean. Quite therapeutic listening to the roar of the ocean, if this bothers you bring ear plugs! or stay in main building where there are apartments. The owner Renate, most helpful sorting out taxi/yoga/massage etc.. We enjoyed our short stay and enjoyed the hospitality also. Hope you do too!

  • Stayed August 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank mikeandjanBelfast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancashire, U. K.
Level Contributor
47 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 May 2012

We stayed at the rockside cabanas in march/april. Its off the main road and when you arrive you are shown to a cabanas if you have booked one and they are what they say they are comfortable clean wood shacks, and just a wall separating you from the beach. slight downside no air-con so if you dont mind high temeratures 24/7 this is it..... they also have aircon rooms Renata the owner is lovely once you get past 'Lost in translation' and spend time explaining what you mean or what she means she is an absolute good laugh, dont be put off by what you read about her once you understand each other she has a wonderful sense of humour.
The food was prepared by local sri lankan lads and we ate there for the duration of the 8 days we stayed it was delicious,
The Rockside is away from the unawatana beach but a Bus or Tuk Tuk is moments away
There is also a train line that runs along the otherside of the road and can sometime be noisy but a minor detail

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank oilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Giv'atayim, Israel
Level Contributor
38 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2012

This is small private hotel, hold by German couple. It placed like 5 minutes from the main beach of Unawatuna, far away from all the "troublemakers".
We stayed in the sea view apartment on the first floor with balcony and excellent view on the ocean.

The place is really good:
-The rooms are clean and big, simply and good equipped. The rooms are cleaned every day, towels changed, mini bar refilled etc. The balcony of apartment and of the cabanas have a great view on the ocean.
-The garden is equipped with the beach chairs and hammock, so you can relax in the shadow.
-The kitchen and the restaurant are very clean and well equipped, the chef and the stuff were very polite and helpful. The food was also good and well arranged on the plate:)
-The MASSAGE was really great - Do not miss it!!
-The beach is just 2 steps from the hotel - it is clean, not overloaded at all and staying there is real pleasure, I think it is one of the best beaches We were in. Where are both - very quite part with breakwater and the part where you can catch some wave.
-The owners were also very polite, friendly and helpful.
-The only problem we faced is noise - our apartment was too close to the road, like in other 90% of Sri Lanka hotels, I guess.

Finally - it was great place to stay!! We will recommend to choose the beach view cabanas.

Room Tip: We will recommend to choose the beach view cabanas.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank kyem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rockside Cabanas Hotel

Property: Rockside Cabanas Hotel
Address: 668 Matara Road | Mihiripenna / Thalpe, Unawatuna 80600, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Unawatuna
Amenities:
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 125 Speciality Lodging in Unawatuna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Rockside Cabanas Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
ROCKSIDE CABANAS HOTEL - directly at the Mihiripenna/Dalawella beach! Jump from your bed straight into the 28° C warm water of the ocean. Relax in a hammock under the coconut palms in the 1.000 m² garden of the ROCKSIDE in Mihiripenna near Unawatuna. And in the evening you'll probably lounge in our garden restaurant or on your veranda, sipping a cool drink and enjoying the spectacular sunset over the sea.If you want to perfectly relax just ask us to take care of you - or stay completely private in your CABANA or your APARTMENT. At our own UNAWATUNA DIVING CENTRE, PADI Resort S-36133, situated directly on the beach, only 2 km away from ROCKSIDE we offer you daily snorkeling trips and fun dives to our different dive spots (reef, rock, wrack). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rockside Cabanas Hotel Unawatuna

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