I recently visited Chaaya Tranz Hotel in Hikkaduwa on a company trip. Overall it was an excellent experience and a great place to relax. It is the former Coral Gardens Hotel which is renovated and re-branded as an excellent 4 star beach resort. As a result everything is new. It is located in Hikkaduwa off Galle Road. Therefore it is very easy place to find.
Thing I liked the most was, how most parts of the hotel is designed to give you a semi outdoor experience regardless where you are. Most of the public areas are very spacious, open to the surrounding and facing ocean. Specially when you are at the lobby and restaurant your view is entirely ocean. However if you are not found of the strong winds and the tropical temperature there is air conditioned areas covered with glass walls.
Rooms are not the largest that I have been to but they are quite spacious. And hotel have about 140 of them. Rooms has ocean facing , very spacious balconies with beautiful views. Rooms were well furnished with a king size bed, two day beds (one in balcony), dressing table and tea table. In room entertainment system included a LCD TV with cable channels and a DVD player. You can borrow DVDs from the reception. Up to 3 DVDs at once. They had a quite a good collection of DVDs with most of the recently released movies.
Restaurant was quite large and there was no trouble of finding a good spot even though the hotel was almost full. This was also one of the well staffed restaurants. Even though it was large and accommodate a large number of guests you can always find a waiter nearby if you need anything. And their service was really good. There are two sections of the restaurant. Indoor and Semi outdoor. In the Indoor part of the restaurant you can enjoy your meal while fully protected from the elements. In the out-door you have the full view of ocean and the full force of wind to experience with delicious food. Food was really good and there was a huge verity covering local, western, south and east asian.
The swimming pool was excellent place to chill. It’s large and well maintained. And it is built following new regulations. That is, the deep end is not deep enough to drown you. Which is a good thing if you are not a world-class swimmer. Shower area and dressing rooms are very well planned to fit the number of guests that hotel can accommodate.
Hikkaduwa is a tourist city. Apart from beech related activities such as taking a boat trip to see corals, diving and surfing, there are many fun things to do and interesting places to visit on land. I am not going to write much about those as you can find plenty of information on Hikkaduwa on the web.
If you are taking a boat trip the starting point is only 60 seconds walk through the beach from hotel. Even if you are not going anywhere, there is plenty of space to chill out and relax in the hotel either in the lobby or pool. Also if you are up for a game of cricket or volleyball, squash, table tennis there is room for that too.
Now I’ll get to the parts I did not like.
Only thing that I felt the management haven’t well thought through was the hotel night club. It was bit boring. Also the room used for night club was not designed for loud music. Sound get reflected off the walls and get distorted. This is probably because the fact that Hikkaduwa has a teeming nightlife. So the hotel do not have to give the same, when gusts can find plenty of places to party outside the hotel.
Hotel has decided to go high-tech with its in room entertainment syatem, and installed an “IP based Interactive TV system”. You can change channels as well as order room service using your remote. But there is bit of a learning curve to use it. Don’t be surprised if you had to call the reception to ask how to change the channel. But if you call them, reception will send a guy to teach how to use it.
Hotel staff think they have a crow problem. And occasionally use fire crackers to scare off crows. During my stay I did not experience that crows causing any problems to the guests in any way, but the sound of occasional fire cracker was annoying. They need to find another way of dealing with crows without using fire crackers.
Overall it a very good hotel with enough capacity for the large number of guests it can host. Public areas such as pool, lobby, restaurant … are built to handle the large number of guests and has everything you need to relax. You will not have trouble finding a good spot to chill even when the hotel is almost full. Wherever you go in the hotel you will experience the ocean and it’s wind. There are many outdoor activities to do in the area and hotel is equipped for many sports and activities. Staff is very friendly and helpful, in overall the hotel is very well staffed. Last but not least, food in the restaurant is excellent and has a huge variety. This is a place that any traveler will enjoy and find this place very relaxing.
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