- Reviews: 1406
Hotel Appolo: Good value, basic beachside hotel
We stayed at the 2* Hotel Appolo for 5 nights during our visit to Hikkaduwa in March 2014.
We booked our stay through www.agoda.com and paid approximately £24 per night for a standard double room with breakfast included. We paid in full at the time of booking, several weeks before our stay.
Hotel Appolo (the spelling is correct; it is "Appolo" rather than the more common "Apollo") is located in the beach resort town of Hikkaduwa on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka.
We arrived at the hotel by taxi from Colombo international airport. The journey from the airport took around 2 hours and 15 minutes in the early hours of the morning (we left the airport at 5:15am and arrived at the hotel at 7:30am). The taxi fare was 8,500 Rs (approx. £40).
The hotel is located on Galle Road, the main street running through Hikkaduwa, practically next door to the large "Citrus Hikkaduwa" hotel. The front of the hotel faces the busy road, while the back of the hotel gives direct access onto the beach.
The beach directly in front of the hotel isn't brilliant; it consists of only a thin strip of sand and was lashed by strong waves every afternoon during our stay. However, much better beaches are only a short walk from the hotel. Standing on the beach looking out to sea, a 5-10 minute walk to the right brings you to the beach outside the "Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa" hotel. We found this to be the best place to see giant sea turtles. Each morning there would be two or three large turtles in the shallow waters, just a couple of metres from the shore. A further 5-10 minute walk in the same direction brings you to Hikkaduwa Coral Reef and some very good snorkelling directly from the beach. To the left of the hotel, just a few minutes walk brings you to the vast, sandy Narigama beach; a popular surfing spot backed by dozens of beach bars, restaurants and guesthouses.
There are lots of restaurants and cafes along Galle Road right outside the hotel. There are also numerous grocery stores, souvenir shops and a large well stocked supermarket and liquor store (Sandagiri Super Market) within a 2 minute walk of the hotel. Hikkaduwa seems to specialise in Ayurveda treatment centres; you will find a dozen or more of these along Galle Road, so a relaxing massage is only ever a short walk from the hotel.
In terms of transport, you will find tuk tuk drivers parked up outside the front of the hotel. You will never need to worry about finding a tuk tuk driver....they will find you! Galle Road sometimes seems to be a constant stream of tuk tuks, all vying for your custom.
As well as tuk tuks, there are many buses running along Galle Road. The frequent buses stop every few hundred metres and travel to Ambalangoda in one direction and Galle in the other. The main bus station and railway station in Hikkaduwa are a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel.
We arrived at the hotel at around 7:30am. At this early hour, there was no room ready for us. We were invited to make our way through to the beachside restaurant area where we were given tea and coffee and provided with the password for the complimentary wi-fi. We declined the offer of eggs, bread and jam and just enjoyed our drinks while looking out to sea and catching up with emails. It was a nice relaxing start to our stay and, a little after 8:00am, we were told that a room was now available for us.
We were shown to room #27 on the 2nd floor and told that we could use this room until another room became available later. This room was a little dark, the furnishings were quite dated and the bathroom was very basic. It had a large window on one side of the room, but this looked out onto the communal terrace and, with other guests walking by the room, we kept the curtains closed. There was also a smaller window above the bed which offered a partial sea view. The room had a small fridge, a washbasin, a small dining table, a wardrobe and an air-conditioning unit.
We would probably have made do with this room, but the owner gave us the impression that we would be moved to a better room (maybe one with a better sea view?) later in the day, so we left our cases packed and set out to explore.
By mid-afternoon we were suffering from the effects of a long flight and a lack of sleep so we returned to the room for a siesta. After a couple of hours sleep, we were feeling refreshed and were considering unpacking and sticking with this room. I was enjoying sitting on the terrace using the free wi-fi and soaking up some sunshine, when I heard Emma scream...
She had seen a cockroach scuttling around on the floor under the bed. I tried to chase it out of the room but only succeeded in making it seek cover under the wardrobe. As I tried to entice it out again, Emma spotted it near the fridge on the other side of the room. I wasn't sure that this was the same one, but turned my attention to chasing this one instead. It ran under the bed and climbed up the wooden frame where it was able to hide in the wooden slats. We lifted the mattress up and immediately saw two cockroaches on the frame (and I'm pretty sure there was still another one under the wardrobe!). There was no way that Emma was going to sleep in that room again.
I would like to make it clear that I won't downgrade my review of the hotel based on this incident. Things like this are to be expected in tropical countries, despite the best efforts of the hotel's staff (they sprayed the room after we had vacated it). It wouldn't deter me (or Emma) from staying at the hotel again and I would hope that it wouldn't put others off staying there either.
Emma fetched the manager to inform him of the situation and he immediately arranged for us to be transferred to another room. This time we ended up in room #12 on the ground floor, close to the hotel's front entrance.
Our new room felt a whole lot brighter, more spacious and airy, and generally more modern than the previous one. The bathroom was also much larger. The only window in the room looked out onto a corridor, so we again kept the curtains closed, but the lighting was much better in this room so it wasn't an issue.
The bed was a little hard, but we soon got used to it and slept soundly throughout our stay. We also got used to the traffic noise and the sound of people walking past the room; neither caused us any problems.
Both the air-conditioning and the mini fridge were extremely effective; the former keeping the room a nice cool temperature during the day (we were able to turn it off overnight) and the latter keeping our bottled water ice cold.
The electrical sockets were of the 3 round pin type. At first we struggled to use our 2 round pin European plugs in them, but then the manager came and showed us how. By sticking a pen into the unrequired third hole, this then allowed us to plug our 2 pin plugs into the other two holes. We had brought a two plug adapter with us which allowed us to charge up two sets of batteries overnight. Otherwise, we would have struggled with the lack of sockets, especially since the one in the bathroom didn't work.
There was no TV in the room, but there was complimentary wi-fi access. Although the signal was rather weak, the connection was surprisingly quick and the connection was largely reliable. I was able to access the wi-fi inside the room, unlike in our first room (#27) where I could only get access when outside on the terrace.
A mosquito net was provided but we chose not to use it. We used mosquito plug ins and spray and only saw a couple of mosquitoes in the room throughout our stay.
As well as the air-conditioning system there was also a ceiling fan, which we only used occasionally.
The wardrobe was an adequate size for our needs and there was an additional clothes hanger next to it.
The bathroom was relatively spacious. It contained a washbasin, a toilet and, at the far end of the room, a shower attached to the wall. There was no separate shower cubicle (or even a shower curtain), just a shower on the wall and a drain in the corner. It was fine for us. The water sometimes took a while to warm up, but would always run hot eventually (after 5 or 10 minutes on some occasions). We often took lukewarm showers anyway due to the hot weather.
We were provided with towels on the first day, but they were never changed during our 5 night stay. I'm sure they would have been had we asked for them to be. No toiletries were provided and we replenished the toilet roll ourselves from the local supermarket.
Our room was never cleaned during our stay. Perhaps this is because we chose not to hand our key in when going out for the day. The room was clean enough for our needs and the bin (located outside the room) was emptied each day.
Breakfast was served between 8am and 11am each day in the beachside restaurant area. It was a really nice location with a laid back atmosphere and great sea views. Easy listening music by Coldplay and Dido was played in the background each morning.
Breakfast began each day with a cold glass of mango juice, a pot of coffee for me and a pot of tea for Emma.
We would then receive a basket of sliced bread/toast and a dish of orange jam (this was changed to lemon jam on one of the five mornings).
We then had a choice of eggs (omelette, fried, scrambled...). I opted for omelette each day and received a two egg omelette with onions, tomatoes and pepper. The omelette on the first day was a little runny, but it was fine on all the other days.
On day three, after Emma had declined the various egg options each day, she was offered sausages as an alternative. From then on she enjoyed a plate of German style sausages each morning.
Breakfast was rounded off each morning with a refreshing bowl of fruit salad; pineapple, papaya, mango and banana.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Hotel Appolo. We knew that it would be fairly basic accommodation when we booked it...and it was. It was fine for our rather limited needs. Our room (the second one at least) was cool and comfortable, with adequate space, a very useful fridge and free wi-fi access. The location was excellent – just a short walk from great beaches and dozens of restaurants. Breakfast was much better than we were expecting and was served overlooking the beach and sea. For the price we paid (£12 per person, per night) we really couldn't have asked for any more. We'd happily stay there again if we ever returned to Hikkaduwa and would recommend it to any budget travellers looking for a good value beachside hotel.
- Reviews: 451
Cinnamon Garden Hotel: Budget hotel in Hikkaduwa
We stayed at the Cinnamon Garden Hotel on our last tour stop in Sri Lanka and had a comfortable rest here. The single story hotel rooms are located around a central garden which backs on to the beach. You can either sunbathe here on the sun loungers provided or venture on to the sand a few metres away.
Rooms are basic, but clean and tidy and come with mosquito nets and a fridge, although no TV.
Breakfast was included in our room rate and was quite tasty and made to order. Staff were friendly and easy-going.
The hotel has a small restaurant and also a bar and is quite conveniently located a short tuk-tuk ride or walk from the shops, bars and restaurants.
- Reviews: 1
Main Reef Hotel and Restaurant: Beachfront hotel - really clean and great value
Main Reef is a really friendly and spotlessly clean family run hotel.
The rooms are lovely and immaculately clean, as is the rest of the hotel. Good sized rooms with great bathrooms with hot water, comfortable beds, nicely furnished with beach paintings, lockable wardrobe and good furniture.
Some rooms have direct sea views and balcony, but even the rooms at the side are light and airy.
No air con, but that helps keep prices low, and as there is always a bit of a breeze off the sea so there's really no need for anything more than a fan. There are also good locks and bars onthe windows so there's no problem with having to close all your windows everytime you go out.
The rooms are also set back from the main road through Hikkaduwa so road noise is really not an issue, even in my room which is nearest to the road.
I work on the internet so spend a lot of time in my room. I'm staying here for 7 weeks and it's one of the nicest places I've had to sit and work. The rooms are that nice.
The Main Reef restaurant is closed at the moment, but will be open again in December. I ate here when I last came to Hikkaduwa and the food was also excellent. That's why I first came to stay here, after eating the food!
You're right on the beach, right in front of the best surfing point. There are good restaurants both sides aong the beach and more on the road. Shops, internet cafes etc all within 2 or 3 minutes walk. Also if you are planning to stay more than a few nights there is always potential to get internet connected to your room.
I'd highly recommend Main Reef to anyone coming to Hikkaduwa, from backpackers to families. Prices are cheap for the quality of room, especially compared to the other hotels nearby. Ruwan and his staff are incredibly friendly and helpful and great hosts.
I'm not connested to the hotel, I'm just staying here, but I do think such good service should be rewarded, so want to spend some time giving them a plug!
Excellent rooms (the front two have sea views and luxory bathrooms the size of many other hotel's rooms)
Spotlessly clean - even the corridors are swept pretty much every hour during the day!
Very goood value
- Reviews: 2
Asian Jewel Boutique Hotel: Best small hotel Hikkaduwa
Great Location, Fantastic views, personal service, attension to detail, peace and quiet, yet only 10 minutes from the beach
great pool, lush surroundings, excelent food
- Reviews: 2
Asian Jewel Boutique Hotel: best small hotel Hikkaduwa
Great small hotel, luxury, attention to detail.
Great pool, birds & nature, fantastic views, fantastic food
- Reviews: 1390
Neela's: Budget accommodation on the beach
Neela's is a popualar backpackers haunt and for good reason.
It is clean, modern and well priced. Neela's has been rebuilt since the Tsunami and now there are comfortable, spacious rooms and a big beach front restaurant.
This building is located on the beach and the main road.
Our room was so comfortable and clean, since rebuilding they have put a lot of effort into the complex, which spans a piece of land from the beach to the main road.
The main road is so very busy and there is a little noise, but nothing to worry about!
I remember the downstairs rooms were a little cheaper and the upstairs rooms considerably nicer.
- Reviews: 437
Poseidon Diving Station: Surfers paradise
Poseidon Diving Station has a 12 room hotel. The rooms are divided into new upstairs and original downstairs rooms. Rooms are pretty clean, good bathroom with shower, ceiling fans and mosquito nets. Rooms are rented on a bed and breakfast basis.
There are a whole lot of things to do once you land here. If you love water sports this is the place to be in Sri Lanka
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