Met by monkeys chasing around the roofs of the hotel, we were truly mesmerised and the Sigirya Hotel had a spectacular view of the Rock we were due to climb the following day.
The tour was extremely good value for money and a good balance of culture, sightseeing and shopping, and with a knowledgeable driver as your escort you glean an incredible insight to the Sri Lankan way of life and the philosophy of Buddhism. Natalie commented “climbing the rock was challenging but I felt amazing when I reached the top as you could survey the scenery which was truly beautiful.”
A highlight was seeing wild elephants casually feeding by the roadside as well as visiting the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage where the elephants are looked after in a safe and caring environment.
We finished the tour and were transferred down to Koggala to stay at the Long Beach Resort. The scenery down on the south western tip was spectacular and if you are looking to chill out on the beach then this area really cannot be beaten for its inviting shoreline. When we visited in May the seas were a little rough so there was not much opportunity to swim in the sea but the pools were freshwater and provided a very welcoming cool down! The hotels in this area are located near to Galle, a must-see historic city with an ancient fort and an array of small shops with spices, fresh fruit and souvenirs.
We were surprised by the quality and choice of food available at the 3, 4 and 5 star hotels; Olivia, who must have been the fussiest of our companions, commented “I am so impressed I have tried so many different dishes and love the fresh fruit and juices”.
The Royal Palms Beach Hotel was our favourite accommodation during the trip. There are some ongoing refurbishment work between this hotel and the sister Tangerine Hotel but it is well screened and any noise is kept minimal. The manager commented that they need to keep a small ongoing programme to ensure high standards for the guests.
Negombo was our last stop and offers a beach stay along with the opportunity to visit the resort which offers many tourist shops and a few western style restaurants and cafés for the less adventurous eaters! Tuk Tuks are the preferred mode of transport and are usually around £8 return for a round trip of around 15 minutes each way. I would always recommend negotiating the fare before agreeing to your journey and you’ll usually find that they will wait for you and take you back to the hotel.
Overall we were extremely glad to see that the hotels and service which we offer our clients is of a good affordable standard. It was great to meet some regular Mercury Holidays clients staying at the Mermaid Hotel and Club. They had travelled to Sri Lanka on numerous occasions and were still enamoured by its beauty.
At the airport Kayleigh happily remarked “I can’t wait to get back to the office and start really selling this and I want to go back on my own holiday next year!”. In closing I must say from all four of us it really was amazing and I would definitely recommend it to my friends and family.