The Blue Water
22 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A peaceful place
"We have just returned from a 2 week stay at the Blue Water. We booked through First Choice and had a fantastic holiday.
We flew Star Class Premiere and it was worth every penny... priority boarding and baggage, champagne & fruit on boarding and wonderful service all the way, with plenty of free drinks, both alcoholic & non alcoholic.
It was a 2 1/2 hour transfer, but our rep Ananda ( or Andy as he allowed us to call him) gave us a wealth of information. He was great during all of our stay.
On arrival at the hotel we were greeted with cooling drinks and towels and frangipani garlands.
The hotel is great and all staff helpful & friendly. At the reps meeting Andy advised us on how & what to tip the hotel staff. Give the pool boy a tip on your first day and he will reserve your sunbeds for your whole stay, ( not that there is a shortage of sunbeds), we liked to sit under the mango trees between the beach and the pool bar as my husband was in constant shade & I just moved my sunbed & followed the sun.
Food is good with all tastes catered for and if there is nothing you liked , then they will cook you something.
We booked a 3 day tour of Sri Lanka through Andy and had a great time, if you book trips with Andy, then ask for C J to be your guide. C J is a wealth of information and will teach you so much. We asked for him for a 2nd trip & this made his day as it shows that he is a good guide.
We also went on a trip with the ' beach boys'. Contrary to what you are told, they do belong to a tour company 'Ben Tours/ Marley Tours'. They DO have a/c vehicles and insurance. They are just trying to make a decent living for themselves.Ask for La La and tell him 'Pauls Mum 'recomended him. Our son is travelling around the world & we arranged to meet at the Blue Water for a week. When he left the hotel, he had arranged to go on a 5 day rip around the island with La La. On our last night, Paul phoned us from La La's mobile to wish us a safe trip back.
Sri Lankan drivers are a rule to themselves !!!! plenty of horn blowing and nadness driving, but great fun. Take a ride in a Tuk Tuk from the hotel, & if you want any tailoring done, then ask the driver to take you to Michael, his business has been badly hit due to the lack of toyurists since the Tsunami.
we went to the turtle hatcheries and the elephant orphanage, als down to galle & the stilt fisherman. If you are going to do the elephant orphanage & Kandy, then don't do it in one day, it is too far. We did the trip over 3 days/2 nights and stayed in lovely hotels, it is a great way to see Sri Lanka.
In a nutshell, hotel clean & tidy, pool huge (with beach towels) staff pleasant & helpful, locals great, on the down side our last 3 days were affected by heavy storms & overcast. this is now the monsoon season, but it was unusual for it too start so soon. some spectacular thunderstorms tho.
WOULD WE GO BACK ? A VERY DEFINITE YES with First Choice & to the Blue Water.
And hopefully for our wedding anniversary next year.
We had originally been booked into the Kani Lanka, but this closed a few weeks before we left the Uk. so we were moved to Blue Water. After going to see the Kani Lanka which has since re-opened, all we can see is we got a much better spacious hotelI"
- Travel date: Sun 15th of April 2007
Our stay at the 'bluewater'
"The airport is north of Columbo and one has to travel through the city centre to get to the hotel. The journey although longish (approx 2 hrs) is interesting and you get to see Columbo city as well as the suburbs, tsunami damaged water fronts, local towns and villages.
The hotel is situated near a local railway line but this is in no way an issue, in fact another point of interest. Cows are grazing along the line and people crossing through the day.
The hotel is situated on the sea front and the Bawa celebrated architecture spacious, geometric and well appointed. The rooms are large with good balconies and all have sea views, there are only 100 rooms a lovely size hotel, extremely spacious.
Most days there was a lovely seabreeze so although the temperatures were around 30degrees it was very comfortable..lots of shade from palm trees.
We visited the Turtle Hatchery, a must see, very interesting and informative guide. The local towns were also of interest and the odd Buddhist temple. We took a tuk tuk back to Columbo and enjoyed a day sight seeing. Jenai the local tuk tuk driver who can be organised through the hotel (ask at the front entrance for Jenai, he is known by the hotel staff) spoke reasonable english and was a cheap alternative to the Tour Operator(2000RPs for the day). We were discouraged by the tour Operator to use the local transport etc but encouraged by other tourists to use it, as a safe much cheaper alternative, which also supported the local community. The locals also gave a bespoke service so you could spend as much time where You wanted not where the guide wanted. The men on the beach also were a good source of guide and transport.
The hotel is part of the Community and we saw local weddings and conferences during our stay, all very interesting.
The hotel food was very good we were on a premiere all Inclusive package and enjoyed food and drink all day long! the down side to this was that they wanted you to wear a wrist band to denote this which we were not happy about and attached the bands to the key fob in the end.
A safe alternative to hotel food is the Hungry Bunny a short tuk tuk ride away(200RPs) sponsored by a UK charity, very good local and international food...english speaking..great value. Dont expect a restaurant more a big open fronted hut, but a great opportunity to experience local life and community.
The Spa complex is an amazing building which I used extensively! Great value treatments approx Â£20 each, dont expect too much of a soft sell, before and after care being a bit lapse but the actual treatments were very good.
All in all we had a very relaxing time and would definitly return to this beautiful country. The hotel was authentic Sri Lankan and therefore not of internaional 5 star status in fixture and fitiings, service, cuisine but taking everything into account we would return and plan to next year."
- Travel date: Thu 5th of April 2007
Beautiful Hotel, Perfect R&R Location...
"I have recently come back from a 10 night stay at the Blue Water Hotel, Sri Lanka. I went here with my boyfriend and we had a fantastic time!
Only downside is the journey from airport especially after a very tiring 11hr flight, its hot and bumpy but you do get a good insight to Sri Lanka and the locals.
First impressions of the hotel were great, we were greeted in reception with chilled fresh juice (which was definitely appreciated) and flower chains, we were made to feel very special. When we got to our room, which we were shown personally by a member of staff we asked if we could move because we didn't want to overlook the pool, this wasn't a problem and was changed instantly.
The rooms are spacious, modern with a sofa seating area to watch tv and all have balconies which over look the pool/sea or sea. Room service is a bit slack but they do clean well and make up your beds daily.
The food is lovely and lots to choose from so you'll never go hungry altho we didn't think there was much choice of local cuisine. They catered for the unadventurous with pasta and European dishes with only a small selection of Sri Lankan dishes which we did tell the chefs about because they are all very friendly and we got to know quite a lot of them. Breakfast is delicious! And the pool food is yummy too. Try out the milkshakes!
The pool is huge and clean, never over busy apart from weekends when the locals stay but it gives the hotel a bit of a buzz.
The beach is clean but the sea was too rough when we went to go in it, watch out for the little crabs running around.
There is nothing to do in the evenings, there is little entertainment, the odd band which aren't that great and the club which opens only on a Sat night which we didn't get to go to.
The sauna/steam room at the Spa is very romantic, you can hire it for an hour, its open air, private and you have the whole place to yourself! Truly beautiful! I wouldn't recommend the manicures/pedicures tho, they don't seem to know how to do them.
Would recommend to see the elephants but bear in mind its a very long day out, and the driving is very bumpy and lots of traffic everywhere you turn. And if you go to the Temple of Tooth make sure you cover up legs and arms and prepare to walk bare foot.
Also make sure you have smaller notes for tipping, everyone there likes a tip, its how they make most of their money.
Think I have covered everything from our stay, all will say is the Blue Water is the prefect relaxing break, if you want to chill out and do nothing this is the perfect place for you!"
- Travel date: Tue 14th of November 2006
Good, bad and the ugly
"The Good. The hotel itself is exceptional. Designed with a sharp eye for symmetry it has a cultured openness that leaves you feeling very tranquil. The pool and surrounding grounds reflect equally the effort that's gone into the structure and it delivers to full effect. It really is the most divine hotel I have stayed in throughout my extensive travels. In addition the food was exactly what you'd expect and the service was equally satisfying.
The Bad. The hotel's isolation will leave you fidgeting poolside. The reason the hotel is on such large grounds is due to it being set in amongst relative squalor. I can only assume the mass of land was fairly affordable. Aside from jumping in a taxi and defying death on the roads (don't get me wrong i loved the thrill of the taxi journeys) to go somewhere of interest, you are confined to the hotel pool or the beach. We did wander out of the hotel gates but a short walk in the area had us scurry back as roaming cows and stagnant ditches was the sum total.
The Ugly. The almost perfectness (is that a word?) of our stay was marred by an ignorant error and poor effort in rectifying their mistake. We were there for 5 days, booked for us by friends as part of an extended trip. Upon check in, we were informed that our booking did not include food. We even had him re-confirm this. Imagine then to our surprise 50+ meals later (breakfast, lunch dinner over 5 days x 4 of us) on the day we check out that our friend who booked for us informs us it was for full board!! Peaceful karma shattered by arguments over the issue and after much haggling we got 20% off. Whoop-de-doo. Can't say as I was too enamoured by the place after that.
All done and said, I'd not go back for the very memory has left me with a prickliness about the place I'd find hard to displace, but for one and all travelling there, make sure they get it right for you."
- Travel date: Wed 19th of April 2006
A lovely stay but tips all the way
"We recently spent a week at this hotel in March. We were welcomed with a cold drink and frangipani garlands. We found the Blue Water to be quiet and heard that it had recently moved from 4* to 5* and had become more expensive which had resulted in fewer guests.
We stayed on a half board basis and found the food to be very good with a wide range of all types of food for breakfast (tropical fruit, cereals, cooked items, breads and pastries and Sri Lankan curriesâ¦). The evening meals were buffet style with a different theme each evening including Italian, Mexican, Indian, Sri Lankan and others. There was always a wide range of desserts and tropical fruits. Wine was very expensive â around Â£17 for the cheapest bottle, it worked out slightly cheaper to buy it by the glass.
The gardens of the hotel were very pleasant and there was even an elephant there one day offering rides. The sea was lovely and warm although a little too rough for swimming. For lunch, we usually shared a sandwich (they were huge) from the pool bar, which I think worked out at about Â£3.
Bottles of water were around Â£1 for a litre from the hotel which would work out very expensive given the high temperatures. If you take a walk up to the main road, there is a shop on the corner that sells 1.5 litres for around 25p a bottle. However, do not fall for the same trick as we did on our first day. A man who said he was a chef at the hotel, followed my husband out on his trip to search for cheaper water and insisted on acting as a âguideâ. He was after a tip of course and 50p was not enough (âthat will only buy me one beerâ¦â). He did not get any more though and we didnât fall for this again.
There are local shops and pharmacies nearby on the main road selling local food, fruit and drinks, there are also a couple of gift shops outside the hotel over the train track.
We went on a two-day trip to Kandy and the elephant orphanage. The elephant orphanage is highly recommended as you can get to stroke and feed them. We also rode one at the millennium elephant foundation which is just outside the orphanage. We enjoyed the Temple of the Tooth, the botanical gardens (loads of orchids) and the tea factory in Kandy, but were not too keen on the gem âmuseumâ (ie. shop) or the spice garden because we were given the hard sell. Be warned that the roads are terrible in Sri Lanka. It took three hours to get to the elephant orphanage, and four hours to get back from Kandy. The tour operators usually sell this as a one day tour which would be an extremely long day. As we do not like early starts on holiday, we asked for it to be split into two days and stayed over at the Hunas Falls hotel in the hills which was a beautiful hotel.
The Blue Water was extremely well kept, there was always somebody around cleaning something or other. Staff were always helpful but they always seemed to be after a tip, a lot of staff seemed to have their birthdays whilst we were thereâ¦. I realise that Sri Lanka is a poor country and is still recovering from the tsunami, but the tip culture did get annoying, particularly as this was not a cheap holiday and had involved a lot of saving. The porter who grabbed our trolley at the airport told us âEnglish money good - paperâ for his tip. Iâd like to get Â£5 for pushing a trolley 100 yards too! We gave him a dollar in the end but he was not happy. We do not mind giving tips but it needs to be more regulated like in the Maldives where certain amounts are recommended per week for your waiter and room boy.
We had a lovely holiday at the Blue Water and are glad we went. However, the tipping culture and the fact that there are lots of other countries to see would probably mean that we wonât go back to Sri Lanka."
- Travel date: Mon 10th of April 2006
Paradise at the Blue Water
"We visited the Blue Water in February 2006 and had a fantastic time. The hotel is very relaxing,in a beautiful setting with stunning sunsets,a massive pool and good food. Our room, although basic, was cleaned to a high standard on a daily basis and the view from our balcony was lovely. The staff were very friendly,couldn't do enough for us and their tips were well deserved! Although there is nothing to do in the immediate area surrounding the hotel, the Blue Water is in a good location to visit the main tourist attractions on the island. Kandy and the elephant orphanage are an absolute must and don't forget the bananas for Monica the elephant when she visits the hotel. We would definitely like to return one day - paradise!"
- Travel date: Sat 1st of April 2006
"We have just returned from our honeymoon in Sri Lanka and spent two weeks staying at the Blue Water hotel. The hotel is very imposing from the outside, but as soon as they open the big doors at the front you will see for yourself that the hotel is beautiful. All the rooms face the sea and the sun sets were amazing. The rooms were large and clean. The grounds are simple but well maintained and the pool is lovely. Just watch out for ants - there were loads of them!
The spa is beautiful and definately worth a visit. Loads cheaper than at home.
The staff at the hotel are really friendly, although at times a little enthusiastic. It was very quiet when we were there and they would sometimes crowd us at dinner taking your plate while you were still chewing!
The food is excellent, with a large choice each day. We were worried about eating in the same place for 2 weeks, but it was ok. There really is nowhere else to go as the hotel is out on a limb.
The drinks are expensive in the hotel - expect to pay the same as you would at home. Soft drinks are cheaper at the shop at the end of the road although they make the prices up as they go along and expect to pay more than the locals!
We went on trips to Galle and Kandy with all the places in between. Its cheaper to book through hotel than reps and we got great service although the tours did not actually give you much time in the center of each of the cities. Make sure you make it clear what you want before you start. It will take ages to get anywhere due to roads and traffic, but the hotel is well situated to visit areas in north and south. The elephant orphanage at Pinnawella is definately worth a visit - take some change, the keepers will want tips if you want to be photographed.
The hand is out for tips pretty much wherever you go and it can be a little bit annoying. They seem to think you are made of money despite scaping every penny you have to be there in the first place!
All in all, the hotel was beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. It is very quiet, so dont expect wild nights, but it was just what we wanted and a perfect setting for a honeymoon."
- Travel date: Tue 7th of February 2006
"This was my tenth or eleventh hotel/resort in Sri Lanka this year and we were quite excited to stay in a Geoffrey Bawa designed hotel. I have to say the experience was good, but not great. A few things really made the stay rate B rather than A to A+. We had one of the staff members tell my wife about his hardships and then asked her to support him at $10 000 US a year to go through university. It was awkward and uncomfortable and for the rest of the stay we felt we didn't want to stay out in the sunning area. We explained that if he wanted a friend that that was fine, but that supporting a $40 000.00 USD education wasn't going to be possible. Also, we had arranged for full board for our stay and had asked whether we were entitled to lunch our last day. We were told that it was fine as we had arrived in time for dinner the first day and that one meal was "owed" to us. I was humiliated when at lunch we were seated next to a group from our High Commission. The waiter came up to the table and very loudly proclaimed that we were NOT entitled to lunch and that it needed to be dealt with immediately. I was humiliated. It was sorted out at the front desk but I was too embarrassed to return to the dining room. I sent a letter to the hotel and never had a response. Nice grounds, nice rooms, just not exactly the best time..."
- Travel date: Mon 7th of November 2005
Our Perfect Wedding In Paradise
"Like many of you are probably doing now, I trawled the tripadvisor site for reviews about the many hotels in Sri Lanka, some good, many bad. Even after we had booked our wedding package at the Blue Water I read the reviews in earnest. All I can say about this hotel is WOW!
We booked our package in October 2004 and some bad experiences with the travel agent we booked through (lack of communication, changes to flights without notification etc.) had led us to expect a far from perfect hotel. However, from the moment we got to the Blue Water to the sad moment when we said goodbye, I was in paradise. The suite room we stayed in was clean and airy, had a huge comfy bed, large balcony,lounge, dining area and kitchenette and the best view I have ever had (especially of the sunsets!). The food was amazing - like a previous post has said, the variation each night ensured that you didn't get bored and the huge selection meant that even the fussiest members of my wedding party were catered for.
22 of us went out for the wedding and I can honestly say everyone was bowled over by the place. The staff were so kind and attentive and nothing was too much trouble. One day we had no hot water and after 5 mins of letting reception know, a maintenance man was there and 5 mins later we were moved to another suite (the room boys literally picked every last item up out of our room and transfered it to the same place in the new room!!). We were even given chocolates as an apology for the inconvenience!!!
The wedding itself was absoultely perfect, we had a Buddhist ceremony with dancers and drummers leading the way and an elephant to whisk us away across the beach. It really was amazing. The wedding Co-ordinator, Dinali, made it her mission to give me my every wish. She was brilliant and I felt like a princess! In 2 hours I had organised the whole wedding (cake, flowers, hair, reception etc). We had a reception in the evening which was a private BBQ and they set up a table for us alongside the beach beneath the swaying palms. It was so romantic.....
The spa is also a fantastic experience - they had just opened it when we arrived and so we were the guinnea pigs and I think between the 22 of us we sampled every treatment. It was bliss! I recommend the Aloe Body Wrap.
After the devastating Tsunami, Sri Lanka needs tourism more than ever and if you do decide to go to the Blue Water in Wadduwa you will not be dissapointed. It really was a perfect wedding and holiday.....despite being away with my in-laws!!!"
- Travel date: Thu 20th of October 2005
Is it good for business?
"We stayed at the Blue Water for 10 days in September 2005.
After our 2.00am arrival on Friday we were very happy to see the Hotel and our Bed and were made to feel very welcome.
In the morning we went down for breakfast to the wonderful dining room they have and enjoyed a good breakfast,everything was going well.
Then 10.30am came along and everything changed,the Hotel became very busy with the locals who promptly took over the grounds and set up 2 cricket games along with a very noisy afternoons water polo.I have never been on an 18-30 holiday but i guess this was'nt quite that bad but peaceful it was'nt. We spent 2 days sat in our room at whch point we tried to get a flight home but failed.I spoke with the Hotel management who explained that because of the low bookings coming in they have had to open up to create an income,which i fully understand.I would have to say that when Monday came along the Hotel seemed to go back to some sort of normality but it had spoiled our stay.In fairness to the hotel the standards of service and food were 5 star but a strange commercial decision had ruined what im sure would have been a pleasant stay."
- Travel date: Mon 10th of October 2005
"Visited 22 March till 1 April 2012 ~ The hotel was clean, fresh and well maintained. The food was lovely and there was something for everyone. We had the pleasure of booking a safari with Ruchi Tours to the national park, amamzing!!!! He and his team were very helpfull and helped us plan our overnight safari so we could get the most out of our holiday, this included a trip to the Sri Lanka Cricked ground, Turtel santctuary, pole fishing (Robson Green style) and the Tea plantations.
Tip ~ Relax enjoy and soak up the wonderful Sri lanka hospitality.
P.s the chipmunks around the hotel grounds are very friendly.
We would'nt book with Thomas Cook signature again. No sight of rep at any time.
- Travel date: Thu 3rd of May 2012
LOVED THE LOCATION
"Spent 10 days at the bluewater hotel and loved every minute. The location is fabulous and every room has a sea view.It is very relaxing and the hotel staff are very attentive.The food was excellent and plenty of choice.I highly recommend the health spa to have a full body massage as it is very cheap and they have highly qualified staff.I recommend you go all inclusive if you like a alcholic drinks.We met a local boy called 'jani' and he has a friend called susi and they took us on a two day trip to Kandy and the elephant orphanage and lots of other places.He made the trip tailored to our needs. He is a very trusting ,honest and reliable person and will not take any money from you until you have been on the trip.He organised a 50th birthday party for my partner which was fantastic and only a quarter of the price than in UK.He provided a live band who played reggae music and so much more. I could not have thanked him enough as he made our holiday a very memorable one.He is always on the beach during the day and he usually has a camp fire burning of an evening so do take your time to find him as he will make sure you have a fabulous holiday, everyone knows 'Jani'just ask the locals on the beach. The trips he organises are so much cheaper than the hotel or the rep. I will definetly be going back to see him and also stay at the bluewater hotel very soon."
- Travel date: Tue 9th of December 2008