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Paradise Road The Villa - Bentota, Sri Lanka | Hotel Review

Uber Trendy, but Just Too Dirty Feeling


Paradise Road The Villa - Bentota, Sri Lanka The first boutique hotel in Sri Lanka, The Villa Bentota was renovated again in 2008. Renamed as the Paradise Road The Villa Bentota after its renovation by Sri Lankan design guru Shanth Fernando, this designer hotel is located just a few hours by road from Colombo.

Part of the Paradise Road group of businesses, The Villa Bentota is set on two acres and surrounded by clipped lawns shaded with coconut and frangipani. The coconut grove stretches all the way up to the beach and is divided into two sections by a railway line. Trains with burgundy colored carriages pass by during the day. The Villa Bentota offers 15 beautiful rooms and suites fitted with modern amenities.

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First Impression/Lobby: The lobby of The Villa Bentota was simple yet elegant and followed a monochrome decor. Contemporary art adorned the walls. The lobby lounge was decorated with a number of Sri Lankan artifacts from the Portuguese period and Chinese celadon pots. Dutch door frames and elegant cane furniture added to the charm.

Reception: Our check in was quick and easy. The standard cold cloths and cool drinks were offered before we were shown to our Superior Suite.

The Villa: Upon entering, our Superior Suite had an over bearing musty smell. I know this happens in humid tropical areas, but I also know that most properties figure out a solution to this problem.

Our Superior Suite followed the hotel’s signature color scheme of black and white. The suite was equipped with a personal safe, a mini bar, an LCD television and tea/coffee making facilities. The king-sized bed was draped in mosquito nets. The suite had a small veranda that opened out to the garden. The bathroom featured a rain shower, a bath tub and a couple of vanities. The rug in the suite was extremely dirty, to the point I wondered whether the linens would be safe to sleep on.

The suite had just one chair. If both of us wanted to sit and watch television at the same time, there weren’t enough chairs. Moreover, the lone chair was not positioned to face the TV. Also, the TV had about 10 channels or so which I consider a very small selection for a luxury hotel especially in this age of satellites. To add to our woes, Wi-Fi was not available in the room. We had to go down to the bar or the reception area of the hotel to access Wi-Fi.

Room Service: We had dinner on the patio of our suite. The food was beautifully presented and perfectly prepared. The portions of the fish curry and beef curry were large. More importantly, the Sri Lankan dishes were fresh and full of flavor.

Housekeeping: The turndown service was properly done, but we just could not get past the horribly dirty run. No matter how clean everything else was, the rug and the musty smell just gave the whole suite a dirty, unclean feeling.

Concierge: All requests were handled through the front desk. We gathered whatever little information they had on the activities available in the area, but did not book anything. Though part of the staff was well versed on tours and activities, others were simply clueless.

Restaurant: We had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, The Villa Café. The restaurant consisted of a pillared, semi-open air pavilion furnished with wicker chairs and black lacquered tables dressed with white linen. Paradise Road favorites such as Lemongrass and Ginger Chicken were available. The Sri Lankan breakfast was excellent, however the fresh fruit juice and fresh fruit were dismal at best. Service was good, but then there were just two other couples dining at that time.

A bar/lounge area is located just across the courtyard from the Villa Café. Furnished with black leather loungers and bronze tables, this bar serves cocktails.

Pool/Spa/Activities: The Villa Spa at The Villa Bentota offers treatments based only on prior appointment as a therapist has to come from outside the hotel. I called just before breakfast and inquired about scheduling an appointment later in the morning. However the earliest they could get someone to come was at 4PM!

The swimming pool at the hotel is slate-lined and 75 foot long. Sun beds and parasol shades were present. However, as it was raining almost non-stop we didn’t get a chance to use it. The beach was just a short walk from the hotel. Swimming was not allowed as there are currents at this time of the year. We still walked down to check out the beach. At first glance, it was gorgeous. However, after looking around a bit, we found trash everywhere. Maybe it is not the hotel’s responsibility to clean the beach area, but if this was my hotel and my guests were going to see the area, I would definitely make it a point to clear the trash. Also, even though we could not swim, it would have been really nice if there were chairs to sit in and relax. There is just something about reading a book or taking a nap on the shores of the ocean.

Check-Out: It was raining all day and the next day’s forecast predicted the same. Also, the hotel didn’t have a gym and even a therapist was not available. The fact that there really was NOTHING for us to do but sit in the room (well, one of us could sit as there was just one chair) or go to the bar to use the internet (no Wi-Fi in the room) just added to our woes and we decided to call it a day and leave early.

When we informed the front desk about this decision, the manager gave us a tough time saying he would charge us the full amount of our stay. I asked him to show me where this clause is mentioned in our reservation. Our reservation just mentioned that they would bill us even if we didn’t show up, but nowhere did it stipulate anything about leaving early. After much back and forth, we were able to leave with just paying for one night and the meals.

Overall Impression: The Villa Bentota is a unique and trendy property with gorgeous grounds. However, the non-stop rain and limited activities at the resort; lack of Wi-Fi and proper seating in our suite coupled with an overall dirty feel and musty smell in our suite has forced us to give The Paradise Road The Villa Bentota a rating of Between Bombastic and Not. The great food just was not enough to give this hotel a bombastic rating.

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