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“Truly a Secret Garden”

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Secret Garden Villa
Ranked #20 of 31 Hotels in Unawatuna
Certificate of Excellence
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Truly a Secret Garden”
Reviewed 10 April 2012

This is easily one of the nicest places to stay on the Unawatuna bay! A 20 second hop away from the beach, the old colonial villa and bungalows are surrounded by a beautifully planted garden that gives the place an air of tranquility. The staff are helpful and the breakfast is absolutely delicious - I had fresh toast, guacamole, scrambled eggs and passion fruit jam that was simply out of this world after a heavy party night on the beach! The rooms are somewhat dimly lit, but if you're interested in getting some solid holiday z's in this works out in your favor. I highly recommend the villa to anyone who wants to able to knock off from the 24/7 hustle bustle of the beach from time to time!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ravi B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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128 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
93 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2012 via mobile

We stayed here for two nights for a break during our Sri Lanka trip. The village was packed with tourists because of the cricket match but Secret Garden remained calm and quiet.
We stayed in bungalow nr. 2 which is pretty small and dark but you do not spend a lot of time in there. The shower and toilet are outside. They provide mosquito nets above the beds. Breakfast was good wi great coffee and fresh juices. Staff are very friendly and helpful.

The beach is footsteps away and plenty of restaurants to eat in the area. We had a relaxing stay and spend some time on the nice beach. There is no ATM in the village so take plenty of cash with you. And try the restaurant opposite of the SG called the Villa. Very nice food and service.

Stayed March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Ritchy41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2012

I stayed at this villa with a work colleague for 2 nights over a weekend on a work trip to Sri Lanka. We had been working in Colombo & decided to travel elsewhere for the weekend, settling on Unawatuna, & the Secret Garden having seen it in the Lonely Planet book.

The driver who brought us here found it a little difficult to locate, but the friendly locals pointed us in the right direction immediately. We arrived fairly late on a Friday evening and were made to feel very welcome by staff who came and carried our bags into our rooms and then showed us which places would still be open to grab a bite to eat.

The villas are located a few hundred metres from the beach, inside a private, gated garden. We visited at the end of the low season so we didn't get all day long beach weather, but the beach in Unawatuna is wonderful, like a little slice of paradise, & the sea is warm! Unawatuna is relatively under-developed at the moment, which is lovely to see, but there are various bars & restaurants along the shore so there is a good choice of places to eat & drink.

I stayed in the villa on the very right as you walk onto the patio area & my friend had the adjoining villa (I think these were Moanah & Maymoonah), so the two of us shared a bathroom. The bathroom was partly outdoor (but with a high wall so no one could see in!) so yo can shower under the stars! Upon our arrival, the staff lit incense, and prepared the rooms for us (putting the mosquito net down & bringing out extra bedding), showing us around, which was a lovely touch.

The room that I stayed in had a book case containing books (mainly English & German) which other travellers had left behind, and there are seating areas outside the rooms where you can relax. The staff were lovely and would bring over tea, etc if you wanted it.

When we stayed at the villas, there was only one other guest so it was very quiet, but I can't imagine it ever not being quiet! The breakfast is freshly prepared each morning & tastes delicious! Fresh fruit, bread and scrambled eggs.

There is a small dome room in which you can attend yoga classes (I think they were offered twice per day) for a small fee with a teacher who comes in. It is also possible to book masages, which will be given in this room. I paid around $ 20 for an hour-long full body massage.

The rooms can get quite dark, but we didn't spend a huge amount of time in them during the day! There was a power cut on our second evening which seemed to affect the whole street, but the staff were again very helpful immediately placing candles all around the garden (which looked lovely!) & bringing them to our rooms.

It is easy to reach Galle from the villa - usually there are tuk tuk drivers around the hotel entrance for the brave travellers amongst you! We took a 2 hour ride with one driver who took us to a jewellery shop, around Galle and to a Buddhist temple, charging us about $10. Beware though - you'll be offered rides every time you leave the hotel after that!

Overall, I'd really recommend this place. We paid around $ 60 per night for a double room which, although not the cheapest place in the area, I considered really good value, & if I should ever find myself near Unawatuna again, I'll definitely be going back!

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lfclou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2012

Secret Garden Villa is a historic colonial villa set in a beautiful tropical garden. It is near, but not directly on the beach, which makes it a quiet and very private place. The villa rooms are generous in size, all of them with an additional, furnished space on the veranda. It's like having a suite. The furnishing is extremly nice and tasteful, with beautiful colors and decoration. It could pass as the private home of an interior designer. The staff is very friendly and helpful. There is a guard all night, which made me feel safe when walking home at night. Breakfast is served on the veranda, at any time of the day as it seems. Good coffee (!), fresh fruit and eggs, all prepared at the moment. The bathrooms are special, means, they are partly open air with plants growing into it. This is a nice touch, but might not be at everyone's taste - at least not if someone is paranoid about snakes and so (havn't seen any though). Only negative is that the beautiful rooms are very humid, with that particular damp smell when the doors are closed. This is unavoidable, as the walls are old and the garden is giving a lot af shape - means it never dries out. But he beauty of the place makes more than up for it.

Room Tip: For honeymooners and romance travellers: There is a fantastic, large suite on the back side of the h...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ariazur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 March 2012

After reading glowing reviews, I really wanted to go to Secret Garden, but due to the rude, arrogant and unprofessional nature of the manageress,would rather penetrate my eyeballs with pins than set foot in the place. Although i feel that the initial problems with the booking may have been due to language barrier, I dutifully followed emailed instructions to send my bank details to confirm what turned out to be a non existent booking and, after numerous attempts to make e mail contact to seek confirmation was eventually instructed to phone the manageress. What a charmer she turned out to be! like in Fawlty Towers, she 'knew nothing', yet, although unprepared to take any responsibility, was very eager to portion blame her own staff. She talked over me with a loud voice when I tried to explain my concerns and eventually slammed the phone down. I assume that the people who wrote positive reviews didn't have the pleasure of meeting her!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HarryPotter947
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2012

We were in the Maymoona suite for three nights at the back of the main building. I loved it. A bit "rustic" I suppose, sure, but beautiful old colonial furniture in the rooms, and a nice open-to-sky hot shower. Don't know what the bungalows are like. The room was a bit dark, sure, but so what - that's a good thing if you're trying to sleep! Plenty of nice shady bits outside to sit and read or whatever.

STAFF: two local blokes, really really nice. Super helpful and friendly and welcoming, but without too much of that horrid cringeing subservience you get in the top-end places. Didn't meet the manageress who other reviewers say is difficult.

FOOD: very nice (not served every night I think, but whatever - other places to eat nearby). I thought it was really quite good value.

LOCATION: close to everything, but peaceful and relaxing. You can hear the bread-van-tuk-tuks annoying jingles quite a bit, which is annoying, but that's probably unavoidable round there.

Room Tip: Maymoona suite v nice. Big bedroom, private shady outside eating bit, nice outside bathroom.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank additasum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bratislava, Slovakia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2012

secret garden is wonderful and peaceful oasis in unawatuna...rooms are cozy and good equipped...close to beach...friendly staff...amazing garden with small auditorium...during our stay we were lucky to attend a special concert... thanks simona[owner]...

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Marian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Secret Garden Villa

Property: Secret Garden Villa
Address: Beach Access Road, Unawatuna 80600, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Unawatuna
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Unawatuna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Secret Garden Villa 2.5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Secret Garden is an oasis within the lively coastal village of Unawatuna, just 20m walking distance from the beach. It boasts a 19th century Dutch-Sri Lankan Colonial Villa with bungalows and suites and a 4000sqm tropical garden. In the middle of the garden rests a large dome, offering 2 daily yoga classes, an on call Ayurvedic therapist for massage and wellness therapy as well as free space for dance, meditation and music. Our staff is courteous and warm. A large tropical breakfast is available daily at all times, and our two chefs are lovingly prepared to cook a great eastern or western meal for you on pre-order. Secret Garden provides relaxation and serenity alongside the opportunity to dive into the blue ocean of one of the country's most popular bays, experience the myth of the Rumassala Mountain and dance away at Unawatuna's many beach bars. May all be Welcome! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Secret Garden Villa Hotel Unawatuna
Secret Garden Hotel

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