Ray & Sue

England, April 2013

What did you like most about Sri Lanka?

Lots to see culturally, the nature and the friendliness of the people.

What did you like least about Sri Lanka?

We went during a hot spell (34°C+).

One particular hotel much below standard of the rest (see below).

Any other comments?

We'd like to start by saying how much we enjoyed our trip, we've had a fantastic holiday and it delivered on everything we set out to achieve. All of this helped to a very high degree by two warm, welcoming and accommodating guides/drivers in Sena and Kapila.

Out of the huge number of positive and memorable events and the array of first rate accommodation a number of points are worth raising which may help your future clients.
I had missed the point it was a 3 hour trip from the airport to Bentota and after a delayed journey it seemed just a bit too far.

We liked Avani Hotel [Avani Bentota Resort & Spa, Bentota], it was a great place to stay and relax after a long trip. They could raise their game a little. Entertainment was provided occasionally but this was poorly advertised and could easily be missed. The evening buffet meal where there were hot dishes, they weren't hot (they were sitting over heated electrical plates). The impact on the quality of Sri Lankan curries was minor but the western style food suffered as a consequence. We had a packed breakfast the morning we went to the Kottawa Forest Reserve and it was very poor, a sandwich which we'd asked for brown bread. In the event the hotel provided a whit bread sandwich and 2 slices of brown bread, 2 small pieces of banana bread and no fruit at all. I would suggest that anyone asking for a packed breakfast be absolutely certain they have left clear guidance on what they want.

Kottawa Forest Reserve which was booked as a result of my request for more activities was not worth visiting. It was dark and gloomy and we didn't see any wildlife. A local man accompanied us and although we bought some of the local preparation we had at least 3 leeches fasten themselves to each of us. Sena was very good at applying newspaper ash to staunch the bleeding. This forest may suit a specialist naturalist for the flora but may be not the general tourist.

After Galle we were picked up by Kapila who had a 5 hour journey to get to us, we then had a 4 hour journey to Tissa [Tissamaharama], Kapila was a good driver but we were a bit nervous as that's a long time to be behind the wheel. (This was the day after New Year and may have been a one off.)

In Bundala [National Park] we were caught off guard a little when a tracker/guide joined us, apparently the norm. We didn't know that he would accompany us as we'd had Kapila in the morning round Yala [West National Park] and he was so knowledgeable we wondered why we had this other chap join us, so it would have been nice to know that this is the norm before we went.
The Tea Bush Hotel in Nuwara Eliya was very disappointing after all the very nice hotels we'd stayed in. It was the only hotel that did not offer a welcome drink. We were supposed to be in a deluxe room but it had nowhere to put our suitcase apart from the floor, there were only the 2 bath towels, no hand towels and there was no tea/coffee making facilities. I did ask about this and was told they would send a kettle etc along. Three hours later when we were leaving for a walk they got them for us. There was only one seat in the room, no hairdryer and no fridge, the only way we could see any view was sitting on the roof top. The standard reached by the earlier hotels set a level of expectation which was not achieved here.

At the Jetwing Beach [Airport] we were shown into a room on the second floor with a frangipani tree blocking most of the view of the pool, I did say we were supposed to have an ocean view and they did change our room. So for future clients, stick to your guns and get what you have booked.

A general point on the driving we did and the distances covered. The driving looks chaotic but is generally at slower speed than the UK and both drivers [guides] were very safety conscious. The distance between venues does not give a UK standard expectation of how long journeys will take. Speed limits are lower and the interaction with other road users means that speed limits are often not achieved. Kapila asked us to make this point to you [John] in order that this is advised to other clients.

A few niggles I know, which did not detract from a very successful holiday. We have already recommended you and would hope to travel with your company again to Sri Lanka.

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