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All reviewsgeoffrey bawarailway trackshallow endboutique hotelsri lankadeserted beacha lovely place to staygreat poollate checkwalk along the beachrain showermosquito nettuk tuklawngardenvillarelaxation
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Reviewed May 2, 2017

Had a pretty disappointing an experience at Club Villa last weekend.

This Geoffrey Bawa designed resort hotel is an excellent piece of tropical architecture and the settings are great but very poor state of the current management lead to a very bad experience last weekend. My wife and I have stayed here many times over the last 10-15 years when it was under a different management and the drop in standards is very poor.

We're usually not ones to complain, but thought this had to be said as the in-house Management of the place turned a pretty much deaf year to our complaints.

To be fair I'll list he the good & the bad.

The good:
1. Food was very tasty and good variety. The Aubergine starter was particularly good.
2. The restaurant staff were generally friendly and 80% of the time were competent and gave us what we asked for.
3. The style of the rooms are characterful and interesting. We stayed at the Club Villa Suite for one night and the space an unique style is very luxurious.

The bad:
1. Death trap floors: The floors of the Club Villa Suite were over polished and a disaster waiting to happen. My wife slipped on the living room floor when just walking an narrowly missed hitting her head on the stone step leading down to it. No running, just walking. The carpets on either side of the bed have no grip and are waiting to slide away from you and make you fall.

We informed the reception manager of this and he said nothing, literally, I kid you not. He just smiled, didn't apologise or offer to looking it.

2. Noisy staff: When we were at the pool, the waiting staff and a junior manager were laying down on the sofas of the TV room area and watching an IPL cricket match at high volume. We asked them to turn it down and they did so some what reluctantly and continued to lounge around. In the evening, some of the staff were seated watching a tele drama. Again we had to ask the to reduce the volume.

The staff seemed to congregate at the back of the Club Villa Suite and we could hear them jabbering away through the bathroom.

3. Inflexibility of meal times. The staff decided dinner would only be served until 930pm. Pretty early for a resort. They came and reminded of the deadline several times and seemed in a hurry to go off some where.

4. General: Their were cleaning buckets left lying around near the Suite entrance door and pump room doors were left open next to it as well.

5. Our room wasn't turned down or cleaned the first night. They also forgot to replace our empty water bottles the next night. Thankfully in anticipation, I had bought some extra water bottles from outside.

6. The resort in general badly needs a refurbishment. Old world charm is one thing but rusted hinges and Cupboard doors held together with paper stops doesn't;t justify the prices asked. Especially in a Suite.

After making many polite complaints about most of the above, the management didn't;t have any idea of apologising or making up for it. In fact, when we asked for a late check out we were refused. When we asked is the whole resort booked, they said no, but for some reason, our specific room (a regular room on the second night) had been in explicably booked. Again, they were in a rush to see us off.

Sad to have to make this review of a place with enormous potential and one we've enjoyed staying at before.

We were told there's new Japanese Ownership that's come in over the last three months. Let's hope they take the above as constructive criticism and get the place back to it's potential.

They should really look at the world class standards of the Taru Rock Villa next-door for inspiration, a place we truly love but was broke out that weekend.

Until then, we'll be looking for other options for our future Bentota visits.

Room Tip: Upper floors are a bit more private. The Suite is very nice but look out for the super slippery and dangerous floors
  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Gishanka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hasitha K, Manager at Club Villa, responded to this reviewResponded May 9, 2017

Dear Reviewer,

Thanks for your review and sad to hear that you had a disappointing stay at Club Villa. We
at Club Villa totally agree with you regarding the refurbishment, we would like to inform you that our new management had decided to do all the necessary refurbishment during the low season with out changing the Heritage . Comments regards to the staff, thanks for commending and will do an internal inquiry and take the necessary discipline actions to avoid the bad issues in the future.

Thanks & warmest regards
Hasitha & Club villa Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 17, 2017

We stayed here for two nights and a bit of relaxation at the end of our busy three and a half week tour of Sri Lanka. It was just the right sort of hotel for that: beautiful gardens, a lovely, shaded pool with plenty of tables and chairs, good food, friendly and willing staff.
We didn't find the trains disturbing, rather a bit of fun and it was lovely to be able to cross the tracks and walk along the beach. Complimentary tea and snacks served in the gardens in the afternoon was a lovely idea, too. We were able to sit by the pool and enjoy drinks but it would have been nice if the waiters had come round to take orders from time to time given that, I think, the hotel like to think of itself as a top-class boutique hotel. On our first night, there was some noise of music and partying coming from the hotel next door. (Ironically, we'd been moved from this hotel because our tour operators had heard about the wedding). In fact, after about ten o'clock, we weren't disturbed at all.
Overall, I think that Club Villa could do with a bit of TLC or a bit of money spending on it. Our bathroom was large and well stocked with nice toiletries, but it was a tad tired and a bit scruffy too. A little thought would have improved it tremendously. For example, it was nice to have bath robes provided (I found them in the wardrobe) but there were no hooks to hang them on nor anywhere to hang toilet bags, and not enough space to hang towels to dry.
Our upstairs room in the garden house, with a large balcony, overlooking the gardens and looking out towards the sea, was lovely: provided with a safe, a mini-bar (we actually had plenty of complimentary water) and excellent air-conditioning. Unfortunately, we had three cockroaches in our room over the course of two nights (or maybe the same one, coming back!). We did bring this to the attention of the manager as we were leaving. He assured us that the gardens and rooms are treated every month. Maybe it needs to be more often. I was assured that the (Japanese?) owners would be notified. I do hope that the upgrade, which I've read has been planned, does go ahead, as the hotel would benefit enormously from some attention.
However, all in all, the friendly staff, the attractive design and furnishings, the lovely seafood we ate in the restaurant, the pool and the setting did make this a lovely place to end our holiday. With a little bit of attention to detail it could be absolutely perfect. But I do have to deduct a star for the cockroaches!

Room Tip: We were upstairs in a two storey bungalow in the gardens, which I would recommend
  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Helen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 12, 2017 via mobile

We quite enjoyed our stay at Club Villa, but in comparison with other resorts we stayed in whilst in Sri Lanka, it is overpriced and run down.

The location is nice, next to the train tracks and near the beach, the yards are lovely and well maintained, and the pool is lovely. We especially loved the complimentary afternoon tea by the pool! The food we ordered from the restaurant was all lovely and reasonably priced. We also loved the art made from our pyjamas in the mornings!

The bathroom is incredibly run down with rust stained benches and an icky little shower. A television and bar fridge would very much be appreciated in the room. We were supplied with one water bottle per person per day and were charged when we asked for additional water, which I find to be outrageous considering the heat in Sri Lanka.

Also - avoid the spa at all costs. I paid $25 AUD for the worst manicure of my life! There was a choice of two awful paint colours, and the end product was almost comical - this sounds so mean, but is honest - I did a better job painting my dogs nails as a five year old!

Stayed: April 2017, travelled with family
1  Thank Caitlin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 2, 2017

We really liked this Villa. Clean and tidy, very attentive staff, great pool, very very easy to do nothing. In fact miles of beach are just a few steps across the local train track. It might seem odd to have the train run at the end of the garden but it was not frequent and we gazed at them and they gazed at us and it was delightful.

Room Tip: All the rooms face on to the garden so no advice.
  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank NickRyley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hasitha K, Manager at Club Villa, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2017

Dear Reviewer,

Thank you so much for the review! It is so good to know that you have had such a great stay!We hope you will come back soon!

Thanks & warmest regards
Hasitha & Club Villa Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 24, 2017

This might sound harsh (especially to the helpful rank and file staff) but it has to be said because Club Villa is grossly over-priced, over-rated and over the hill. It is lacking in the ambience so many come for, hoping to find it in a much touted Bawa-designed resort.

How so? 1. My wife was put off by cleaning rags hanging over a large urn at the entrance when we arrived. I thought it was the manager's underwear. 2. A cockroach shared the room with us. 3. Dented, rusty lampshades more at home in a junkyard, among other dated relics that tried to pass off for room furnishings. 3. An inhospitable manager - business-like, unfriendly and more keen to sell us tours. 4. A rundown toilet I wouldn't expect even in a 2-star hotel - think garish white lights, old vanity tops, peeling paint, chipped off cement.

The whole place has age and neglect written all over it. Shame on the owners who have not invested in its upkeep. And shame to other guests who pay so much and gush over how good it is. I'll concede on one point - the grounds, the lawn, trees and pool area are nice. That's it.

There is no sense of hospitality here. For the same money (or a little more), you are way, way better off in a few other places in the same vicinity. (I can think of at least 2.) Don't be fooled by the pictures. The close-ups will show up a very tired, old place.

I am writing this fresh from my experience - just checked out yesterday.

Room Tip: Don't come!! They need to get their act together. Such as, close down for a major revamp.
  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Khee-Jin N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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