11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Excellent hotel, really friendly staff a...
"Excellent hotel, really friendly staff and good quality rooms and views. Part of the hotel was being rebuilt after the Tsunami and was not very busy, however everything about the place was modern and well built. The pool was very nice and clean, the food was varied always with a local choice. The entertainment not great some nights but the local dancing night was really good. At this time of year the sea was very rough which prevented the us from swimming there, however during the calmer months of would be like paradise with the beach literally in the hotel grounds. I would love to go back to this hotel at some point in the future."
- Travel date: 25th May 2006
"What super value - revamped hotel, fully inclusive (At the moment one week free - travelled for the first time with Mercury Direct and 4 day tour/transfers etc went perfectly) Food was very good. Staff were friendly and service excellent. Lots of space and sun loungers in the lovely gardens."
- Travel date: 24th March 2006
Stay at this hotel
"We have just returned from 2 weeks in Sri Lanka and thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Mermaid. The Mermaid benefits from being a relatively small hotel as opposed to some of the resort monstrosities along the beach. The staff are all fantastic and extremely helpful. The hotel is very well appointed and the fixtures and fittings in the rooms are very well designed. There is satelite TV which if you like football is fab on Staurday and Sunday nights as there are at least 2 games shown live - if you don't like football don't worry as the bar is a very relaxing place to enjoy a nightcap! Great location on the beach with spotlessly clean grounds. If you want to go on any trips talk to Ravi on the beach who provides a good service. If you are thinking of visiting Sri Lanka I would recomend that you take a tour to the different parts of the island but include a stay at the Mermaid as you will not be dissapointed."
- Travel date: 7th March 2006
A Holiday We Will Never Forget!
"Just returned from a 2 week stay at the Mermaid hotel and I would definately say that this is our best holiday yet! The hotel has recently been refurbished and is finished to a high standard. There are also plenty of sunloungers available around the main pool and beneath the palm trees. The food is good but did get a bit repetative. We ate out a couple of times, at The Green Bamboo and the Shish Kebab Restaurant (10 mins walk from the hotel)... Very good food at a great price, and a pleasant change from the 'routine' of the hotel mealtime. The big seller of this hotel is the staff. They are all genuinely friendly, and we will be staying in touch with some of the guys through emails and letters. There is plenty to see in Sri Lanka and we feel 3 weeks would be more practical to see all Sri Lanka has to offer, as well as enable you some time to relax. We visited the temple in Kalutara via tuk tuk, which was a great experience, if not only because we were the only tourists about! Other trips we arranged through the Beach Boys. We travelled with Silva (Ravi and Suresh's cousin!)and went to Dambulla, Kandy, Sigiryia, Polunawarra, Galle and Pinewella, with other stops en route. We stayed 2 nights in hotels in Kandy and Dambulla which had basic facilites but were very clean. Silva was very accomodating, arranging entry fees and guides for us at all sights, and he also allowed us as much or as little time as we liked at each sight (and didn't make us endure the gem shop en route to Kandy as we didn't want to go!!). There is still signs of tsunami damage on the road to the South but don't let this deter you from visiting this wonderful country. As our taxi driver said to us on the way to the airport. "Thank you for visiting our country. We need the tourism to get back on our feet" and I can guarantee you will fall in love with this country and it's people instantly!"
- Travel date: 12th February 2006
"We have just returned from 2 weeks at the Mermaid Hotel in Kalutara and it has been the best holiday of our lives. Everything about the holiday exceeded our expectations. The hotel is in a beautiful location right on the beach. The entire staff are wonderful and nothing is too much trouble for them. The food is excellent with a huge variety at every meal and the rooms well appointed and spotlessly clean. We had a couple of great days out with Ravi (one of the beach boys) and another trip to Colombo with one of the hotel taxis - also fabulous value for money. We met some great guests and they helped to make our stay even more memorable and turned into friends that I am sure we will stay in touch with for many years to come. I would unhesitatingly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting a peaceful and relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings."
- Travel date: 11th February 2006
"For our Christmas break to the sun, we took an all inclusive package with Mercury Direct to the Mermaid Hotel, just north of Kalutara. We chose the Mermaid from the other Sri Lankan hotels on offer, after consulting the Trip Advisor reports. Having researched weather patterns, we were surprised to land at Columbo, on the 18th December, in a torrential downpour. This lasted for nearly 3 days, although we were told that this was unusual at this time of the year. We were met at the airport, by the rep from Mercury, who herded us to the minibus to take us to the hotel. It was now dark and the journey, and all later journeys in Sri Lanka, was best described as chaotic! The only rule of the road seemed to be hoot at every other vehicle, pedestrian, cyclist and cattle, all of which used the same road. If you are of a nervous disposition, don't go! The Mermaid, was situated on a sandy beach, with the railway line from Columbo to Galle forming the inland boundary. Access to the hotel was along a track, crossing the unguarded railway line, which locals used as a meeting place and even as cricket pitch, between trains... The hotel was closed to outsiders by gates, with security guards monitoring who should have access. The hotel itself was clean and tidy, with no signs of tsunami damage. The staff were friendly and helpful at all times. Our all inclusive package allowed us an extensive range of food, which was of good quality, with enough variety to satisfy most palettes. In addition to the 3 main meals, tea, coffee and snacks were available, together with locally produced drinks, most of which seemed to lack much alcoholic content. The beer was OK though. Wine was offered at extra cost with evening meals. This was in the main expensive, though the local house wine, which was apparently made from passion fruit was very pleasant and at a better cost. As others have reported, visiting the beach will involve running the gauntlet of the beach boys and traders, who will sell you everything from trips, to coconuts, to saris! We did go on one trip, arranged by a beach boy, and although good value, we were taken to places of his choice, rather than ours, presumably he was on some kind of commision arrangement with the gem mine, mask factory and restaurant owners? After that, we made our own itinery of places we want to visit, using the hotel taxi service for longer trips, or the tuk tuk drivers, who wait outside the hotel gates, for local excursions. We steered clear of the main tourist venues, instead, to less commercial spots. The best trip in our minds was a local one. This was arranged by our tuk tuk driver Kevin. He took us to a local boat owner, who gave us a 3 hour trip up the Black River. We saw a variety of wildlife from crocodiles to kingfishers. The most bizarre sight was however local men diving to the bottom of the river excavating sand, which they then put into wooden barges, from their baskets. So, plus points, the hotel staff, food and weather. Minus points, the hotel would benefit from some maintenance of its fabric. Mosquitos! Deet based insect repellent is a must, even in the rooms. Travelling anywhere takes forever. Roads are twisting and largely badly maintained. Due to the driving standards, any travel is risky if not dangerous. Beggars and street traders can be a nuisance. The beach itself was scruffy, with animals from dogs to cattle common place. Would we go again? Probably not. For better standards and safety, we would suggest Thailand."
- Travel date: 14th January 2006
"Just returned from a two-week break at the Mermaid Hotel in Kalutara, Sri Lanka. We would highly recommend this hotel to anyone wishing to visit the fantastic island of Sri Lanka. The rooms at the hotel were very clean and comfortable and all of the staff are amazingly friendly and helpful, in particular the Sports Centre guys. Shami and Predeep in particular are really good. There was UK v Sri Lanka cricket matches almost every day which were great fun! You must try the massages as well - really relaxing and amazing value for money. The gym, table tennis and squash facilities were really good but the badminton and tennis courts were not in great condition, but still playable. The pool area is excellent with enough loungers and staff that will cater to your every requirement. Food was good but ended up being a bit "samey" after two weeks. Be warned, there is very little in the local area as an alternative. You do end up spending a fair bit of time at the hotel as there is not much else in Kalutara, but luckily the hotel has enough to keep you amused. You should really go on some of the trips as well to make the most of your holiday - we would highly recommend the visit to Kandy and the elephant orphanage at Pinnuwela (it is a very long drive though). Highlight of the holiday was a trip which included a river safari, visit to a turtle hatchery and ride on a glass bottom boat. We saw minotaurs, kingfishers, monkies, fish eagles, tiger fish, mullets, and of course fantastic turtles of varying ages. We're not usually so into wildlife but there was something magical about seeing them all in their natural environments. We booked all of our trips with the tour rep but others at the hotel booked with the beach boys and had no complaints at all. All in all, we had a wonderful time and met some great folks at the hotel."
- Travel date: 11th December 2005
Overall pretty good
"2nd my wife's views, "Lucky the Great" will have you in tears it's so bad! Whilst we went there predominantly for a read books by the pool break, which it was perfect for, those who like their nightlife should beware of Sri Lanka. Not talking about nightclubs, just meals out, cafes etc, they just don't go in for that at all. Seems the entire island goes to sleep by 8.30pm though they're all up at 5am. Very early to bed, early to rise culture. (Blokes who like their footy - you can watch 3 or 4 live English Premiership games on Saturday nights though in your room!). I'd also echo commets about the airport drive - really do advise moving nearer to it for the journey home, especially if you have a mid-morning flight and need to leave Kalutara at 5 or 6am. After flying from LHR via Dubai, the journey south to Mermaid would take about 30mins in the UK but in S.L you're looking at 3hrs. But because of the poor roads and need to go through Colombo, we arrived, like many others absolutely exhausted. And the driver won't stop unless you demand a break. SCUBA divers - Sri Lanka diving in Nov on the west coast just isn't worth the hassle I'm afraid. Visibility terrible and not much to see unless you like bleached corral and dynamite fishing results. Where the Whale Shark stories come from I don't know....the school I spoke to hadn't seen any form of shark for 2+ years - an unfortunate barometer of the sea's state of health. Currents can be deadly so take a guide. Staff are lovely and those who've been to India or Arab states will find the lack of street vendors and general begging hassle (not just in Kalutara) and far cleaner / better hygiene a welcome change. Sri Lanka is definately a place worth visiting and would recommend this hotel as a pleasant place to stay."
- Travel date: 10th December 2005
Great hotel, not sure about the entertainment!
"Had a booked a 14 night stay at this hotel through Mercury Direct and got 2 weeks for the price of one, so we weren't expecting much for the money we paid. However, given the fab reviews on this website, we tried it out and weren't disappointed. Rooms are clean, comfortable and have great views. Pool is large, very clean and well maintained. Food - hmmm - maybe 2 weeks was a bit too long as we got very bored with the food, but couldn't find any options nearby that we could use as an alternative. Staff - excellent, very friendly and the only downside was when we were leaving - they were all stalking us for tips!! It became a bit invasive actually and we probably gave them less than we would have because of it. Entertainment - we were pleased we had brought a portable DVD player and some films with us! On the plus side, it was good of the hotel to put on entertainment, considering the small number of guests that it can accomodate. And it was all quite funny, but in a laughing at rather than with way! Highlight of the trip was the magician Lucky the Great and his glamorous assistant - the worst magicians in the world, but they were trying very hard!! One word of warning - it is a VERY long drive to this hotel once you get off the plane - ask the driver to let you get some water to drink and you might even need a stop for the loo as it took us about 2.5 hours to transfer. As a result we checked out of the Mermaid a night early and booked into the Airport Garden hotel - arranged through our rep. Cost us Â£40 for half board for 2 people and was worth every penny - a top class Taj group hotel that's only 10 minutes from the airport but with no plane noise."
- Travel date: 9th December 2005
genuine and friendly
"this hotel should be called ronseal. it does exactly what it says on the tin! If this hotel was bigger it could probably justify having a 4 star rating. The size of the hotel restricted the food choice although this was adequate and quite tasty. The missus loved the beef pie and some of the desserts were gorgeous. The staff are extremely friendly and courteous. They can not do enough for you. Our room was always clean and tidy after the room boys had done their stuff. The hotel management did their best to keep everybody entertained in the evening with a variety of shows. These included acrobats, magic show, karaoke and even bingo! A special mention should go to the sports centre management especially Shami who worked very hard to get people involved in the activities. The gym was kitted out to a good standard and is well maintained. Although I didnt try the massage, everybody who did try it thoroughly recommended it. Overall the hotel was excellent value for money (10 nights all inclusive) and Sri Lanka is a fascinating place to visit. (P.S. Try the beach boys for trips. We went with Indy who was very friendly and attentive.)"
- Travel date: 28th November 2005
Loved the Country
"Visited this hotel in Oct 05, was fantastic. the staff are welcoming and polite, the locals are poor and needy but very likeable. you have to visit the elephant orphanage and temple's. the weather is nice and hot. overall a nice place to visit as couples only."
- Travel date: 7th November 2005
Hotel Mermaid & Club is also called
- Mermaid Club & Hotel
- resort all inclusive mermaid
- hotel mermaid