How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Free parking
Historical Traveler Reviews Vilas Maria Funchal
Friendly & Enjoyable!
I read the two previous reviews just prior to going and I was very concerned. However; apart from no A/C in the room (the rooms do need it), my wife and I found most other aspects of the hotel quite satisfactory. It's a good medium class hotel, staff very friendly and obliging. Rooms are basic but clean. It was great to just walk straight onto the beach from our ground floor room. The hotel is closing for 2 months June - July for further refurbishment to most of the communal areas including the restuarant.
Go, you'll enjoy it!
Stayed here for 12 nights, couldn't wait to get away.
The room, although refurbished was dark and uncomfortable. Peeling lampshades, bare unpainted plaster walls in bathroom - they must have ran out of tiles!
The towels were like sandpaper, water not often hot, stained sheets and staff with their hands out for tips all the time. There must be an epidemic in Negombo as most staff have close family members in urgent need of operations, and they are the only one working.
What A Dump
We booked this holiday at short notice, and unfortunately our worst fears were realised.The pictures of the rooms on the website are the renovated rooms, the rooms at the other end of the hotel are the original ones. Dark and dingy holes with flyscreens kept in place with newspaper. At night you had a choice of being eaten alive by mossies or living in a sauna, and that was before we went to dinner. The staff were apart from a few exceptions a surly bunch until the day we were leaving when tips were expected. One day after a tour we came back to our room to find the towels had not been replaced. i went to housekeeping and was given 2 lovely white fluffy towels as opposed to the floorcloths which were normally issued. When we came back from lunch the nice towels had been replaced by the normal hard,dirty cloths. When we asked why this had happened, we were told that our rooms did not qualify for the new towels. The room reminded me of my accommodation at an RAF station in Sharjah, but that was in 1966. That is probably being unkind to the RAF. The original wing of the Seashells hotel is a dirty, dingy dump.
A Friendly Place
Just returned from a 12 day visit and found the hotel's staff extremly friendly and nothing too much trouble. Upgraded to A/C room which was basic but clean and more than adequate for the area.The hotel is in a superb location right on the beach with all rooms having a sea view.The food was good with a good variety to suit most people.The entertainment at night was limited but sitting listening to the waves with the background music was pleasant.Lots of people leave early morning for flights home or trips but always found housekeeping/cleaners started work around 8-9am. In the foyer is a board called Eco Enviroment the 3 trips were included in our holiday price. One of the trips is a journey down the old Dutch canal and was a wildlife paradise.I understand that this can be booked at reception if not included. The guy who drives the boat whose name is Sarath will also arrange to take you independantly to the "Lagoon" this is completly different to the canal trip. Set in mangrove/jungle you will see wildlife galore. He arranges to stop at a remote village where they will climb a tree to get you a coconut drink whilst they make you a lily flower necklace.This trip was superb and well worth the money. Sarath owns the boat moored on the beach in front of the hotel and is there mornings/afternoons when not out on trips.He has a book that someone in the UK has made for him so ask to see it. Sarath is very knowledgable, speaks good english and 100% trustworthy so have no fears.
A walk around Negombo is a must, an education, an experience and will have a lasting memory with me forevermore.We also did a 3 day 2 night trip to Elephants/Kandy and Nuwara Eliya but the trip with Sarath and Negombo was the most rewarding. Lastly Sri Lanka is a beautiful place the poverty made me feel so humble, but the thing that I will never forget is the smiling faces these people have.
Nice friendly resort
We stayed here for 6 nights in October. Very small friendly resort. The food was very good - a mix of western dishes and also Sri Lankan with theme nights the norm. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. The room was clean and although it did not have a/c it did have a ceiling fan. It also had a mosquito net which proved entertaining getting into at night and out again in the morning.
The room opened out onto a terrace that lead straight onto the beach. Fantastic views of the local "keti marans" sailing past.
The locals are very friendly although it can be a tad wearing to be asked "Where are you from? Where are you going? and What is your name?" numerous times before trying to sell you a shirt or tuktuk trip.
The beach itself is a working fishing beach which has small fish markets at each end of the bay in the morning when the fishing fleet lands.
We went on an all-inclusive tour, staying at Seashells for the second week. We had been told to expect a 'mid range' hotel but found it hard to see how this was jusified. The hotel, although being modernised in some rooms was shabby and dated and many of the staff seemed surly and disinterested; requests for things we wanted, all noted in their welcome pack either didn't come or only arrived after 2 or 3 reminders.
The departure time for some of the flights, including ours, meant a 2.30am collection from the hotel - the staff all arrived at 2.30am to start cleaning the rooms for the new day arrivals. This took 2 hours and woke most of the guests. The corridors are tiled and very echoey and the rooms have a mesh screen above the door (no glass) so you hear every sound.
Although reading the books warns you that this is a dirty beach it really was disappointing. Loads of rubbish and filthy water from nearby drains. The food was distinctly average with only a limited choice. The chef was however really friendly and I learnt a lot about how he made the curries which were very tasty (and very hot) which was one of the few positives we took away.
Be prepared for poverty and hassle from the locals even before you reach the gate of the hotel. They don't leave you alone and can be quite intimidating since the area around the hotel is in a relatively poor part of Negombo.
Sri Lanka itself is a beautiful country and the wildlife is stunning. It is sadly uncared for in the towns and the rubbish everywhere is a shame. The people were friendly although be prepared for a request for rupees for most contact you have.
Seashells...never again, Sri Lanka, yes to see ther wildlife (birds were amazing), the historical sites and the culture.
Will always go back!
I have stayed at the Seashells hotel twice. Once in 2002 and the other in 2003. The hotel itself is quite small and informal and to be honest quite basic. This is why I loved it so much! I have travelled aroud the world and I have never met friendlier people!! They actually go out of their way to make you feel welcome, not because it's their job, but because they want to. The hotels has a great location - right on the beach. I saw the most amazing sunsets from my room and the pool area, it's gorgeous!
Our room was basic but very sweet. The pool is not too bad in size and with a part shaded, which is great for keeping out the sun! The one thing I noticed about this hotel was that everyone we met were repeat guests! My fiance and I are 23 & 24 and we sat always sat with an old, sweet woman who had stayed in the hotel 25 times! She goes with her husband for months at a time... this shows you what the hospitality is like.
If you are looking for a luxury, exclusive holiday, this is not for you. The only thing I could fault the hotel for was lack of entertainment although we didn't go in peak season so it may be different now.
I absolutely loved this hotel which is why we returned with our 4 friends the following year. We only really ventured out into Negombo at night once, most of the time we made use of the all inclusive. The food is nice, not a lot of variety though however it is worth noting that they do apparently make you anything you want for an extra cost (we never did)).
The hotel has it's own drivers so if you want to do any touring, wait until you get there and book a driver to take you around as it's much cheaper and great value for money. We had a driver called Rohan (who we had partied with the first time we went). We did a 2 day tour from the hotel to Pinnawela elephant orphanage, overnight in a 4* hotel in Kandy, went to the temple of the tooth, climbed Sigyria rock and back home. It was amazing!! it cost us £70pp including meals and a tour in Kandy. We had a private air conditioned car and Rohan escorted us the whole way. He was fantastic! I would definately reccommend this kind of tour as it's a great way to explore Sri Lanka.
Nice and Friendly
Right on the beach, friendly and well presented staff, food ok could have had more choice for veggies. Not much in evening entertainment.
If we go again we would go into an air condition room, ceiling fan ok but it still was very hot.
Lovely little familiar hotel
We were 1999 from Germany for two weeks in Seashells bei "all inclusive", which we naturally not always used, because of many excursions and trips around Sri Lanka. The price was such a great value, that is why it did not matter. We found the food of Seashells very fine and the service was excellent.
The service boy for the beach asked me already in the evening, if I would like to have the same sun bed with new towels on the beach tomorrow! And as I got up, it was all ready waiting for me!
That holiday was just marvelous - we are dreaming since of being able to repeat it, now from Spain where we live.
I saw this forum only by searchig for informations, what happened to our lovely little hotel by tsunami! - Very, very sad - and we learned to know so many wonderful people!
Always stayed here
My husband and myself have stayed at this hotel 4 times now. The first time in 1994 when we were married in Sri Lanka and the last time in 2004.
The hotel rooms are all straight onto the beach. It is a fishing village and is actually in the Kochikchade area of Negombo. You get quite a few beach sellers selling sarongs but they are all licensed now, you have to be firm and don't be afraid to barter! but the items are cheap and it is their living after all!
The rooms are cleaned everyday, never had problems there, I know there were plans to update the rooms in 2004 as I think they are about 30 years old, but overall they were clean, well sized and good value. We don't normally eat hotel food as we have always ate where the locals ate. The breakfast was fine but the couple of times we did eat there we were a bit 'ill' (along with the whole of the hotel one time), but I think they have learnt from that. I would still recommend eating out though and experiencing the local restaurants.
The hotel used to be half board but has now gone fully inclusive (demanded by German tourists) which is sad. OK if you just want to lie on the loungers and eat hotel food all day and not set foot outside, but you can arrange half board or B+B if negotiated with the manager.
The obsessiveness of the sun loungers is laughable, especially by a couple of groups of our neighbours across the water (!)
At this moment Sri Lanka has been hit by the terrible Tsunami which has devastated Southern, Eastern and Northern coastlines. This hotel was not affected very much and so I imagine it will be back in business very soon.
I would definitely recommend it for an ideal base if you are adventurers like us who want clean rooms, great views and superb staff.
TripAdvisor Reviews Vilas Maria Funchal
Travel Blogs from Negombo
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