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“great place, not so good location”

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The Frangipani Tree by Edwards Collection
Ranked #11 of 34 Hotels in Unawatuna
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 March 2012

we spent 4 days during February 2012 with our 3 relatively young children. great property and a lovely nice-size room and huge bathroom (the olive ridley). breakfast was nice as well with homemade bread (which was fresh every 2nd day or so). staff was also friendly. the pool was excellent and the kids really enjoyed the the place. beautiful beach but NOT for swimming - and this is the issue: if you wanna go to the nice and more calm beaches, you need to get to viyaya or unawatuna. getting there is a HAZZLE with a very, very busy road, the bargaining of the price to get there with tuk tuk (we paied 150 rupees to the beach of unawatuna). So if you, like us, enjoy getting a bit out at places with restaurants to choose from, great beach and a bit more life then perhaps staying at unawatuna would be a better option. But if you are looking for a quiet, nice but somewhat expensive but beautiful place, hte Frangi pani tree is recommended

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank zuzan l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 February 2012

From the moment we booked this hotel in September, 2011 for a stay in March, 2012 via a booking agent, our problems started. We knew this was a busy time due to the cricket in Galle and only booked flights once we had a confirmed booking and the money had been taken. In all innocence we contacted the hotel to request a room and airport transfer and although they indicated there was a problem sorting out room allocation, we heard nothing further for 4 months.

We chased again at end-January and they told us that they could not honour our booking, offering us instead something wholly unsuitable miles away. A series of e.mail exchanges followed (several of which they ignored), and they basically would not apologise but blamed the booking agent for everything. They then eventually offered us a couple of free dinners and a future stay to acknowledge our inconvenience, but did not apologise or help further and refused to answer specific questions about why it was our particular booking they could not honour.

The booking agent provided us with financial compensation to acknowledge that all accommodation left at this late stage was either more expensive or not suitable (much further away or a lower standard), and the fact that we were still faced with a problem to find something else. Eventually we did, but took several weeks to sort out and many hours of our time On hearing that this compensation had been paid, the Frangipani Tree / Printers withdrew all their goodwill gestures, including the birthday dinner on the beach for my partner.

Their e.mails became increasingly terse and basically they strongly indicated that they did not feel any of this was their responsibility and, despite the fact that their hotel takes the majority of its bookings via booking agents, they refused to acknowledge any responsibility for the problems arising.

I offered several olive branches to them but they were all rebuffed and left me feeling that we had been treated extremely shabbily by the hotel from start to finish.

To this day we do not understand why, if they knew about a problem with our booking as far back as September, they only told us that this problem was terminal 4 months later when we chased about room allocation and when it was too late for us to find good alternative accommodation at a similar price? Had we not contacted them, they would not have had our e.mail address or been able to cancel the booking with us directly, and it is likely that we would have turned up and been told there was no room for us.

We were disgusted that they sought to blame the booking agent throughout, never once admitting any of this was their fault, and refused to answer why we were the ones dumped out of our room, rather than others who had booked with them (could the reason be that others were paying more, so we were dumped as the profiit on us was less?) Subsequent goodwill gestures proved false and meaningless – offered one minute, withdrawn the next.

If you book at this hotel, you risk the booking being cancelled at the 11th hour. If you get a good price via a booking agent, or book at a busy time, that risk is clearly even higher. Personally I would not suggest taking that risk, as you are exposed right up to when you have completed the check-in process.

Room Tip: Do not contact the hotel in advance to request a room - they will use this against you when they nee...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Peter T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2012

First impression accommodation was very good but no fridge /mini bar.
We stayed for 6 days & the breakfast was the same each day. (boring)!! the same two pieces of fruit x 4 &. tasteless overcooked bacon.
Evening menu is good but wine prices extortionate at 50 usd a bottle. However locally there are no other options unless you travel to Galle 10k away.

Local staff very accommodating as we found out on our second night returning from Galle. We arrived back to Frangipani & we asked security staff when the turtles would be visible on the shore line. they replied approx. 1pm we offered them a drink & socialised until 2pm. To our dismay the next morning we discoverd £60 & 10,000 srp had been stolen from my handbag which was in my room. We paid our tab for food and drink within our stay on the morning of departure and informed the manager of our problem . She was upset to here of our ordeal but did nothing to recompense our loss and on departure asked us to pay our bill again.We are still in hope that we get an apology but we wait in anticipation .

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank sean p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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2  Thank Trunkix4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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3  Thank SW1LL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank Ealingglobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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2  Thank MollyGibraltar
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

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:
#3 Spa Hotel in Unawatuna
#3 Family Hotel in Unawatuna
#3 Romantic Hotel in Unawatuna
#6 Luxury Hotel in Unawatuna
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Unawatuna
Price Range: £197 - £338 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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