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“Boutique Hotel with potential”

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The Frangipani Tree by Edwards Collection
Ranked #5 of 32 Hotels in Unawatuna
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Boutique Hotel with potential”
Reviewed 7 February 2012

We stayed here at the last minute, so had no choice in our room allocation as we took the only remaining rooms. We were welcomed by a charming manager and her colleague, then shown to our rooms.

The first room was in the Olive Ridley block and although it was huge and tastefully designed (minimalist to the point of being spartan), I would definitely not recommend it. The traffic noise was unbearable; the sound of tuk tuks and trucks from the adjacent road kept me awake most of the night. The garden bathrooms are a wonderful idea but just add to the noise and mosquito problem. The other room that we passed in this block was even worse because everyone who entered the hotel walks past it and can see inside, especially at night. There are no curtains, just shutters and you need to climb on a chair to lock them. Some soft furnishing would add a huge amount to the decor. The padlocks are less than ideal too; a simple door key would definitely be preferable.

The second room was in the Leatherback block and although smaller was infinitely better. The garden bathroom concept worked much better here as you were further removed from the road noise. The wonderful sounds of the waves dominated the room and resulted in a perfect nights' sleep.

Our dinner was pleasant and the service was good. My only complaint was that we had to day in the corridor outside the Olive Ridley room and it was not possible to get a table large enough to seat the whole family. Fans would be useful too to minimise the number of flies. Breakfast was a totally different story. There were different staff on duty and everything seemed to be too much trouble. We asked to eat outside our Leatherback room, but they refused. They could not appear to provide the omelette that I ordered, so breakfast basically consisted of a few pieces of fruit and some toasted stale baguette.

The lap pool is lovely and the sunsets are beautiful. Galle is easily accessible from here. I have no idea why the only common indoor space has a TV in it. Granted, the rooms do not have TVs, but a shared TV for all of these rooms is a concept that really does not work. It gets particularly irritating when it is left on with nobody watching it and must make it impossible to really relax by the pool. The room would be much better utilized as a bar or quiet reading lounge.

This property has a lot of potential, and the new manager will probably make a number of changes. It's the little details that need work; the rooms need to a little less industrial and the service definitely needs an upgrade but these can easily be fixed.

Room Tip: Opt for an ocean front room. Unless you can sleep through anything, you will not have a restful hol...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Trunkix4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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445 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (106)
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2012

We spent 5 lovely nights at the Frangipani Tree in early December. We enjoyed our stay very much. We had the room above the library/TV area, which was huge and had great views out to sea as well as to the pool. The decor is minimal, modern and stylish, so if you're looking for something more traditional then this place might not be for you.

The general hotel staff and chef are fantastic and really accommodating. They couldn't do too much for us and are such nice people.

The hotel was less than half full when we were there (we were there just before peak season), and so we enjoyed the run of the place for most of the days we were there.

The food is excellent and some of the best we had in Sri Lanka. Prices aren't cheap but you certainly get your money's worth. The helpings are soooo generous and of a very high quality. The menu wasn't too large but we didn't mind that at all. The seafood and fish options were excellent and fresh, and changed daily which was really impressive and were very good value for money, especially the super large prawns - which take over the entire table!

The breakfasts (we had the Sri Lankan option every day were were there!) were fantastic. Don't miss out on these! The chef provided us with different options and curries every day to ensure we didn't get bored, ranging from prawns to fish to veggie, all delicious! The helpings were enormous and set you up for the day. The traditional curd and treacle was also amazing, some of the best we've eaten on our Sri Lankan travels.

The sea right outside the hotel is quite rough, but if you walk 10 mins either right or left, there is safer sea swimming, and is highly recommended. The staff will happily help you negotiate with the tuk tuk drivers, and as Galle Fort and Unawatuna are so close, it's worth a few outings to both during your stay.

My one small comment would be improvement of the senior management. Customers appreciate being communicated to and want attention to detail, especially when paying 5* hotel prices.

Room Tip: There are rooms with indoor and outdoor bathrooms, so ensure you ask for what suits you.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank SW1LL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ealing
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2012

We spent a most enjoyable six nights here as a family of four from 1-7 January 2012 (we highly recommend Leatherback suite). Lovely long pool, fabulous beachside location with its glorious sunrises and sunsets, great food and great service with large, air-conditioned rooms which were cleaned / prepared twice a day.
Small feedback point for the management - please reduce the price of wine to an affordable level and/or consider putting fridges in the rooms (there is one for guest use in the kitchen where we kept our own supply of beer, wine and soft drinks).
Otherwise, we thought Frangipani was wonderful!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ealingglobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gibraltar
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2012

We stayed in this small hotel right on the sea front in December 2011. The potential is certainly there for this to be a superb destination, but it really lacks the attention to detail you would expect for the price. The pool and setting is lovely (the road can be noisy early in the mornings), and the location is great for visiting Galle Fort, Unawatuna and other tourist places, but the hotel lacks the finishing touches and details, and I am not sure the management genuinely know what is expected, and what is on offer at other locations — last night's candle on the breakfast table, no flowers etc etc. It really is a shame. On the positive side the swallows coming in to roost at dawn is a sight well worth seeing. There are only 10 rooms and no bar area so the hotel is very quiet in the evenings. (Personally I think the beach side TV room with is nice sofas should be turned into a bar/cocktail area so guests can mingle and have a early evening drink and a chat). The bathrooms (we stayed in Hawksbill) are open to the small gardens which is lovely, but again one of the sinks was cracked and glued and we had to ask for hand towels, even the loo brush was missing, so even this was let down. Attention to detail, attention to detail, attention to detail!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MollyGibraltar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North London
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2012

We chose to pay considerably more to stay at the Frangipani Tree than alternative suggestions from our agent but felt that we got little extra for our money. There was some confusion over our reservation and we spent the first night in one of the Olive Ridley rooms on the ground floor without a sea view. These rooms are awful, you can hear traffic from the busy main road outside and you if you open the front window / doors to the bedroom people passing can see in so we had to keep the shutters closed as well.
The remaining 5 nights we stayed in one of the Hawksbill rooms, these are much nicer with a private patio area and sea view. The room is furnished in a minimalist style, clearly aesthetics were prioritised over comfort. The polished concrete floors are very cool and the outside garden/bathroom funky but the wet floors are as slippery as an ice rink.
The breakfasts were good, particularly the Sri Lankan ones. We had dinner at the hotel twice, the first time the meal was particularly uninspiring though the second much better. The hotel seems to try to create an exclusive atmosphere preferring guests to eat outside their own bungalow, this often meant having to hunt down a waiter several times during the meal. Olive Ridley guests have no option other than to eat in the corridors surrounding the TV room. We did have a couple of light lunches which were fine. Although drinks are available the hotel has no bar area so socialising is difficult.
The public beach infront of the hotel is pleasant and enjoys great sunsets but was too rough for bathing, there is a much nicer beach about 15 minutes west of the hotel which also has some nice informal bars and restaurants.
A short tuk tuk ride away Unawatuna is a lively small resort with decent bars and restaurants, the main redeeming feature of our say, though on returning one evening at about 9-30 we found ourselves locked out and had to hammer on the gates for 15 minutes before the security guard finally came. Needless to say it was impossible to get a drink at that hour. The hotel manager was helpful and pleasant though clearly inexperienced.

Room Tip: Avoid Olive Ridley non beach view rooms.
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  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank HighburyExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
australia
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2012

After traveling around Sri Lanka we were very happy to settle down here for a beach holiday. It is more like staying in a friend's relaxed holiday house than a fancy hotel and we loved it for that. I was also very happy we did not stay in Galle - one morning there as a visit was enough for us.
Some tips.. The beach here is beautiful to look at but go to marrissa beach for an afternoon to swim and have dinner with your feet in the sand at one of the seafood places. Why beach restaurant is just down the road from Frangipani tree where we had a very good Italian dinner. We had lunch at kahanda kanda which was stunning and the meal was fantastic (not good for children as very quiet)
We also did a bike ride with idle tours which was a fun way to see the local area.
Frangipani tree would be perfect to rent out as a whole retreat if you were looking for a wedding or large family holiday.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Travelbugalug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
79 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2011

I guess it depends on how picky your are....

we loved the location and feel of this small (10 rooms) hotel. It's right on the beach, with a stunning infinity pool. Not a great swimming beach (take a tuk-tuk to these), but great sunsets watching the turtles, and the birds, and the stilt fishermen right outside the hotel.

Kids of all ages seem to love it here - hammock, tennis court, and lots of sports gear to play in the ample grounds. The staff also very happy to join in (cricket/badminton/croquet/soccer etc). backgammon and magazines in large communal room with TV/DVD (none in room). Our 12 year old loved the 90min (12km) off road bike tour by Idletours travelling through rice paddys and country towns..

Food - for the most part exceptional. A large variety on the menu, and the seafood BBQ was a particular highlight. Chef happy to take requests and can highly recommend the chili crab. Can eat, where and when you want. Request a Sri Lanka breakfast the night before if you are hungry (hoppers/string hoppers/currys etc).

Room choices - we stayed in a seafront suite (2 to a villa) and loved the one we stayed in closest to the pool and beach.It had an outdoor bathroom which we liked but others might not (other rooms don't). You do need the mossie nets provided, but mossies only a problem at dawn and dusk.

You will be 15 mins from Galle by tuk-tuk (plentiful), and 30 mins the otherway from Mirissa, the best beach in the area for boogie boarding / swimming especially for little kids. Great place to eat the freshest seafood at one of several beachfront restaurants (tables right on the sand, with big waves just reaching your toes !)

So what's not to like ???? Well the hotel is let down a little by the intermittent service, and lack of management attention to detail present in many other 5 star hotels we stayed in here in SriLanka (eg Candy house/tea trails/Kahandet Kander/Villa Bentota). On the other hand, prices here are lower than above examples..... Despite this, we would happily return...

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank spiritof66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Frangipani Tree by Edwards Collection

Property: The Frangipani Tree by Edwards Collection
Address: 812 Matara Road, Unawatuna 80600, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Unawatuna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Unawatuna
#3 Romantic Hotel in Unawatuna
#3 Luxury Hotel in Unawatuna
#3 Family Hotel in Unawatuna
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Unawatuna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Frangipani Tree by Edwards Collection 5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Spend Time with Sea Turtles and Sparrows who visit this beautiful property Set on an improbable juxtaposition of simplicity and luxury overlooking the turquoise Indian Ocean. The Frangipani Tree is sun, sand, trees, culinary, sensuous and spiritual indulgences among Intimate, Exclusive and Elegant surroundings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Frangipani Tree Hotel Unawatuna
Frangipani Tree Galle
Frangipani Tree Hotel Galle

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