I have been lucky enough to stay at the Royal palms twice in the last four years and am going back in november in this year to get married. The Hotel itself is laid out beautifully the choice of food is superb and the a la carte resteraunts actually are which is unusual for se asia. The beech is spectacular but on certain days may not be suitable for weeker swimmers as it shelves rapidly. To walk along it is an experience not to be missed though. the pool area and gardens are wonderful and informal with more than enough areas and loungers.
What truly makes this hotel an experience though are the people, Sri Lanka has some of the friendliest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet but from top to bottom the staff of this hotel are exceptional, friendly, caring and efficient, people to be relied upon to make your time a time to remember.
This was our second visit to the Royal Palms in the last 4 years. We came away a little bit disappointed with our stay. The Staff are still excellent and cannot do enough for you, but the Hotel is starting to look a bit tied, the food was not up the same standard as our last visit and when we were there, was about 90% full of German 'all inclusive package' holiday makers.
We were married at the Lighthouse Hotel in February 1999 and could not have asked for a more idyllic setting.
The staff were warm and friendly, the hotel excellent value for money and the location was breathtaking.
We have travelled extensively but this spot will always remain very special and we hope to return.
We stayed here from 11.01.06 to 25.01.06. From previous reviews on this site we had been expecting to ditch our all inclusive meals and eat out. However, we found the food much better than expected. This may be because we always went into meals as soon as the restaurant opened (the one morning we were late for breakfast things were cold and choice limited). Also we stuck largely to the Sri Lankan dishes and cold vegetable salads. The puddings offered a wide selection of good quality. Rooms were comfortable and large. Staff very helpful but not intrusive. Pool large and deep and warm. Plenty of loungers (ones by pool more comfy than ones on the grass, variety of shaded and full sun positions). On site massage well worth the cost, spa facilities very cossetting (suspect totally re built after tsunami). Beach steeply shelving, sea swimming was not advised but some people found it OK and there is a life guard. Hawkers well disciplined, there if you want to interact but not insistent. Only warning is that local dogs are OK on the beach by the hotel but further from the hotel and in the village they get territorial and somewhat aggressive.
Local clothes well made and cheap well worth considering.
Fantastic five star hotel-qulity and service amazing-only one grumble- the food. Very good standard but mainly catering for westerners and seemed to be filled with lots of all-inclusive tourers so catered for this. Where was the curry? Was so sad that they were catering more for the western pallete and not promting their fantastic food. HOwever could not fault anything else about hotel. Huge plush rooms. lovely restuarant areas and pool. Lovely beach although dirty(Tsunami wreckage still in some places) but otherwise a great place to stay for a beach rest.
We stayed at the Mount Lavinia for 7 nights in total, two before our Ceylon Tour South with Kuoni and five afterwards. It was a lovely hotel with some colonial character. Views from the bedrooms were lovely over the private beach. The food was excellent and the staff could not do enough for you and always with a smile. It was fairly conveniently situated for Columbo, traffic permitting, and we twice hired a taxi for half a day to visit the capital. It is well worth a visit to Odel's and the Galle Face Hotel for afternoon tea.
We can also recommend the Ceylon Tour South with Kuoni, very well organised and interesting, not too hectic. We had a very helpful driver and guide Brian from Walker's Tours who was able to answer all our questions. It was good to have time to unwind before the tour and also to have the 5 nights afterwards before we went home.
All in all a great holiday.
Just arrived back yesterdau June 18th 2006 from the Tangerine Beach Hotel, Kalutara, Sri Lanka. Hotel OK but could do with a good coat of paint and some TLC. Food not good, meals are buffet style but tend to be lukewarm. Ended up with tummy upset for the whole period we were there. Think this may be down to the food not being hot enough to keep any bacteria away. Hotel staff very friendly and helpful. Beach is beautiful and right outside the back of the hotel but unable to go there because of hawkers. We love the beach on holiday so sadly this was a let down. If you do go to Kalutara for a holiday beware of the beach boys who operate outside the front of the hotel especially Gina & Silva, they are con artists and no-one in Kalutara has a good word to say about them. They will follow you where ever you go, including the shops. The shop owners have to then pay them commision as they tell the shop keepers they have brought you. This commision will be added to the final price you pay for your goods and it's not cheap. The two lads will tell you how poor they are and about how their families have been affected by the Tsunami to make you feel sorry for them and give them money. We did fall for it the first time we met them and so did another couple who we met. One of the lads is a drug taker and we were told by the locals that he is dangerous. Please don't book any trips with them as we were told they take you to your trip destination and leave you there!
If you want to arrange trips be wary of booking through the Tour reps as the trips are very expensive. We met a lovely genuine man who arranges trips at reasonable prices. He can take up to 8 people. He is also a Gemologist and will make any jewellery you may want to buy at very good prices and will give you a certificate with every detail regarding the jewellery. His name is Sunil Fernando and his telephone number is ---. His wife is an excellent cook and he can also arrange for you to meet with his wife and she will show you some Sri Lankan cooking. He can also arrange your holiday in Sri Lanka where you can stay at various hotels around the Island to enable you to see lots of different places. On the last night he will arrange a hotel in Columbo so that your journey to the airport is not as long. You would just have to book your own flight. It took us 3 hours to get from Kalutara to the airport. We also did the safari at Yala and he can arrange this. Any trips you may want to go on in Sri Lanka involve a lot of travelling, to go to Yala safari park from Kalutara is 7 hours by car therefore it is better to move around the hotels so that your journey will not be as tedious. Sunil is a very clever man and is very clued up about Sri Lanka. He knows all the best places to take you and if you do book trips through him I can assure you won't be disappointed. Atkin travel want him to work there full time but he would rather do freelance as he does not believe in ripping people off. Had a good holiday but if we did go back we would be arranging our accomodation through Sunil and just booking the flight in the UK as there is so much to see and you are unable to do it from one base as the travelling is too much.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful country whose people are genuinely welcoming to tourists. We stayed at the Tangerine Beach Hotel for 2 weeks. We had booked a deluxe room, but whilst spacious enough, I would describe it as "tired". Air conditioning was good along with the ceiling fan, however everything in the room seemed a little damp. We're unsure if this was caused by the humidity or the air conditioning. The room boys kept the rooms very clean and towels and bedding were changed frequently. Food at the hotel was good, however, as many others have reported, it was lukewarm. We mentioned this to the hotel who advised that they are aware of this problem and have been trying to find a solution. The children in our party struggled with the food options - very spicy - even non-curried items, however by the 2nd week they were becoming more adventurous with their selections. Plenty of fresh fruit and puddings to die for! Chips are not included in the All-inclusive option, but they are available at a small cost. The hotel has a reasonable wine list however they carry a limited stock (think we drank the cellar dry). The cost of wine is not any more expensive than the average bottle at home. During our stay we also ate at the Orient Restaurant at the Royal Palms Hotel next door. The service was excellent and the a la carte menu was a welcome change from curry! The food was excellent and the children got to select from the hotel's buffet also.
We took a 2 day trip to Kandy, taking in the Elephant Orphanage, Dambulla caves, Spice Garden, Botanical Gardens, and the not to be missed Lion's Rock at Sigiriya (8th wonder of the world). We were accompanied by the most gracious tour rep whose knowledge of his country and its history was excellent. During week 2 we took a day trip to Galle in the south of the island and although this was a lovely trip, it was not in the same league as the trip to Kandy.
The people of Sri Lanka are genuine and warm, including the ladies on the beach. Although keen to sell you sarongs, etc., they are lovely people who share their stories of how they survived the tsunami.
All in all, a memorable experience.
We have just left the hotel yesterday following a rather unpleasant incident. As we are working over here and my colleagues are Sri Lankan, we booked the hotel independently after a brief visit. We were impressed by the landscaping and calm environment. Unfortunately on the first night of our week long stay, a man in the dining room started shouting very loudly and aggressively at me for stroking a cat. This was in a crowded dining area. When my Sri Lankan colleagues challenged his inappropriate behaviour and appalling rudeness, he claimed he was the manager. His threatening manner and the laughter from other staff was dreadful. The room was basic and the bathrooms dirty with stained brown grout. Reception staff and restaurant staff are abrasive and gruff in their manner - guests are clearly an irritation. The whole group checked out the next day and moved straight to the Golden Sun Resort which is delightful.
We booked a 9 day dream holiday at the Tangerine Beach Hotel through our local travel agent. The hotel was poor in the following ways
1. Poor customer service
2.Rooms were damp
3.Food luke warm, the same thing every night
4.All inclusive did not include wine, diet drinks
5. Beach dirty with litter and unusable due to local hawkers
6. Entertainment in the day for children very poor and only included volley ball if they they asked
7. Enertainment at night, live music same songs different bands- very lounge lizard style
8. Theft from room, reported and not interested
9.Surrounding area dirty
10. Any trip from this area will take several hours each way
Overall an expensive holiday, the weather was poor with rain for the majority of the holiday but would have been more copable had the previous 10 points been better.
Avoid this hotel even if your travel agent insists it is ok as we had read this site after we had booked. For those people with more money than us that arrived at the same time 3 families transferred to alternative accomodation/ destinations
Having read some of the previous reviews we expected a good if dated hotel. We were pleasantly surprised as the room and hotel grounds were well laid out especially the pool area. The main restuarant was fine with a number of theme nights. Many of the guests were all inclusive and the fact that we were not seemed to confuse the staff no end. However the advantage was you could eat at the other restuarant "The Orient" where they had a fusion menu which for the standard dishes was really good and not overly expensive. The only downside with this hotel was the lack of places outside to eat, allthough admittedly we didn't look very hard.
The staff were all attentive and courteous. If you are here you must get out and see the real Sri Lanka. We took a 2 day 1 night trip to Kandy which took in the elephant orphanage, botanical gardens and the following day a trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla. Other places to see were Kosgoda (turtle sanctuary) and Galle for the old town.
We're just back from this hotel after a 2 week stay (all inc - family of 4, children 14 and 12). Have to say we all enjoyed ourselves and had no problems at all with the hotel. It seemed very quiet there -plenty of sunbed availability and the pool was rarely crowded. Staff were very friendly and helpful, food was good - big buffet selection with spicy leanings. Excellent puddings.
Rooms were ok - clean and quite big with great views, but were a bit dark and felt a bit damp at first. Not sure if this was related to the humidity as it did rain quite a bit to start with. Not brilliant but not terrible and quite comfortable.
The resort is quite a drive from the airport - bad news during the day, but ok earlier.
Beach ok, sea too rough for swimming (monsoon season) and hawkers bit intimidating at first .
Pool excellent - good size, clean, deep and not too busy.