The Kabalana Hotel delivers design and comfort in a way that most budget hotels around its price range don't. At about Rs. 6000-7000++ a night for a double A/C room including breakfast and a sleek pool, you'd be hard pressed to find another spot like this Down South.
They've got 12 rooms, basically ground floor chalets that feature open-air ensuite bathrooms, A/C, double or twin beds, and usually a garden view. The decor is starkly minimalist, with monochrome blanched everything. There's no artwork or embellishments, but there is a TV and a big wardrobe and mirror.
Our room was comfortable, and we could have only asked for a less glitchy A/C and maybe one piece of statement art to liven up the space. The Wi-Fi worked well too. We were particularly impressed by the extent of amenities for a budget hotel, like toothbrushes, razors, coffee and tea, DVD player etc.
The hotel's ambience is pretty chic. Clean lines, lots of beautiful greenery, a lush pool, lovely tropical flora, and a definite Miami vibe. It's just a pity that the property is on the wrong side of the Matara Road, so there's no direct beach or sea view. Plus it's very close to the highway so your serene pool paddling is sometimes interrupted by a loud horn or the sound of a truck rushing past.
The service was a bit of a problem here, mostly because of the lack of it. It was incredibly difficult for us to find staff members around for basic things like towels or drinks or to help us with bags. It's not that there wasn't enough staff - it was just that they kept disappearing. When we did come across them, they were nice enough and even gave us little fried crackers for the poolside.
The hotel's got a little cafe adjoining it, which is a lovely little space with chill music and plenty of seating. We had breakfast there (inclusive in the room rate, yay), and it wasn't half bad. It's a three-course mini breakfast featuring fresh juice, tea, lots of fresh fruit, egg, and teensy little banana pancakes. The fruit was great (except for the hella sour mango), but my cheese omelette was a bit boring without some bacon and sausages to give it greasy company.
We're not surprised by the lack of fry-up meats on our breakfast though, given that most of the clientele appears to be health-conscious, nutritious-heavy surfer types. Our lil pancakes were cute and kithul treacle-topped, but a tad too bland to make Jack Johnson swoon.
Overall, we think the Kabalana Hotel by Ceilao Villas is good value for money, in a central location (whether you want to hang out in Galle or Mirissa), and close enough to fancy spots like the Fortress or Tri if you want to grab a pricey meal or drink. It's pretty lean luxury, but we dig the design.
A restaurant and a guest house in Ella, that one should…
හරිම ලස්සන වගේම…