We're so 3008, it's so '80s-late
The '80s called and they want Nilaveli (Nilaweli?) back. That decade was full of these types of hotels with matchbox rooms, tiny bathrooms, pools and buffets catering to miserly package tourists. In the '00s, we have learned better.
But Nilaveli Beach Hotel hasn't. Just like another refurbished '80s hotel, Amaya Reef Hikkaduwa, it has a (relatively) beautiful facade and not great rooms.
The lobby, entrance and restaurant - refurbished after the tsunami - are typical of all chain hotels, polished cement, Bawa touches and Indonesian style furniture.
The "Sea View" rooms are another story. There is indeed a view of the sea if you squint really hard or use a telephoto lens. But if they were honest, they'd label these rooms "it's really more of a tree view" or "ran out of insurance money rebuilding this section."
There are also "Deluxe" rooms also available which are on top of the restaurant with individual balconies. These rooms are better outfitted but still relatively small. Ventilation for these rooms are shared with the kitchen: according to my friend who stayed in one, to check out the dinner menu, he only had to go to the bathroom.
In this type of hotel, you expect either a bigger selection of mediocre food or a small selection of really good food. Nilaveli had a small selection of mediocre food. Even the crab curry was the worst I've had. The presentation was also indifferent: the curd, for example, was just lumped into a bowl and dumped on a table.
The service was equally mediocre. They refused to deliver tea or lime juice to our room. When we had a flat tire in front of the lobby, no one from the hotel came even to offer help. We asked the chef - early in the morning - to add kankung to the lunch buffet to eat with the crab and he refused. Getting a glass of water at the table was like pulling teeth.
The only saving grace was the beach. Nilaveli beach has white sand and calm, blue water. We stayed in for hours at a stretch and even got a boat to go to Pigeon Island and do some very basic snorkelling.
Basic rooms and food are ok if the service is good and the food is tasty. These improvements are free if you have good management. But as it stands, Nilaveli is not a good experience. As I look back, though, all I remember is floating in the sea off Nilaveli beach. They say the mind protects itself from trauma that way.
Hotel Name: Nilaveli (Nilaweli) Beach Hotel
Address: Nilaveli, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Directions: The turnoff to Nilaveli is before the Trincomalee town. After turning, there's about a 12km drive.
Phone: +94 26 2232295/6. Book ahead on long weekends.
Rates (half board double May 2011): Standard, LKR 10,500
More Photos: Nilaveli Beach Hotel Trincomalee Sri Lanka on Picasaweb