More about Hotel Mermaid & Club
indian ocean idyll
We have just returned from 10 days at the Mermaid Hotel Kalutara. The hotel itself was excellent; the room was ideal, the facilities were very good; the staff fell over themselves to be pleasant and helpful, the food was ok, you really had to enjoy spicy food which we do. There was plenty to eat, so nobody need starve.
Take advantage of the sports facilities, they are very good and the staff are keen as mustard. Chavy is particularly good, especially at the water aerobics. My wife couldn't wait to go. He is a handsome chiel (her words, not mine).
Hotel trips versus beach boys. It's hard to say. We went with Pi-Pi (that's how I'm spelling it anyhow) from the hotel to the elephant orphanage (a must) and he was a super guide and driver (that's saying something out there, the bus drivers watch Dennis Hopper in "Duel" and then model themselves on him). We went with Sunil from the village up the road to Galle. He was a charming man. We even had tea at his house. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
All in all a wonderful experience. The people were so nice and dignified,even in the face of adversity.
Would we go back? Absolutely. I just wish they could build an arterial road from north to south. It would save long journeys on hairy roads with even hairier driving.
Get out there fellow travellers. You'll not regret it.
Stayed at the Mermaid for a week. Was a brilliant stay. The room we had first of all was a sea view with a balcony (they all have balconies but some rooms overlook the pool instead) It was brilliant to wake up in the morning and gaze out or sit there in the evening hearing the waves. Insect repellent in the evenings is an absolute must just for your protection. I only got biten twice and it was when we went out of the hotel one evening for a meal and I forgot to put repellent on! rooms have a nice big bed, satellite tv, CD wall mounted system. Rooms are large with a sitting area and coffee type table. The bathrooms have a walk in shower and are all of good size. Breakfast was from 0730-0930 and consisted of cereals, curries, your normal english breakfast and also they made fresh omelettes. Lunch was from 1230-1430 and always had salads (average choice but by the end of lunch started running out) 2 or 3 different types of meats, normally pork beef and chicken, a vegetable option and fish also. A lot of the food was curry based but not actually spicy. The desert consisted of cakes, puddings and alot of fresh fruit. Pinneaples were the sweetest I have ever eaten. Dinner was from 1930-2130 and had diffrent food from Lunch normally but same sort of choice. For dinner they also had special nights like chinese or Italian. i would imagine over the period of 2/3 weeks the food may be a bit repeated as I believe that for every day of the week the food gets repeated the next week. Snack room has tea and coffee all day long, water and juice salso. Fresh fruit all day and out the main meal hours they have some sort of snack. Not a huge choice. 2 bars. The beach bar did not have as big a choice as the main bar by the pool. this is where the entertainment normally took place also. All local brands, try arrack, local drink very nice with lemonade and ice. Wine is always extra starting from about £7 per bottle and upwards. Massage center, go and see Fredy, hes pretty good, i have had better in Thailand but hes actually still pretty good..... but then again for £5 per massage for 45 mins its a brilliant deal. All the staff are incredibly friendly, at first we found it a bit weird as we thought they were just out to get a good tip but we actually became friends with a lot of them and realised you cant actually fake it that much!! They are genuinely brilliant, even taught us singalese! And considering they probably dont even earn in one month as much as we earn in a week I was happy to leave a tip for the guys we made friends with. A small 500 rupees puts a huge big smile and lots of grateful handshakes all way round and its only about £2.5!!! Did a day trip with Tilan beach boy to the south and it was brilliant!! Lots of beach guys, I think the best are tilan and probably the Ravi brothers. The more people there are the cheaper it becomes. We paid 30gbp for just 2 of us in the a/c minivan to go for a full day from 8am to 6.30pm!! including all entrances. We stopped for lunch (extra) at the refreshers hotel by the beach and paid just under £10 for 2 main courses (shark steaks served with fries and salas, 1 large lion beed and a coke) absolute bargain and food was brilliant. please note that wherever you go they will try and sell you stuff..eg spice garden sells lots of herbal stuff and rather expensive!. Jewellery can be haggled cheaper in Dubai than Sri Lanka, although sri lanka you can haggle it to a lot cheaper than UK also. In the south its apparent at how the poor the country is as this is one of the worst affected areas by the Tsunami ans we saw all the temporary houses etc. Pool towels are provised and theres plenty of comfy loungers. Wheather was brilliant!!!.....Althought its a 3* I was a bit worried but after a2 and a half hours transfer from the airport I was pleasantly surprised as its more of a 4*!!!!! Enjoy
Woderful Memories that will stay with us forever
We have just returned from a 3 week trip to Sri Lanka We booked the trip with Mercury Direct .
We did an 8 day cultural trip and then stayed for 14 days at the Mermaid Hotel .
We were met at the airport by a driver who told us that he was our guide and driver for the 8 days .
We were most pleasantly surprised as we thought we would be in with a group of people ,but we were given a personal guide and driver for the week .
He was excellent ,always on time and gave us lots of information about the flora and fauna as well as knowing everything about his county that he was so proud of .I would recommed this tour .
The tour was amazing and the hotels we stayed in far exceeded our expectations and were mostly 5 * .
THe weather was 33 in the shade and we had rain aprox 4 times duribg our stay but mostly at night .
After the tour we were taken to the Mermaid Hotel which is a lovely friendly Hotel and we made lots of friends.
During the day you can do lots of activities if you want such as Water aerobics ,water colour ,Yoga ,Water Polo ,Cricket The gym is well eqipped and the massages are well worth it and cost so little .IF I remenber rightly the head massage cist aprox £6 foer 30 minutes .
Food is good and I would recommend the Specail meal that you have to pay about £12 each for and the waiters try so hard to get you to book this ,but it was one of the best meals we had whilst we were there .
I had the prawns set meal and my husband had the Lobster so that we could try a bit of each .
If you do book it dont eat anything beforer it as you do get a large amout to consume.
We did book local trips with the beach boys and \I would recommed Indi de silver .
We went to Bentota and left at 8am and arrived back at 7 pm and did a whole days trip including a river boat ,a glass bottom boat ,we went to Galle and saw the fishermen on stillts and a visit to the turtle sanctuary and a few more things and this costs us £25 each .
We were there on Election day and you need to be advised that you are unable to consume alchohol in public places as directed by the goverment.
We were all annoyed by this as it continued for 3 days and we felt as if we were being punished as we were able to get drinks but needed to consume them in your room .
The evenings entertainment was met with an empty longe as we were all getting together in our rooms.
I felt sorry for the staff as they were just following the goverments instruction but it did put a damper on the holiday .
I would recommend that you go to the tailors across the railway line ,he has a stone elephant in his front garden.
I had a suit made for my sons wedding whicch is silk and consists of a Lined jacket ,trousers and a kaftan all fully lined for £60 .He was so proud to be making a special suit and showed all new costomers his design which I have to say is lovely and very original .I had it made in Mustard silk .My husband had a suit made ,fully lined with 2 pairs of trousers and 2 short sleeved white loose shirts and his bill was about £80 .
Staff in the mermaid are wonderfull and are always smiling and very helpful,
We were sad to go home .
The talor and his family came and waved us goodbye at 8 .45 on the morning we left.
We will send him photos of us wearing our suits after the wedding .
The downfull of the holiday for me is the taking of malaria tablets which made me ill ,but it was necessary to take them s we did got to remote places on the tour .
Warm and friendly
We have just returned from a wonderful fortnight at the Mermaid with our two boys 11 and 14. This is a lovely place to stay largely due to the open and friendly staff and the animation team who encourage guests to join in the various activities available. We had great fun playing water volley ball, and water polo with all age groups and nationalities. It was a great way of meeting people and in particular of getting the kids to mix together. My youngest son is sports mad and there was just so much for him to do including squash, cricket and table tennis. The animation team were brilliant with all the children. The hotel grounds are very relaxing with sun beds around the pool but also in the garden underneath lovely swaying palm trees, which is where we preferred to spend the day. There was never any problem getting a sun lounger as there were plenty to go around. There are various beach boys offering trips and they are fine to go with. Indi has a notable presence and is very charming and knows everyone. We went to Yala with him and had a fantastic time. It's a long way but the journey was broken up with visits to the fish market, turtle sanctuary and a ride on a glass bottom boat. We were really lucky and managed to see a total of 5 leopards. The bird sanctuary nearby is also worth an early morning visit. We got there around 6am and thoroughly enjoyed travelling round by jeep. As well as birds we saw crocs and monkeys.
The elephant orphanage is very popular and it is great seeing so many of them bathing in the river. However, all the handlers are on the make and I found the almost aggressive demand for money for having your photo taken by an elephant or for helping feed them or bathe them quite disturbing. Similarly, all the trips stop off at various factories (tea, gems), spice garden, mines etc and inevitably you end up with a guide who requires a tip and is also quite a hardline salesman. You have to be pretty strong to resist some of them. After a series of such experiences it can get a bit wearing and we learnt to tell our tour guide that we didn't want to be taken to any more such places. In general, however, the people are open and welcoming and if you say you don't want something they leave you be. Almost everyone we spoke to at the Mermaid said they were intending going back which is a great recommendation. I'm sure there are bigger and plusher hotels but the Mermaid is somewhere special that manages to provide an intimate and friendly atmosphere where it's easy to make new friends and to relax and enjoy yourself. We would definitely go there again.
Recommend this hotel and country
Had a great holiday at the Mermaid in Kalutara from 1st April 2006 to 15th. Then went to Dubai for 2 nights. All with Mercury Direct, couldn't fault them. Nine of us went for our eldest son's wedding, the happy couple were staying at the Tangerine Beach (another great hotel) as they refused to have the family on honeymoon! Worked out well though as the hotels were fairly close to each other and we saw lots of each other.
The wedding itself was fantastic, held in a gorgeous setting in the grounds of the Tangerine away from other holidaymakers. Monika the elephant was a star, as were the dancers, singers and drummers all in traditional dress. Husband and brother got in a round of golf at the Royal Colombo Golf Club (thanks to advice from Trip Advisor forum) and would thoroughly recommend it - great course, fantastic club house and faultless caddies (all very reasonably priced especially compared to UK). We were there for Sri Lankan New Year which meant no alcohol for a couple of days - we survived though.
Rooms in hotel good, clean and friendly and helpful staff. Meals were good, and plenty of choice. Nice pool, but don't expect a cool refreshing dip - more like a warm bath as is the sea. We did the 2 day trip to Kandy with Ravi from the beach - what a star! He organises everything like transport, entrance tickets, hotel etc. He even brough a birthday cake for one of our party which was thoughtful of him. A lot cheaper than booking in the hotel - just ask for Ravi at the beach - although he will probably find you anyway!
My brother and his partner joined us on the 9th April but stayed at the Kani Lanka which was about 20 minutes away on the peninsula. They were also very pleased with their accommodation, but the Tusunami damage was even more apparent there as the previous Kani Lanka hotel stands in ruins close to the new one.
Any negatives? Certainly not with the people and accommodation, but be prepared to feel guilty about our good fortune to live where we do. The poverty is apparent, and the Tsunami damage heartbreaking - where did all the money raised go? However, the local people are philosophical about their misfortune and are always smiling and helpful. We may be odd, but weren't too keen on Dubai. What a contrast! Lots of building, impressive shopping malls and Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates is unbelievable - ski slopes with real snow in the desert??? Even the female of the species can only handle so many shops. Take a visit to the Old Souk and the Gold Souk though, especially by crossing the creek in one of the many water taxis. Costs next to nothing and is an experience. All in all a great holiday, with some great memories.
Great value for Money
Stayed at the Mermaid for two weeks, after a long journey from the airport (3 hours) as the roads were very busy wacky races came to mind. Hotel rooms were very nice with t.v. (my husband was delighted to be able to watch his team Liverpool beat Chelsea in the F.A. cup also wall mounted C.D. player.
Hotel staff were fantastic well worth tipping them a few rupees Dining room lovely with views over the grounds and out to the beach. Weather as great but the sea was rather rough and the undercurrent leathal so only bathe if you are a good swimmer red flags up most of the time. Went by Tuk tuk to Kalurtura temple didnt need to pay to go in but got stung by a tout for 20 US dollars on the way out (only put dontations in the yellow boxes inside the temple) Went to Kandy with Beach boys Samon and Edward (via Siri) excellent value they were very protective and even bought a botlte of Arrack (Coconut brandy) in the hotel with coke to share an excellent two day trip taking in the temple and tea plantations. Went to Galle for the day with hotel taxi, bit dissapointed in this area but amazed at the destruction of the coast with the Tsunami. Had shirt and a skirt made by the taylor next door to the hotel great value. also bought a blue saphire and will treasure this with memories of a lovely holiday
We spent the first two weeks of April at the hotel mermaid, and had a great holiday. The hotel is a nice size, with suffcient staff to provide excellent service to everyone. The location and facilities available are really good - we took part in the sports activities most days and they were really good fun - Jimmy was not a man to take no for an answer!!
The rooms are well equipped, but be aware of the tiled bathroom floor, it's leathal when wet - my husband came a cropper on our first morning!! Also, the brochure states that the rooms have tea making facilities, but this was a mistake, so remember to take your own kettle and mugs if you want a cup of tetley in the morning!!!
We went on a 2 day safari to Yala with Silva from the beach. As we were the only couple on the trip, we could tailor make the itinery, so we cut out all the commercialised activities and ended up doing the safari twice, once in the evening and the following morning. It was good to do both as we saw the animals doing different things, but dispite 2 trips and virtually camping out by some rocks, we still didn't see a leopard. We also did a half day river trip, but it wasn't that good compared to the 2 day safari.
We flew with Qatar Airways via Doha, and had a nightmare getting home. Our flight from Doha to the UK was overbooked, so we ended up staying the night at a grotty hotel and put on a flight the next morning. When we checked in we were told we would not be seated together, so after much fuss and nonsence we got our seats together and an upgrading to business class - a perfect end to a fantastic holiday!
We had a fantastic holiday in Sri Lanka , our first visit but not our last. We travelled with Mercury Direct in April choosing a 7 day cultural tour followed by a week at the Mermaid Hotel. We paid a supplement to travel with Sri Lankan Airlines rather than Qatar. Afer hearing other peoples experiences with Qatar we are glad we did. The tour was great, staying at superb hotels [Sigirya Hotel fantastic] and seeing all the sights. Our driver was extremely helpful and polite and we weren't rushed around so still had time to relax and use hotel facilities. We would certainly recommend this tour.
Our stay at the Mermaid was excellent. A very friendly and relaxed hotel with good facilities for a 3 star. The rooms have recently been refurbished and are of a good standard and kept spotless even down to flowers on the bed at night, some guests getting more than others! The staff encouraged guests to join in the sports activities and the New Year Sports Day they organised was great fun. Winners received prizes and we had a good trophy collection to take home!
All in all this was a fantastic holiday on a great island with lovely people.
We have just returned from Sri Lanka, staying at the Mermaid from 30th April to 12th May.
We cannot speak highly enough of the facilities and warmth and friendliness of all the staff. It would be unfair to single any individual out, suffice to say that they all contributed to a wonderful holiday. The meals were great and offered a wide variety. Having said that, we also visited two local restaurants - the Fancy Fish restaurant near to the Tangerine Beach Hotel and also to a place next to the Royal Palms Beach Hotel, not marked as a restaurant but run by a lovely guy known as S.A., who with a couple of days notice prepared a wonderful mixed fish dinner, biggest prawns I've ever seen. If you see him, say hello from us.
If you intend to arrange any trips out, as we did to Kandy and the elephant orphanages at Millenium and Pinnewalla, then I would sincerely recommend Silva, one of the beach boys who made all arrangements for us and looked after us at all times without being obtrusive. Prices also were extremely good value. Silva, if you read this as I know you do, many thanks for everything. It was a pleasure to know you.
Alan & Anne
Mermaid hotel sri lanka
First of all can i say how sorry my family and i are with recent events............we have a holiday booked at the mermaid hotel in kalutara for july 2005. can any please tell me the status with this hotel, is it up and running and is the area around it in poor order.....thanks
Re: Mermaid hotel sri lanka
I don't have too much information on the hotel but I know it was damaged. I was due to travel to the Mermaid hotel this Sunday (9th Jan) and our flight was cancelled. We're now going to the dominican republic on Wednesday. I think the whole ground floor of the hotel was flooded and possibly the second. I would contact the hotel directly if you have a chance.
Hope this helps
Re: Re: Mermaid hotel sri lanka
I have just posted a reply to your 7/01/05 post .