Arugambay is a lot like Hikkaduwa. The accomodation is cheap but the majority of places are holes. They have fancy names (Hillton!) and big, digitally printed signboards but are still holes.
Originally, when we decided to go there for the long, long weekend, I'd booked into Ranga's Beach Hut. When my wife found out Ranga's had shared bathrooms, she had a fit, called me unspeakable names, names a wife should just not call a husband, and booked a place she found on the web called Galaxy Lounge.
When we got there, I had to admit she was right. Ranga's - where we went later for dinner - was a hole, too. But Galaxy Lounge was much, much better.
Galaxy Lounge is a set of cabanas on the beach. Most of them (LKR 1500 / night) are single story structures with the bedroom and bathroom on the same floor. Above them is a place you can set up a mattress and sun yourself.
We, through some luck, managed to get one of the two story cabanas (LKR 2000 / night) which are right on the beach. These are structured like Vil Uyana (really!) with the bathroom taking up the entire ground floor and the bedroom taking up the top floor.
All of these are basic wooden structures. The beds are covered with giant mosquito nets, making them look like four poster beds. The open roof bathrooms, unlike the other places where it feels like you have to jump over the commode to get to the shower, are large and airy.
The food is excellent but, like everywhere else in Arugam Bay, feels pricey given the low room rates. You have to order off an a la carte menu: breakfast is 350-450 per person, lunch and dinner around 600 per person.
The staff and service are excellent. When the pedestal fan in our room burned out in the night, they had another one ready to go. They got the supplies and helped us light a new year's bonfire (at 4:45am!) to boil milk and make milk rice on the beach. We wanted crab curry, which was not on the menu, they made it - better than Wadiya, in my wife's opinion. When we bought a huge, gigantic fish (6 kilos) at twice the market price, they cooked it for us for a cooking charge.
Galaxy Lounge is now our home in Arugam Bay. As a place to stay, it has better beach front accomodation than Ranga's and Stardust (Ranga's rooms are grotty and the shared bathrooms are even more unspeakable, Stardust's beach cabanas are relatively cramped and claustrophobic). But it is the staff - the most service oriented, flexible and just plain nice people we have encountered in our travels - that make it feel like going home.
Hotel Name: Galaxy Lounge
Address: Arugambay, Sri Lanka
Directions: From Pottuvil, cross the new bridge (thanks, USAID!). The first left is Stardust. The second left is Galaxy Lounge. There's a tiny black handpainted sign.
Phone: +94 63 224 8415. Book ahead, especially if you want the two story cabana.
Rates (room only): LKR 2,000 for the two story cabana and LKR 1,500 for the single story cabana. Breakfast is LKR 350-450 per person and lunch/dinner are 600 per person.
More Photos: Galaxy Lounge Arugambay on Picasaweb