England, August 2015
You asked us to keep in touch about our holiday experience in Sri Lanka, so here is some feedback which I hope you will find useful. Inevitably this sort of reflection focuses more on the negative so let me clearly say that we had a great holiday and thanks to you and your staff for making our time there smooth and trouble free.
Hotel Pledge 3 [Airport] – okay, good choice for a couple of days recovery before setting off but nothing special. Kitchen seriously needs to get over itself, serving what amounts to a tasting menu which was a bit hit and miss. Had an unfortunate experience in that I left some headphones and clothes behind. Hotel confirmed they had them but when Sena and I went to collect them the headphones had vanished from their case. I was compensated for the loss which was good given that it was my senility which was the root of the problem.
Ellerton [Kandy] – garden rooms by the pool really nice. Second night we had to move to the main house with adjoining room for Fraser – far less impressive and I suspect massively overpriced. A place inhabited by the home counties set. Food ok but some menus didn’t work. Nice location of course and not a problem to drive in and out of Kandy (Sena may disagree!).
Galkadawala [Habarana] – split us down the middle. I loved it and could have stayed much longer, bugs and all. Jane didn’t like it – prefers comfort. I imagine your customers may divide in a similar way. It is if nothing else an experience and one well worth offering, but folks do need to clearly understand what they are letting themselves in for. Sena has his own views about the place which I would support. I think it would be a shame not to offer this place but I do think that some improvements could be made. Food excellent, a real treat.
Amaya [Beach, Passekudah] – not expecting too much but pleasantly surprised. The place was large enough to lose yourself in and the beach area was nice. The public beach was great fun – Sri Lankans are very friendly! Food ok.
What to say about Sena, guide, driver, man of letters, philosopher, friend to the famous, scientist, moral teacher, man of strong opinions, Buddhist advocate, a one man crusade to improve the tourist experience in Sri Lanka. Great guy and a pleasure to have his company (but don’t get him started on Buddhism again!).
Really enjoyed the boat trip in the wetlands. Saw a lot of birds, lizards etc. [Muthurajawela Wetlands near Negombo, Airport]
Sick and tired of tourist buffets for lunch. Are there really no other more interesting place to eat? Happy not to see another buffet for a long time.
A little bit disappointed that we didn’t get under the skin of the place a bit more. Going to a small, specialist company with a request that says we don’t have time to research, put together something interesting for us, I had hoped that we could be helped to experience a bit more of Sri Lankan life. Eg, we could have done a train journey and be met by Sena at the other end. We could have eaten in more interesting places or visited a family and had a meal – however I accept that local food can be a bit difficult for us. It was a bit of a tourist experience – that’s okay to some extent but it would have been nice to balance it. Another way of saying this might be, what’s your usp (apart from reliability) as a small, specialist company with a Sri Lankan partner? It seemed to me we could have gone to other operators and had a similar experience.
We said we could be flexible in August so a bit disappointed that we were not advised to be there for the Kandy festival. May be we were a bit late in the day booking for that?
Again reviewing the above it does indeed sound a bit negative. Hope it helps but to repeat, we had a great time – the place is fascinating, people are friendly, so much geographical, animal and bird diversity, and Sena was great too. Would certainly consider going back.« All feedback