Bentota Beach Hotel, Bentota, Sri lanka
A popular package holiday destination hotel set right in the heart of Bentota in a fabulous position straddling the Bentota River and the Indian Ocean and right on a vast, golden beach. If you’re looking for a beach holiday then this is the ideal choice, just avoid monsoon seasons as there’s not much to do in the hotel or around Bentota when it’s raining. Lacking the character and style of smaller Sri Lankan hotels and guest houses in favour of catering to large groups.
Colonial style wooden balconies run the length of a quadrangle set around a tranquil inner courtyard where a large pond and beautiful gardens provide a playground for birds and squirrels. Endless, coconut palm studded, immaculate grounds are set around imaginatively styled pools and waterfalls, perfect for whiling away long sunny days and a popular setting for weddings which are big business at the hotel. Being positioned right at the level crossing of the main Galle railway can make for some early morning calls if your room is on the railway side.
All rooms have good sized balconies overlooking the beautiful gardens and pools of the hotel grounds and either the ocean or the Bentota River – the perfect spot to enjoy stunning sunsets. Décor is in mellow amber or off-white with splashes of colour provided by bed spreads, soft furnishings, cushions and a large hand loom tapestry which adorns the wall above the bed. There’s tea and coffee making facilities and plenty of storage space but if you want WiFi you’ll have to upgrade to a superior room for which you’ll pay more than €20 a night extra.
Meals are buffet style in the large dining room which can feel like a work’s canteen when the hotel is busy with big tour groups. Chefs prepare a choice of Asian, Thai and Sri Lankan dishes but with plenty of Western options for those who prefer to avoid spicy food – er perhaps Sri Lanka may not have been their best decision? For sports enthusiasts, Bentota River offers windsurfing, jet skiing and banana boat rides and anyone wishing to lose kilos in sweat can exercise on dry land where they’ll find tennis and squash courts.
Prices from €112 per night for room and breakfast.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+