Matara Hotels

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  • Maxus profile photo Maxus
  • Reviews: 184

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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The Emerald Bay Inn, Polhena: The longer I stayed the less I wanted to leave

The Emerald Bay isn’t right on the beach but it’s literally a minute away, its spotlessly clean, the food is excellent and the staff friendly. I can't argue that this is the best place to stay in Polhena because I haven't stayed anywhere else but we booked for two nights, ended-up staying four and would have stayed even longer if I didn’t have things to do further north so I obviously had no complaints and I can recommend this place.

I can’t remember the exact price but it was very reasonable and I had no questions about the bill. AC and non-AC rooms are available. You can have snacks and soft drinks anytime, there is no alcohol licence but if you want beer with your dinner let the staff know and they can arrange for you to buy your own (without you having to move).

One of the best things about the Emerald bay is Nadeepa, a thoroughly decent guy who will look after you well. He won’t get in your way but if you need anything Nadeepa will see to it.

There’s no set menu or set meal times, you simply discuss what you and when you want it with Nadeepa and he will cook it for you (even the sausages I bought at Cargills!) he is an excellent cook and he speaks perfect English too.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Trains, Backpacking, Road Trip
  • Written February 2, 2008
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The Emerald Bay Inn, Polhena

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  • Maxus profile photo Maxus
  • Reviews: 184

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Apartment in Polhena: Long Term Let

Mr Wickramaratne has turned the upper floor of the house in the picture into a self-contained apartment and it is available to rent for periods of a few weeks to as long as you want.

I didn't stay here but Lal showed me round and I would consider staying if I wanted a base in the area. It's literally a minute walk from the beach but is quiet and private. If you are interested give him a ring or call in and see him, details below.

It's your own place.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Study Abroad, Work Abroad
  • Written February 2, 2008
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  • Maxus profile photo Maxus
  • Reviews: 184

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Let's go upmarket

The Lalitha is an upmarket hotel on the Galle Road which has been open a little over a year, it is increasingly popular with visitors from the Netherlands, who can be a discerning lot and know what good looks like.

As you can see from my photo, it doesn’t look much from outside but inside it’s a veritable oasis, their website uses the same poetic license as any hotel but in terms of decor, facilities, restaurant and service etc it is at least as good as anywhere in Matara except that it’s nowhere near the beach.

I liked the staff who did their very best to maintain a professional detachment but kept letting their warm and friendly nature shine through.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip, Food and Dining, Business Travel
  • Written February 2, 2008
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The photo doesn't do the place justice


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  • planxty profile photo planxty
  • Reviews: 1876

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Nawathana Hotel: A very lucky find.

I had initially visited Matara on a daytrip from nearby Galle and had popped into the Nawathana Hotel for a beer as it appeared to be a tidy place with a sea view and I ended up chatting to the manager, a most delightful man by the name of Nihal, who was to become something of a friend. As usual, I was not working to any sort of pre-planned schedule and had not even decided whether or not I was going to spend any time in Matara but I had been quite taken by the Fort area and was beginning to consider it as an option for a few days. In the end, I wound up staying for almost two weeks which must tell you something.

Nihal had presented me with his business card and told me to contact him if I wished to stay at some future date and that is exactly what I did. Having checked several of the major booking sites online I know that I got a decent discount on the quoted online rate by direct contact and I recommend travellers to use this approach. I have included all the relevant details on this tip.

I had a bit of a look round on my initial visit and, as I mentioned earlier, the place looked very fresh and tidy which is due to the fact that the place had only been open about four months. I am writing this tip in March 2014 and there are still limited reviews online about place so I hope this assists. I noted that there was a swimming pool, some well-tended garden areas and access to the beach. OK, the beach around Matara Fort is not the most alluring beach in the world, or even Sri Lanka, but it is pleasant to have a little wander along.

When I arrived in Matara by bus I walked to the hotel in about ten minutes, it is very close. I checked in and was shown to my room which you can see in the images. It was spotless and even had a canopied bed which I thought was a bit classy. Well, classy for me anyway! It turned out to be as comfortable as it was aesthetically pleasing. The room was air-conditioned and had a TV equipped with satellite and the bathroom was of the wetroom variety with hot water, although I never needed to use it in the climate.

I ate in the hotel on several occasions and the food is exceptionally good. I suppose it should be as the head chef was formerly employed by the Qatari royal family. I shall deal with the food in a separate restaurant tip.

I have mentioned in many other tips here on Virtual Tourist that any establishment is only as good as the staff employed there and Hotel Nawathana really has got it spot on. I got to know all the staff and they really were a delight. As a brief anecdote I shall tell you about Nihal's lunch packet. It is very common in Sri lanka for a working man to either bring his lunch wrapped up or have it delivered from home. I had had the privelege of meeting Nihal's wife and two children and it came to the point that the good lady was making a larger than usual meal so that I could share it at lunchtime. Delicious it was, too. I am not suggesting that that particular pleasure would be afforded to all guests but it goes some way to explaining why I did love the place so much.

Matara is quite a bustling town but the area inside the Fort is relatively free of traffic and so there is no issue with road noise, it is beautifully peaceful. It is well-positioned for exploring Matara and the staff are more than happy to arrange excursions like whale-watching at nearby Mirissa, turtle watching, trips to the lighthouse etc. and I really do recommend this hotel.

As a final comment I should say that in all the years I have been writing tips on Virtual Tourist I believe that this is the first time I have "tagged" one in the romantic and honeymoon category. As a confirmed bachelor I am certainly no expert in the field. As a layman on the subject I would suggest that this would make a delightful, friendly and quiet little bolthole to start a married life together.

It is not exactly a unique quality but it is one of the few accommodation options within the wonderful historic Fort area.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
  • Written March 31, 2014
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Nawathana Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka.

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  • iroshank profile photo iroshank
  • Reviews: 3

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Ravana Ridge Polhena: A Great Sea Front Hideout

I loved my period of stay with my spouse at Ravana ridge with salty chilling sea breeze and the picturesque view of the Indian ocean. Excellent Staff and Service with Delicious dishes made by Mrs. Pushparani, an experienced Italian and Sri lankan Culinary expert.Rooms are pretty well maintained, well finished. What i love the most is the Fine Italiana coffee sitting on the bench after the meal. Not much of a garden they are still working on that. Good place, Nice People

Magnificent View of The Indian Ocean with the Cold Salty Sea Breeze. Perfect for some Espresso with Free Wireless Internet and Also Candlelight Italian Dining. Very Personalized Experience. Great for Relaxation..

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Food and Dining, Beaches, Diving and Snorkeling
  • Written April 24, 2011
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