Nilaveli Beach Hotel, Trincomalee Sri Lanka, East Coast
The Nilaveli Beach Hotel is one of Sri Lankas most famous and fabled beach properties. The hotel was once the domain of film stars and high society figures, back when the journey to the eastern port city of Trincomalee was a bit more arduous than it is now.
With this part of the island on and off-limits for much of the last thirty years, The Nilaveli Beach Hotel stood more as a museum piece for long periods of time, its name still conjuring memories of the incredible long sandy beaches of the area. Nonetheless, the hotel remained open the entire time.
With Trincomalee and the lovely long, sandy beach of Nilaveli now very much back on the map, people are returning in force. However, despite its massive reputation, dont be lured into thinking that this is a luxury hotel. The Nilaveli Beach Hotel oozes character and history and a couple of recent refurbishments have raised the standard to a perfectly good mid-range level.
The hotel has 32 Standard Rooms and 22 Deluxe Rooms. All have en-suite bathrooms and ac. The Standard Rooms are on the basic side but are still perfectly adequate for those not in the pursuit of luxury. Deluxe Rooms are much smarter, with a polished cement finish and bright appearance. Other facilities include a large swimming pool with views of the beach, and two main bars and restaurants. Service is friendly and decidedly laid-back throughout.
The real draw here is the beach. Straight and long, the sands go on for a far as the eye can see. Boat trips to the nearby Pigeon Island are possible, along with snorkeling and scuba diving through The Nilaveli Beach Hotel water sports centre.
Trincomalee itself is one of Sri Lankas most vibrant and mixed towns, with its population pretty much equally divided between Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. The natural harbour is one of the worlds finest and is the source of much geo-political interest. Trincomalee town, just ten minutes from the hotel, has a number of mesmerising temples and sites to visit, including the natural hot springs at Kanniya.
The Nilaveli Beach Hotel is not a destination property it is more a place you go to soak up the atmosphere, take in this remarkable region of the country and enjoy the fine beach. We have been visiting for years and it remains one of our favourite beaches to visit. The best time of year for weather tends to be between April and September, although it is possible to visit year-round.
Superior - This is what we would describe as our standard category. These will be decent 3/4* hotels providing a really good level of service. We would generally expect them to be providing a little something extra, in terms of character, guest experience or facilities too.
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This was an excellently organised, tailor-made trip. We stayed in friendly hotels in a number of different locations, including a mud house in the jungle, beside a lake and in the hills among the tea plantations. We had a wonderful guide/driver and visited some amazing temples, spectacular world heritage sites, lovely villages and ate delicious, freshly harvested and cooked local food. It was a fabulous holiday!