Heritance, Kandalama – Sri Lanka

As we left in amazement from Minneriya National Park, we set off under the fading sun to our final destination of our trip. Just after dark we arrived to the grand open reception of the Heritance. Secretly although all of our other hotels were simply amazing, I was most looking forward to staying here. The hotel looked divine, and the surroundings were just as picturesque as you could imagine, and it was the one hotel that just kept popping up on pinterest whilst I was searching. However our excitement was soon short lived.

I feel like nearly 6 months later, looking back – now is a good time to write an honest review. I am never the one normally to complain and make a fuss, or even spread bad feedback, but I need to be honest about our experience at the Heritance Hotel.

So, as I previously said we arrived after dark about 7.30pm on the day of our booking – quite a few hours after we were supposed to of checked in. We made our way to reception, gave our name and we were instantly taken to the bar area and greeted with cold towels and welcome drinks. A great start, or so we thought.

Nearly 30 minutes later and getting impatient and hungry, a member of staff came over, and quite quickly without any explanation told us that they didn’t have a room for us this evening, and they will be taking us to another hotel. By way of apology they would let us dine tomorrow evening for free, with the hope to upgrade our room.
He seemed to think that this was acceptable, and said our driver is ready to take us. I quite literally nearly hit the roof, and had never felt anger boil up in me so quickly. I quite understand that we have a language and cultural barrier between us, but in my eyes that is no way to treat a customer, at ‘apparently’ Sri Lanka’s leading 5* hotel, especially to a customer who has paid for the room already. We were basically being escorted from a hotel that we had already paid for, with no apparent option of staying at the hotel for dinner and drinks.

When I reacted about his offer, he simply nodded and kept saying there was nothing he could do. After a lot of back and forth, we got to the point where we decided, begrudgingly on his part, that we were to dine at the hotel that evening (for free) and the driver would take us to the other hotel when we were ready. We also verbally agreed a refund for the evening, and that we would be picked up at 8am sharp, so we could spend the morning around the pool and enjoy the breakfast at the hotel, until our room was ready. Seemingly agreed we were then left alone at the bar, with no further communication from the staff. We weren’t shown anywhere to change, let alone how to get to the restaurant (it is a big hotel) when we arrived at the restaurant and tried to leave the bar, we were given angry looks as we didn’t have a ‘room number’ to charge the account to. NO ONE I mean no one gave a shit about us, and left us feeling the total opposite of relaxed and looked after on our holiday. To make matters worse, the reception had no idea about our ‘driver’ that was supposed to escort us to our new digs, so we had to go through it ALL again as the ‘manager’ had already left. We also noticed our luggage sitting slap bang in the middle of the reception where we had left it hours earlier. By that time we had had enough and wanted to go to bed, and 30 minutes later could.

After we returned the next morning, we were thankfully escorted to our upgraded room, which did soften the blow – but ultimately still left us wondering why there weren’t any rooms for us the night before?! Albeit staying at the hotel that ultimately has pissed us off, I still really wouldn’t recommend it. The hotel looked tired and old, the staff were unfortunately not very helpful at all, it felt more like a family resort than a potential honeymoon destination. The food was average, and the fact there were only 6 sun beds to accommodate the whole entire hotel? We were lucky to get one, as we were out there so early.

When our time came to leave, I was well and truly looking forward to leaving – but there was the small matter in settling our bill (!!!) All in all with our complimentary meal and wine taken off, the bill came to about £100 (for lunches, drinks and a take-away picnic for our journey) When I questioned them on how I would get my refund (£150 for the night we didn’t actually stay there) they refused and said they would not refund us. A number of expletives, and shouting then occurred, which I felt I was going round and round in circles to get my point across, but they would not back down. We eventually left and refused to pay the bill, ultimately leaving us out of pocket and with a terrible memory and experience from the hotel.

My honest opinion is that not only should they have refunded the £150 for the night they shipped us down the road, they should of refunded the whole entire lot to compensate for the drama, their mistake and the whole shoddy experience that they served us with.

So tell others, and think again about staying here, there is way WAY better places to spend your money on. Although beautiful to look at, and the views…It’s just not worth it.

This blog reflects the original author’s own personal opinion.

Originally for abeautifuladventure.co.uk

Image by TripAdvisor

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