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Heritance Ahungalla

Beach at the Heritance Ahungalla

  A beach holiday was a late addition and an extra bonus to our trip of Sri Lanka.  The tranquil area of Ahungalla with a nice luxury hotel like the Heritance fit our requirements nicely.

  Staff Service

  Service at the Heritance Ahungalla was mixed.  The front office employees were excellent giving us a warm welcome and offering good service when required.  Housekeeping and the pool staff were competent enough but the restaurants were the place where things fell apart.  Our first meal was at the pool bar and after that experience we never went back to that place or any a a la cart restaurant for the duration of our three night stay.  The waiters just were not interested in taking our order or bringing our food and drinks in any reasonable time.

  Hotel Location and Ambiance

Sri Lanka hawker at the beach of the Heritance Ahungalla

A gold sand, uncrowded beach stretches for kilometer after kilometer in front of the Heritance Ahungalla giving it an enviable location. Unfortunately in May, when stayed at this hotel, the water was rather rough and we did not venture into the ocean but rather took long walks on the beach and watched beautiful colors paint the sky at sunset time. Hawkers don't foray on the hotel grounds as security is present but they set up shop right across the imaginary line that marks the hotel's property. Ladies wave colorful pieces of cloth to attract your attention and the moment you step on to the beach close pressure is applied with constant chatting. Promises of lobster dinners, safaris with crocodiles and fishing trips are made with doubtful substance. Shrugging them off sometime works and sometimes does not.

  The hotel's architecture, another Geoffrey Bawa creation, is beautiful and functional.  A sense of openness and constant contact with the environment is omnipresent and extremely pleasant.  Small touches like an antique fishing boat and an ancient elevator add to the hotel's intriguing design features.

  Ahungalla is a good area to base yourself to explore the area's many points of interest.  River safaris are available at both Belapatiya and Benota.  A number of turtle hatcheries are in the area as well as the mask museum.


Heritance Ahungala bathroom

  We truly lucked out with our accommodation at the Heritance Ahungalla hotel.  During our first night the hotel was overbooked on its rooms and so we were upgrades to a spacious and comfortable suite.  All modern conveniences you would expect were available along with a balcony offering a fine view.  View was slightly blocked by a huge tree but that was really a very minor point.  Despite the hotel being fully booked noise was never a problem nor did we ever feel the place was overcrowded.  We did get a quick look at the regular rooms and they all looked well furnished and equipped with a decent size.

  Our bathroom was spacious, clean and with good fittings.  The bathroom even had a pool side view if you wanted to keep the shutters open.  Our pet peeve of a walk up bathtub was of course again present.  We do get the symbolism of going to a higher place to get cleansed but when you need to have the agility of a cat to get in and out of it something is probably wrong.  Any person with limited mobility would be in risk of taking a Humpty Dumpty fall.

  Food and Beverage

  Ordering a la carte at the pool side restaurant was disappointing, both for the service an mentioned above, as well as the quantity of the food.   Portions were small and prices made those the least value for money meal we had in Sri Lanka.  After the first experience we opted for taking most of our meals out of the hotel in the surrounding area.  Unfortunately drinks service was not much better in the pool area with our waiter forgetting that he took our order and when he passed by after 20 minutes he apologized about forgetting it... We did use room service once and fortunately the experience was much better then with all of our food arriving in good time by a very polite waiter.

  Breakfast was good with probably more and better options than almost any other hotel we used in Sri Lanka.  We had the best hoppers there with the talkative cook and his attendants certainly knowing their trade well.

  Facilities and Entertainment

Ancient Sri Lanka fishing boat by the Heritance Ahungalla pool

Two very inviting pools with parts of them shaded by trees kept us entertained for quite some time.  A hot tub is available by one of the pools and its use is free.  Live music was available in one of the pool bars for at least one night but repertoire was international and not too appealing to us.  Probably the best activity we did was walk on the beach and enjoy the beauty of the area's nature  Hawkers did their best to get us to part with our money on our venture to the beach but only succeeded in annoying us.  The beach was lined with trash which the hawkers said were brought down to the ocean by the river water as it made its way down from the mountains.  Dogs also did roam the beach but they kept their distance from us.

  We did use the table tennis table and right next to it were the tennis courts.  A couple of billiard tables are available at the first floor bar although that place was not terribly inviting.  The gym was OK but we never got to see the on the premises spa.

  Our opinion

  If you have a vehicle available this is a good place to stay.