Talking about hotels has never been a fun idea of a post, but I seriously thought that this one hotel and our experience with it deserves a special mention as it is the epitome of how everything that can go wrong will go wrong if the circumstances are just right.
I suppose the biggest problem of all was that it was raining heavily. The second biggest problem was that the rain was unexpected. In fact, by the time we had arrived, it had been raining continuously for almost two whole days. This website shows how bad it was. The data provided here was from Feb 1 to 7, 2011. Based on yearly reports from other websites, February is the month that has the lowest rainfall in the year. Our holiday there was from Feb 2 to 6, 2011. Murphy's Law, or a holiday curse?
(Please note that the post below talks about the rain and more rain and all rain related disasters and this doesn't even include the burnt socks incident yet)
Back to the hotel. Interestingly, the hotel is far from your ordinary building that looks like an ugly grey block with rows of windows indicating each room and each floor. Instead, the moment you enter the gates, you are first greeted by the front desk, where they give the keys to your room and take you to your rooms situated a few hundred metres away covered by nothing but the sky above. The path you take is lined by slabs of flat stone, just indicating the path. An 'alfresco'-ish setting, if you will. So you can imagine that after almost two days of rain, the path was half buried in water in certain places, with water flowing in rivulets, wetting the cuffs of your jeans in the process. The staff helped us carry our bags to the rooms, and the poor skinny boys were drenched in the rain within seconds. We as hotel guests were fortunate enough to get umbrellas that we could use, but seriously, the rain was relentless and hit us from the sides instead.
To the hotel's credit, it's actually a rather remarkable idea. After all, you're supposedly on a relaxing holiday, and staying in a box-like room sounds like the furthest thing from relaxation. Besides, the rooms are like tiny semi-D houses and looked gorgeous. The air was fresh, thanks to all the greenery. They also had a most interesting bathroom concept, which was something this hotel is apparently quite known for.
Throughout our stay there which lasted from the afternoon of 2nd February to the morning of 3rd February the following happened:
1. Got our jeans and feet/socks/shoes wet on the way back to the front desk where we were supposed to meet our guide to take us to Sigiriya Rock.
2. Got wet again on the way back to the room after Sigiriya Rock, on the way to dinner at the hotel's restaurant and back to the room after dinner
3. Mom lost her slipper in the mud on the way back to the room after dinner and it was never to be found again. She borrowed my flip flops after that.
4. Final dose of getting wet in the rain the next morning before finally checking out.
In between all the getting wet and drying ourselves after getting wet, I have to add something about the interesting bathroom concept mentioned above. See, the bathroom had an open air concept, so you could look up to the skies and have natural sunlight shine in on you while showering, or even watch the stars at night if you wanted to. To prevent insects, dead leaves and other creepy creatures from joining you as you had a relaxing shower, there was a net placed above you. It sounds lovely, unless if it rains. Imagine you're there trying to have a hot shower because it was so cold, and there's rain (which is cold) dripping on you all around from the netting. The shower head was fixed, so there was nowhere I could move to. I thought that it was the most ridiculous situation ever. There was nothing to do but laugh, which I did after I got out of the bathroom.
Despite their best efforts to make the hotel as lovely as they could, I do think they should also be a bit more practical. In fact, when we were asked by the tour agency to rate the accommodation and services, we actually suggested that the hotel consider to build a covered pathway to the rooms and on top of that slightly elevate it at the same time.