Kani Lanka Resort and Spa
First impressions of this hotel were aesthetically very pleasing but our illusions over the duration of our stay were soon shattered. We booked a multi centre trip with Kuoni visiting the Maldives before it. We stayed in Biyadhoo, classed as a 3 star and far superior in every respect than the Kani Lanka which is given a 4 star rating. This 4 star rating is a joke - 2 star more like, 3 star would be generous. We based our decision to stay in both hotels from the reviews on Trip Advisor. We were bitterly disappointed with our stay in Kani Lanka and consider ourselves blessed we did not chose this hotel for 2 weeks as we would have requested an early flight home.
We booked a superior room, which is basically just a standard room with more floor space and no further special treatment. Suites were like gold dust and even if you book and pay for one you are not guaranteed to get one. The safe should be bolted to the concrete floor but is instead bolted to wood in the wardrobe which can be easily removed. If you go on a trip, your empty room is highlighted by all the tape the accommodation staff put on the door.
The room was consistently damp and smelt of damp/ammonia, so did the sheets. We had to put our clean handtowels on the pillows at night! The towels were threadbare, off colour with marks still on them after washing. Clothes could not be hung in the wardrobe because of damp problems and were constantly kept under lock and key in our luggage. The bathroom was unfinished and very poorly lit. The shower and sink area were not tiled or properly sealed. Water leaked everywhere. There was no ventilation (natural or artificial) in the bathroom which contributed to the problem of damp. In addition the doors to the terrace did not interlock with each other sufficiently; there was a 1cm gap which allowed outside weather conditions, mosquitoes and other bugs into the room. As a result we kept the curtains shut. The stone floor was also wet because of damp issues. During our stay the ceiling in the corridor where the rooms commence with "2" collapsed.
We were warned on arrival to leave it consistently on "cool". However it is not adequate in dealing with the damp problem in the room caused by the room not being properly secured from outside elements and bathroom conditions. A tip shared from fellow hotel guests) was to change the setting to "dry". If you go on overnight trips the staff will turn it off which totally defeats the purpose and exacerbates the problem on your return.
There are allegedly two pools, but one is only a paddling pool for small children. The pool is not big enough for the hotel. As the hotel is branded a "resort and spa", I was surprised to find boisterous games of water polo and volley ball played in the pool. Forget having some peace, quiet and relaxation there, it is far too noisy and you will get splashed, have your drink toppled or any snacks spoiled. As for the sun loungers/ sun beds, there is not enough, these are very badly maintained and some are broken or will collapse under you (and no I am not obese or even close). It is only a matter of time before someone injures themselves on one. The towels supplied are badly worn and also threadbare and in desperate need of replacement and the mats supplied don't offer much in terms of comfort or support.
You cannot swim in the sea in Kalutara for most of the year and you will be sadly disappointed if you come here to do so. The red flag was constantly present. The rep recommended going no further than waist deep but even if you are up to your ankles you are likely to be knocked over by the strong waves and undercurrent or knocked out by items carried in the surf. A guest died here at early this year so be very careful. The beach is filthy and uncared for. It is littered with weeds, bottles, glass and has other waste and debris washed ashore; do not walk in your bare feet. It is not a place you would want to spend much time on anyway as this is where the "beach boys" hang out and the minute you step out there you are prey for their peddling of trips. Do not attempt to go for a moonlight stroll as it is far too dangerous.
These are simply nothing more than a nuisance. They watch your every move from the fence which separates the hotel grounds from the beach. Some staff are in collusion with them and will highlight the new guests for them so they can pester you with promises of dream excursions and trips. They constantly shout at you from over the fence and try to catch your attention. Do not take their business card as this is "deemed ownership" of you on their part for you to book your trips through. Keep away from Jambo Lanka chief con artist and bully boy (we were forewarned before our arrival and saw him in action so were spared)! In short they are not your friends and are more interested in your wallet!!!
We booked all our excursions through Kuoni. It may be slightly more expensive, but the more people that go, the less expensive it becomes as the main outlay are the transportation costs. It is well worth it for piece of mind and insurance purposes and you actually get what you pay for. The beach boys are not adequately insured versus the likes of a big reputable company such as Kuoni/Neckermann etc. If something happens you have no comeback with beach boys. Think very carefully before putting your precious wallet, life, enjoyment, time and trip in jeopardy.
We took the all inclusive option. We thought the food was mediocre, buffet style (salads, hot dishes, bread, dessert) and some stomach upset was suffered. A lot of the hot dishes are the same but have different ingredients, i.e. chicken/ lentils/ beef / fish curry type dishes and this is repeated day after day with vegetables and rice. Most of the chicken dishes were poor cuts and served with bones - what is the purpose in serving bones to guests????? Fruit was always over-ripe. If all inclusive, only one brand of beer is allowed and the wine is appalling. Cocktails are limited and you are not allowed "diet" drinks. You have to pay extra if you wish to eat "a-la-carte" or enjoy a fish supper or even a good bottle of wine (the latter two were really pushed by staff). £50 in my estimation was a bit steep so we avoided. Avoid rushing up to dinner when the restaurant opens in the evening as there is a stampede and it is not one bit civilised. I would advise guests considering staying here on HB, FB to go for the all inclusive option as it will work out cheaper in the long run and there is no alternative within the vicinity of the hotel (with the exception of the Red Lobster which we did not frequent).
This hotel is badly managed and it is quite evident in most of the staff and their attitudes. If you have a complaint with anything in these premises it falls on deaf ears, lack of assistance with anything was frustrating. This was quite evident with the rep and you could see how little influence he even had with management with room change requests. You should take a look at the staff training manual in the tour operator area (if it is still there) where names have been attributed to guests "Screaming Sue, Freebie Fiona" etc - solution = empathise but do nothing - as you can see you don't have a hope. If all inclusive you are made wear a band. There is no incentive for the staff to be nice or give proper service because if you are all inclusive you don't tend to carry your wallet around with you, hence no tips. Many times we were left waiting in favour of other guests.
Sri Lanka experience in general;
The Kani Lanka was the first ambassador to us of the country we were not impressed. The country is promoting 2011 as their year for tourism and it has a lot to do to entice tourists to return, we for one have had our day and will never come back. It is an extremely poor country and the government is very corrupt, evidence of which is that the devastation of the tsunami is highly prevalent, nearly 6 years on and nothing has been done. Aid given to the country has been blatantly squandered. Building projects completed by charitable donations from abroad to support communities after the tsunami are now closed and left derelict. The transportation system and infrastructure is like something from the start of the 19th century. Driving methods are lethal. Most of the Sri Lankan people are warm, friendly and smiling, the children are simply beautiful. However you are merely viewed as a $ sign and not a fellow human being. These people really have nothing. The rich are getting richer and the poor are remaining poor. We too gave a considerable amount of money away. It was really shocking. Wake up Sri Lankan government, your people need you.
Places worth visiting and costs:
Tuk tuk to Kalutara = 600 rps (warning if you go into the temple you will be charged 3,000 rps)
Tuk tuk to Kalutara train station = 500 rps (each way)
Train to Galle = 175 rps (each way)
Tuk tuk hire in Galle 90 rps per km
Taxi to Galle 6,000 rps (this continues with you throughout your sightseeing efforts and may work out better in the long run)
Overnight trip to Kandy to see Temple of Tooth and dancers/ Sirigira / Pinnawela (elephant orphanage) £130
Half day trip - River Excursion, cinnamon / carpet weaving & rope making from Coconut/Turtle Hatchery £25
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Breathe in that fresh sea air and feel the warmth of the sun against your skin. Before you, lies the ocean; behind you, the Kalu Ganga river, twisting almost 100 miles back to Sri Pada, the sacred mountain believed to be the footprint of the Buddha. Where the river meets the ocean, you'll find AVANI Kalutara Resort, and discover a place where your dreams of an island paradise come true.. This hotel was formely known as Kani Lanka Resort & Spa. Skim the white waves of the Indian Ocean on board a traditional fishing boat, or watch the sunlight glitter on the water as you kayak along the riverside... it's almost like you're paddling through diamonds. Later, draw close to the warmth of the beach-side fire and share stories of another incredible day. Savour every bite of that juicy fresh seafood and enjoy a sunset that's beautiful beyond belief... ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- AVANI Kalutara Resort Sri Lanka