Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
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Historical Traveler Reviews Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Great hotel, staff, food, location
We stayed at the Taj for 10 days in May on the 2 for one offer. This was a brilliant deal - we had expected a catch but there wasn't. The airport in Columbo is a bit hectic - selling full size fridge freezers through duty free on arrival and people stuffing them into vans while you are trying to get into your car! Roads are the worst I've ever encountered - makes Delhi or Bangkok seem relaxing.
But it's worth it - the Taj is a lovely, welcoming hotel which equates to a good 4-5 star anywhere. We had upgraded to a deluxe room before we left - for about £30 and it was well worth it. We also got a free dinner (including lobster)with wine because of the upgrade so in real terms it cost nothing. Staff were first class and food was good. Room service was great - cheaper than the restaurant and served on a table with linen cloth etc. Everywhere was spotless and we weren't even plagued with mossies for a change.
Drink is dearer that outside, but still ok for this class of hotel. Beer was 375 rupees, (£2)but huge bottle and quite strong. Spirits and mixer around 500rs (£2.50) Food excellent value - steak about £6 and prawn curry with all trimmings £4.50. Yum. When we returned and spent a night at Heathrow a steak was £21 and a beer £4 so it put it into perspective.
Sri Lankan people are lovely and the beach area is very attractive to look at. Not so comfortable with the constant sales pitch in the village. We were put off going on trips much further afield because of the roads. Did a trip which involved 30 min drive then a 2hour river trip which was nice -great wildlife, monkeys,kingfishers,huge monitor lizards etc.
All in all a great holiday, lovely place and well worth a visit.
Now, both my Wife and I are fussy; my career is in luxury hotels and my Wife's picked up my habit of spotting things that are't 'right', but this place is the best hotel we've stayed in: better than both the Savoy in London and the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong to name but two.
The staff are friendly, the rooms and building in general are excellent and the food isn't bad at all (though the buffet dinner can get repetitive, but there's always two others to choose from).
The only negatives would be the cats that roam the site at will, seeking scraps of food from anyone and everyone, and also that the waiters will take an empty plate from your table as soon as they can get their hands on it: efficient, but unnerving never the less!
Sri Lankan roads and driving are atrocious, so try to sleep for the couple of hours it takes to get to the hotel from the airport, and if you go on any trips out (which I can only reccomend you do: the Pinnewala elephant orphanage is well worth the trip), leave as early in the morning as you can. That way the traffic is less and you're also tired enough to sleep through it anyway...
We can't wait to return!
Well, what a fabulous hotel and location. Good rooms, excellent staff, very good service. Food Excellent. Stayed on bed and breakfast basis, but food is very reasonably priced for a 5* and the standards are very high. Although the main restaurant is Buffet each evening there is a choice of al a carte for a more relaxed meal and the choice is great. Drinks are reasonably priced. Pool service is also good. We have no complaints whatsoever. Train station is 5 minutes walk away giving good access to Colombo and Galle. Plently of places to walk in the vicinity. Would definitely recommend this hotel and location. As for the people in Sri Lanka, we always find them to be the most friendy and welcoming people in the world!
Bored at the Taj Exotica
Booked the holiday with Thomas Cook Signature for two weeks at the Taj...buy one week get one free...encourage people to return after the Tsunami.
The taxi ride to the hotel from the airport was a nightmare, we arrived at Colombo at the hotel around 7 after a 2.45 hrs ride in hell. Kept waking up during the ride to find we were still on the road!
Upon arrival we had previously booked a superior room....I felt like Gulliver in it...needless to say we upgraded to a deluxe room (403) which was very good. (Cost an extra $50 a night but was worth it)
The food would be great but is there only chickens living in Sri Lanka?? Curry any flavour as long as it is Chicken!
The Staff are excellent, I only wish they didnt think it was a race to get your plate off the table...table waiting protocol and etiquette need a tadge adjusting.
Entertainment, no diving, no watersports, the sea is out of bounds due to the current, there is body surfing...but you have to rely on the surf for that at a beach adjacent to the hotel.
After 3 days I was hanging myself and bored stupid, residents were getting up at 0600hrs to reserve a sunlounger...and turning up at 1030hrs....and it wasnt the usual suspects either...it was the Brits! (Very dissapointed at that!)
The drink in the hotel is astronomical, the same bottle of beer 5 mins from the hotel is 60 Rupees comared to 650!
The spirits are definately not what it says on the tin...very weak.
Decided to venture out of the hotel after 5 days on a trip, 3 days 2 nights up to the tea plantation and Yula National park...Unless you enjoy sitting in a Nissan Sunny 1.4 for an avarage 6 hours each day dont bother.
After 10 days I awoke to belive the world smelled of curry, on the 14th day we left at 0130hrs in the morning for the 06.35hrs flight to LHR. (It also was the curry flight) It wasnt until I landed at LHR did I realise The world doesnt smell of curry.
Overall it was a break, I am sorry to say I wont darken Sri Lanka's door again. The Taj is good but its an oasis in a desert...if the Taj is one of the best I would hate to see the worst.
We have just returned from a week's break at the Taj Exotica, having been encouraged to book through reading reviews. The hotel's location really is as stunning as it looks in the photos. The beach goes on for miles and is so empty: just sand and palm trees. Everything at the Taj was of a good to excellent standard and we had a healthy and happy week. We had a beautiful view from our 'standard room' of both gardens and the sea. We were also impressed with the security; the area was well patrolled at night but it was not overbearing.The staff were very helpful and our only complaint was that it rained!
We met up with a local (who had a book with testimonials from others) who took us on a couple of tours: the mangroves on the river; the moonstone mine; the remaining turtle hatchery (main one appears to have been destroyed by the tsunami) and a day trip to Kandy. His job was to try to drum up business for Ocean View, a little beach restaurant nearby. The hotel's food was good and cheap but beer was quite expensive (375 rupees - just over £2) compared with about 90 rupees (less than 50 p) outside, so it was worth a little stroll on the beach. We also had a couple of good meals at the nearby Golden Grill.
I had read that the gardens might be brown from the Tsunami sea water but apart from the fact that the Chinese Restaurant was closed and boarded up, there was little evidence of it. Some people had very sad stories to tell and all the local people were very pleased to see tourists. It is up to you whether you choose to visit damaged areas or not. We did visit Peraliya which is still in need but we certainly felt we were helping just by bringing 'tourist' money in.
Although it is quite a way, if you go to Sri Lanka, don't miss the elephant orphanage. Seeing over sixty elephants walk down to the river was quite magical and a highlight of our trip.
Have stayed at the Taj Exotica several times and have loved it more with each visit. My first time was on my honeymoon and since then i've been bewitched with the place - its beach, gardens, food and service. Whether u want to realx or be on the go this property offers a variety of fun activities - from snorkelling, excursions to the mangroves, water polo, pool aerobics, tennis...the list goes on. Infact they even have a small library. The rooms are spacious, clean and well appointed with views of either the sea or the tropical gardens. The food is excellent - i personally prefer the buffet offered for its wide choices. The staff is friendly and helpful. They remember anniversaries and b'days and always surprise us with an in- room complimentary cake or champagne. They also have a night club and a lounge with live music every evening. Would highly recommend this place for honeymooners and romantics.
Best hotel in Bentota
THis is simply the best hotel in the Bentota area in my opinion and I have been many times and stayed in many hotels. The fact that it backs onto the railway line in NOT an issue. The railway line runs from Colombo to Galle along the coast so nearly every hotel along this coast backs on to the railway line. The trains do NOT run at night and are very infrequent during the day when they can usually not be heard in the rooms anyway. Besides I presume at these times you will be touring, eating or on the beach or by the pool anyway. The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms are well equiped and clean. Admittedly the first room we had I didn't like because of the decoration style but within five minutes we were moved to another room. No problem. The food is excellent and you need to try all the hotels restraunts. The Chinese restraunt was excellent but a little expensive, a nice treat and the others were very reasonably priced. So much so that next time we will book room only and pay as you go. Much cheaper than booking half board from the UK. For example when we visited a Taj Club sandwich and fries which we had most days as a snack lunch cost 350 rupies which was about a pound at the time. Considering we shared this between us as it was a generous portion we were having lunch for 50 pence a day!!!! Now that is very good value. A meal in the very nice restraunt with baby grand piano, worked out less than £9 per person. Considering we had paid £12 per person in the UK for half board and that was only for the buffet you begin to see what I mean. The Buffet itself was excellent but you can imagine some would be reluctant to try other places when you have already paid fro a meal elsewhere. The staff are excellent as they are in most Sri Lankan hotels and nothing is too much trouble. The pool is very good and quite large. it has a pool bar and drinks and food can be served directly to your lounger by means of raising a flag on the side of the sun lounger. Bentota itself is an excellent locaton with some fantastic shops and lovely people. In short ........... Do it. Room only. Taj Exotica.
We arrived at the Taj Exotica after an "interesting" 3 hour drive from the airport. We where on our Honeymoon and Sri Lanka was our second point of call - after the initial "culture shock" we where amazed and thrilled to find this Oasis. We where immediatley taken care of on our arrival with a smile a very welcome "comfy seat" and a welcome drink. Because it was our Honeymoon we where upgraded to a deluxe room. The room was exceptionally large, had a large balcony with sea-view and all the luxuries you would expect from a 5 star hotel. We where not disappointed with our choice, of hotel which had beautiful grounds and pool or location the beach has golden sands and palms trees that are endless - Although the buffet food was very good we preferred to eat in the hotels Seaview Restaurant - please try this if only once the presentation, food and service is excellent and i can assure you, you will not be disappointed, the prices are very reasonable too! - we loved it so much we ate there every night and worked our way though a delicious menu. I would not hesitate to recommend anyone to this hotel - i will say DO NOT go anywhere with anyone you meet on the beach - its a con and they will want money, otherwise its FAB.
Very relaxing and beautiful layout
stayed at this beautiful haven early september...the rooms were clean and well arranged....service was good...good food......found this hotel above average in Srilanka...
Very disappointed with the Taj Exotica Bentota. It was claimed to be a 5 star resort, but was tired and in need of an uplift. Don't be fooled by the lobby which is smart and pretty. The rooms, whilst reasonably large, are smelly and rather sad.
The Staff are the major positive point, they are attentive and smiley. But the hotel is overall a disappointing mix of a bad location (backing on to the main train line from Columbo to Galle), coupled with below average rooms.
The refurbishment needs to extend beyond the lobby.
TripAdvisor Reviews Vivanta by Taj - Bentota
Travel Blogs from Bentota
Very lazy day - as expected not much to report. Massive breakfast. Walk along the beach and over the bridge into the next town. Visited a local supermarket which was super basic. Back for some downtime at the pool. A few little chipmunks we having great fun playing chicken with us while sunbathing. While listening to podcasts and lying in the …
Had hands down best breakfast this morning. Our resident chef was on hand again. First breakfast where we've been served - every other day is buffet. So we had a specially made juice, a fruit platter, then asked how we'd like our eggs. After would we like pancakes?! Seriously everything is getting snug with all this good food! Had one last chill in …
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... also developed since being in the country. In Jaffna we taught lots of spoken English through games and songs whereas in Galle l was required to teach through a syllabus. It was a great experience which has allowed me to compare and contrast the different values in education, beliefs, cultures and religions between Scotland and Sri Lanka. A new journey begins.... I joined the rest of the girls in the boys and the girls unit half way through this week where they've already been ...
... so could breathe some fresh air, but also felt very penned in as a result. We were relieved when we finally got to Galle, and happier still when we saw how pleasant and picturesque the walled old city is.
The old city, contained within the walls of a fort, feels a bit like a medieval European city plopped down in a beautiful tropical setting--albeit a European city with a mosque and Buddhist temple. The Portuguese built part of the fort in the 16th ...