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“The perfect holiday”

Review of Thalpe House

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Overview
Holiday Rental House -
6 Bedrooms, 6 Bathrooms, Sleeps 14
Habaraduwa, Galle District, Southern Province

Reviews from our community

Average - based on 9 reviews
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Reviews from our community

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sheyan p
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The perfect holiday”
Reviewed 13 January 2016 for a stay in October 2015

We had an amazing week at Thalpe House. We travelled as 2 families, with kids aged 4 to 9. Thalpe House and Sri Lanka surpassed all expectations. The location is perfect with a beach at the bottom of the garden, Galle 15 mins away in a tuk-tuk and the surf / swim beaches on your doorstep. Thalpe House is quite magnificent and obviously newly refurbished. Satish and the rest of the staff were also amazing. The food was 5* restaurant class every night, with the BBQ on the beach a particular highlight. Basically the best holiday any of us could remember for a long time. We will definitely go back.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Liked best: Everything. Thalpe House and Sri Lanka are amazing.
Liked least: Leaving
Travelling group: Large Group
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   Yes.
Recommended for:
Friends getaway People with disabilities
Families with young children Large groups
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
  • Was your security deposit returned on time?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maithreyi...
Bengaluru, India
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Lovely house but everything else was compromised”
Reviewed 16 December 2015 for a stay in November 2015

We were a group of 9 girls on a bachelorette trip and had booked Thalpe house several months in advance. Throughout the booking process, Richard Cotton, the owner of the said property was in touch with us regarding the payments and sending us orientation manuals (including tipping etiquette etc) and we thought , how professional and thorough !
The day of check in, some of us had arrived sooner and proceeded to the house, 15 minutes after having set foot in the house, our friend found the outdoor security guard in her room, with his hands in her purse ! She alerts the house manager who is trying to play this issue down inspite of catching him red handed. Eventually, when we didn't back down, he then did the needful, called the third party security agency that employed him, conducted a body search and asked if we wanted to file a police case. We refused to , since we were foreign nationals and couldn't commit to court hearings etc.
As you can imagine, we are all pretty shaken up after this and feeling fairly insecure in this house and hoping that Richard would call and reassure us about our safety.
The house manager Satish is found talking to Richard on the phone and when we ask to speak with him, refuses to hand us the phone!
All we got from Richard the next morning was an email with a weak apology stating that it's never happened here before. We responded saying that it was not the way we expected this issue to be handled, even so, not one phone call or text from him and the last email to him went unheeded .
Is this is any manner of running a vacation rental? Who's to say something like this won't happen again? How irresponsible can an owner possibly be?

Travelling group: Friends
Your age range 25-34
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
26 Dec 2015
Dear Maithreyi and party,

I am very saddened to read your posts. Thalpe House is primarily our home where we reside for up to four months of the year, often my wife alone with our three young children and nanny,
and as such we take the security and safety of our young family and guests very seriously. This is why we hired the most reputable security firm, thoroughly vetted and used by most premium villas in the area, to provide security for us each night. We also insist on having at least one member of staff always on the property and each room can be locked, the individual wardrobes all have locks and there is a safe in all principal bedrooms.

As I explained to you via email immediately on learning of your incident, my wife and I were as shocked and appalled by it as you. The guard in question, though provided by an external firm, has worked regularly with us for over a year and during this time nothing has gone missing. On the contrary he had shown to be seemingly very trustworthy by collecting up any valuables left out by guests and safely locking them away in the kitchen overnight; which is where I have personally found my phone, my wife's camera and the children?s ipads securely stowed on numerous occasions. For him to attempt to steal from your party within ten minutes of your arrival when the entire house was occupied is unfathomable.

On the night in question, we acted immediately to do all possible to remedy the situation and make you feel secure: the guard was instantly dismissed and replaced, the Managing Director of the security firm was called to the house to apologise in person, two new security guards were placed on duty for the duration of your stay, our Manager and extended staff committed to stay on site full time to ensure you felt safe, we filed a report with the police (despite you not wishing to take matters further) and offered you complimentary bottles of wine from our personal stock by way of apology. I am truthfully not sure what more could have been done - switching to another security firm would not have provided any further reassurances, just more unknowns.

I did in fact ring first thing the following morning to follow up on my email of the previous night, but everyone was still sleeping and Sathish assured me you and your party were happy with our response and the arrangements made. I apologise for taking his word for this and not speaking to you directly; an oversight on my part and as a new owner the single greatest learning I take from this entire incident. Please be assured, however, that I was in regular contact with Sathish to make sure the rest of your stay was made as comfortable as possible and our staff did everything they could to make amends for such a terrible start to your stay. This included serving you and the external guests you invited to the house until dawn each morning - not a service the team would normally provide. I would also raise at no point did I receive an email, missed call or text from any of your party requesting I contact you - had I know how important this was to you then I would have done so without hesitation.

With regard to my correspondence generally, I would also like to add that I was in contact with you and a wide number of your party for many weeks responding to multiple requests regarding your transfers and three day stay, all of which were accommodated without question. While banking details were exchanged and a contract provided, standard procedure for any hire, the correspondence was focused on making sure the house and team were prepared for your stay and any special requests you may have.

As you rightly say, Thalpe House is a beautiful home and somewhere we as a family consider a sanctuary; indeed all of our guests who have mostly booked through air BNB to date have loved their experience staying with us and have only praised the attentive service of our team. As an isolated incident, not lying at the fault of our own staff, I can therefore only hope your reviews do not detract from others enjoying it and you too can accept my deepest apologies for any personal shortcomings in not managing the issue to your satisfaction.

If there is any further feedback you wish to provide to me or any follow up actions you would like us to undertake then please do not hesitate to email me.

Best regards,
Richard
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Habaraduwa hotels

PS1220
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
“Unsafe environment, unreliable & unhelpful owner ( Richard )”
Reviewed 16 December 2015 for a stay in November 2015

We travelled in a group of 9 girls on a bachelorette to this property.

Within the first 10 minutes of being there, the property's security guard was in one of my friends rooms stealing money from her handbag!

You can imagine our horror and fear, being in a developing country with 9 girls. Naturally we reached out to Richard ( owner) who was apparently in China. He refused to speak with us but sent a feeble apology mail and then disappeared.

The apology mail consisted of him refusing liability for the event as the security guard was outsourced. He claimed to use a new agency to replace him - we have no way of knowing what actually happened considering Richard refuses to be contacted.

We tried to call him and e-mail him but to no avail! To make matters worse, the house 'manager' was not competent enough to help the situation. He was a smiling yes-man who lied for Richard saying that he was cutting short his China trip. Which we know never happened because we haven't spoken to him again.

Being on a bachelorette and not wanting to set the tone for a bad time, we stayed in the property ( on hindsight we should've have) fearfully the entire time.

There are many more properties to choose from - braving this one just isn't worth it!

Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
26 Dec 2015
Dear Guest,

I am very saddened to read your posts. Thalpe House is primarily our home where we reside for up to four months of the year, often my wife alone with our three young children and nanny,
and as such we take the security and safety of our young family and guests very seriously. This is why we hired the most reputable security firm, thoroughly vetted and used by most premium villas in the area, to provide security for us each night. We also insist on having at least one member of staff always on the property and each room can be locked, the individual wardrobes all have locks and there is a safe in all principal bedrooms.

As I explained to you via email immediately on learning of your incident, my wife and I were as shocked and appalled by it as you. The guard in question, though provided by an external firm, has worked regularly with us for over a year and during this time nothing has gone missing. On the contrary he had shown to be seemingly very trustworthy by collecting up any valuables left out by guests and safely locking them away in the kitchen overnight; which is where I have personally found my phone, my wife's camera and the children?s ipads securely stowed on numerous occasions. For him to attempt to steal from your party within ten minutes of your arrival when the entire house was occupied is unfathomable.

On the night in question, we acted immediately to do all possible to remedy the situation and make you feel secure: the guard was instantly dismissed and replaced, the Managing Director of the security firm was called to the house to apologise in person, two new security guards were placed on duty for the duration of your stay, our Manager and extended staff committed to stay on site full time to ensure you felt safe, we filed a report with the police (despite you not wishing to take matters further) and offered you complimentary bottles of wine from our personal stock by way of apology. I am truthfully not sure what more could have been done - switching to another security firm would not have provided any further reassurances, just more unknowns.

I did in fact ring first thing the following morning to follow up on my email of the previous night, but everyone was still sleeping and Sathish assured me you and your party were happy with our response and the arrangements made. I apologise for taking his word for this and not speaking to you directly; an oversight on my part and as a new owner the single greatest learning I take from this entire incident. Please be assured, however, that I was in regular contact with Sathish to make sure the rest of your stay was made as comfortable as possible and our staff did everything they could to make amends for such a terrible start to your stay. This included serving you and the external guests you invited to the house until dawn each morning - not a service the team would normally provide. I would also raise at no point did I receive an email, missed call or text from any of your party requesting I contact you - had I know how important this was to you then I would have done so without hesitation.

With regard to my correspondence generally, I would also like to add that I was in contact with you and a wide number of your party for many weeks responding to multiple requests regarding your transfers and three day stay, all of which were accommodated without question. While banking details were exchanged and a contract provided, standard procedure for any hire, the correspondence was focused on making sure the house and team were prepared for your stay and any special requests you may have.

As you rightly say, Thalpe House is a beautiful home and somewhere we as a family consider a sanctuary; indeed all of our guests who have mostly booked through air BNB to date have loved their experience staying with us and have only praised the attentive service of our team. As an isolated incident, not lying at the fault of our own staff, I can therefore only hope your reviews do not detract from others enjoying it and you too can accept my deepest apologies for any personal shortcomings in not managing the issue to your satisfaction.

If there is any further feedback you wish to provide to me or any follow up actions you would like us to undertake then please do not hesitate to email me.

Best regards,
Richard.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sitara M
Bangalore
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Do not stay here - Security guard caught red handed stealing”
Reviewed 12 December 2015 for a stay in November 2015

I came here with a group of 9 girls in November for a 3 day stay. We had seen the property on airbnb and decided to book directly. Bad idea. Within 5 mins of reaching the property in the evening, the security guard who is to patrol the area in front of the property was caught in one of the bedrooms with his hands inside one of the handbags. Luckily he was caught and nothing was taken but what was most troubling was that no one seemed to take it seriously. Sathish the house manager was called and he didn't seem to think it was a serious issue until we raised our voices and asked for the head of the security agency to be called. The security is outsourced to a third party company.

Richard Cotton, the owner of the property lives in Hong Kong and was ever prompt to receive payment or talk about us sending money but when this happened, he didn't call any one of us - he had 4 of our numbers, he instead wrote a email apologising but we didn't hear from him again. We tried to call and text but got no response and even asked to be called in the email response to him. The girl who's bag it was asked to speak to Richard when Sathish called him but Sathish wouldn't give her the phone. We expected a better service in terms of security. One of our groups husbands called and spoke to Sathish who said Richard is flying back to Sri Lanka early because of this. That was a lie because we have still not heard from him.

If the guard hadn't been caught, he would have proceeded to rob us blind the entire trip or worse. He seemed like a seasoned thief who had tried this many times before as this was within 10 mins of us arriving, leaving our bags in the room and coming out to the living room. I wonder if other guests experienced this as well.

We felt very unsafe at the house and tried to enjoy the rest of the trip. It is unfortunate that this had to happen as the place itself is beautiful and the rest of the staff - Lionel and team were alright but we all were extremely surprised by the nonchalance of the Manager Sathish and the Owner Richard Cotton, who still to this day has not contacted us about our experience.

I would definitely not recommend this place to anyone. Do not stay here.

How easy was it to book the property? How helpful were the directions to the property?
How easy was key pickup/access to the property? Overall condition of the property
Bedding & mattresses Kitchen & utensils
Bathroom cleanliness Other facilities & amenities
Service
Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
  • Was the property as advertised?
  • Would you recommend the location of this property?
  • Was it a good value for the price paid?
  • Did the property offer wi-fi/internet access?
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
26 Dec 2015
Dear Sitara and party,

I am very saddened to read your posts. Thalpe House is primarily our home where we reside for up to four months of the year, often my wife alone with our three young children and nanny,
and as such we take the security and safety of our young family and guests very seriously. This is why we hired the most reputable security firm, thoroughly vetted and used by most premium villas in the area, to provide security for us each night. We also insist on having at least one member of staff always on the property and each room can be locked, the individual wardrobes all have locks and there is a safe in all principal bedrooms.

As I explained to you via email immediately on learning of your incident, my wife and I were as shocked and appalled by it as you. The guard in question, though provided by an external firm, has worked regularly with us for over a year and during this time nothing has gone missing. On the contrary he had shown to be seemingly very trustworthy by collecting up any valuables left out by guests and safely locking them away in the kitchen overnight; which is where I have personally found my phone, my wife's camera and the children?s ipads securely stowed on numerous occasions. For him to attempt to steal from your party within ten minutes of your arrival when the entire house was occupied is unfathomable.

On the night in question, we acted immediately to do all possible to remedy the situation and make you feel secure: the guard was instantly dismissed and replaced, the Managing Director of the security firm was called to the house to apologise in person, two new security guards were placed on duty for the duration of your stay, our Manager and extended staff committed to stay on site full time to ensure you felt safe, we filed a report with the police (despite you not wishing to take matters further) and offered you complimentary bottles of wine from our personal stock by way of apology. I am truthfully not sure what more could have been done - switching to another security firm would not have provided any further reassurances, just more unknowns.

I did in fact ring first thing the following morning to follow up on my email of the previous night, but everyone was still sleeping and Sathish assured me you and your party were happy with our response and the arrangements made. I apologise for taking his word for this and not speaking to you directly; an oversight on my part and as a new owner the single greatest learning I take from this entire incident. Please be assured, however, that I was in regular contact with Sathish to make sure the rest of your stay was made as comfortable as possible and our staff did everything they could to make amends for such a terrible start to your stay. This included serving you and the external guests you invited to the house until dawn each morning - not a service the team would normally provide. I would also raise at no point did I receive an email, missed call or text from any of your party requesting I contact you - had I know how important this was to you then I would have done so without hesitation.

With regard to my correspondence generally, I would also like to add that I was in contact with you and a wide number of your party for many weeks responding to multiple requests regarding your transfers and three day stay, all of which were accommodated without question. While banking details were exchanged and a contract provided, standard procedure for any hire, the correspondence was focused on making sure the house and team were prepared for your stay and any special requests you may have.

As you rightly say, Thalpe House is a beautiful home and somewhere we as a family consider a sanctuary; indeed all of our guests who have mostly booked through air BNB to date have loved their experience staying with us and have only praised the attentive service of our team. As an isolated incident, not lying at the fault of our own staff, I can therefore only hope your reviews do not detract from others enjoying it and you too can accept my deepest apologies for any personal shortcomings in not managing the issue to your satisfaction.

If there is any further feedback you wish to provide to me or any follow up actions you would like us to undertake then please do not hesitate to email me.

Best regards,
Richard.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nandini R
Stockholm, Sweden
1 review
“A potentially great stay marred by unpleasantness”
Reviewed 11 December 2015 for a stay in November 2015

A group of us girlfriends stayed at Thalpe House recently. It's a beautiful property, well located, with helpful and friendly staff. However, we had a very unpleasant experience on our first night there - the security guard was caught red-handed rummaging through one of our party's bags - in her room! Not half an hour after we'd settled in, my friend stepped out of the room for a second and re-entered only to find that the guard had entered through the other door and was blatantly pilfering the contents of her handbag - he had opened her wallet and passport case. Needless to say, we were appalled - it's an isolated property, and we were a bunch of girls, so for something like that to take place, directly involving our security at that (!) was extremely disconcerting. The facility with which he seized on the slightest of opportunities made us positive that this had happened before.

But almost more disconcerting was the tepid response we subsequently received from the owner. Despite our appeals, we were not permitted to speak to him on the phone, and all we got in the way of acknowledgment/an apology was a perfunctory email, our response to which received no reply.

We found this unacceptable. To begin with, if you own but do not live on the property, please do not outsource your security needs to an agency without a rigid vetting process. Secondly, if something like this still does happen, I would think it not out of place to do everything you can to ensure that your guests feel safe, even if it's no more than picking up the phone. If the necessary changes are made, I would definitely recommend Thalpe House. Until then, I'm afraid it isn't possible to do so.

Travelling group: Friends
Would you recommend this hotel to a friend?   No.
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management Response
26 Dec 2015
Dear Nandini & party,

I am very saddened to read your posts. Thalpe House is primarily our home where we reside for up to four months of the year, often my wife alone with our three young children and nanny,
and as such we take the security and safety of our young family and guests very seriously. This is why we hired the most reputable security firm, thoroughly vetted and used by most premium villas in the area, to provide security for us each night. We also insist on having at least one member of staff always on the property and each room can be locked, the individual wardrobes all have locks and there is a safe in all principal bedrooms.

As I explained to you via email immediately on learning of your incident, my wife and I were as shocked and appalled by it as you. The guard in question, though provided by an external firm, has worked regularly with us for over a year and during this time nothing has gone missing. On the contrary he had shown to be seemingly very trustworthy by collecting up any valuables left out by guests and safely locking them away in the kitchen overnight; which is where I have personally found my phone, my wife's camera and the children?s ipads securely stowed on numerous occasions. For him to attempt to steal from your party within ten minutes of your arrival when the entire house was occupied is unfathomable.

On the night in question, we acted immediately to do all possible to remedy the situation and make you feel secure: the guard was instantly dismissed and replaced, the Managing Director of the security firm was called to the house to apologise in person, two new security guards were placed on duty for the duration of your stay, our Manager and extended staff committed to stay on site full time to ensure you felt safe, we filed a report with the police (despite you not wishing to take matters further) and offered you complimentary bottles of wine from our personal stock by way of apology. I am truthfully not sure what more could have been done - switching to another security firm would not have provided any further reassurances, just more unknowns.

I did in fact ring first thing the following morning to follow up on my email of the previous night, but everyone was still sleeping and Sathish assured me you and your party were happy with our response and the arrangements made. I apologise for taking his word for this and not speaking to you directly; an oversight on my part and as a new owner the single greatest learning I take from this entire incident. Please be assured, however, that I was in regular contact with Sathish to make sure the rest of your stay was made as comfortable as possible and our staff did everything they could to make amends for such a terrible start to your stay. This included serving you and the external guests you invited to the house until dawn each morning - not a service the team would normally provide. I would also raise at no point did I receive an email, missed call or text from any of your party requesting I contact you - had I know how important this was to you then I would have done so without hesitation.

With regard to my correspondence generally, I would also like to add that I was in contact with you and a wide number of your party for many weeks responding to multiple requests regarding your transfers and three day stay, all of which were accommodated without question. While banking details were exchanged and a contract provided, standard procedure for any hire, the correspondence was focused on making sure the house and team were prepared for your stay and any special requests you may have.

As you rightly say, Thalpe House is a beautiful home and somewhere we as a family consider a sanctuary; indeed all of our guests who have mostly booked through air BNB to date have loved their experience staying with us and have only praised the attentive service of our team. As an isolated incident, not lying at the fault of our own staff, I can therefore only hope your reviews do not detract from others enjoying it and you too can accept my deepest apologies for any personal shortcomings in not managing the issue to your satisfaction.

If there is any further feedback you wish to provide to me or any follow up actions you would like us to undertake then please do not hesitate to email me.

Best regards,
Richard
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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