We arrived at the Lodge in the rain, with all the vegetation bright green and dripping and the track to the Lodge all but impassable. The location in the forest is gorgeous and you are surrounded by misty, craggy hills.
Our bungalow was pleasant enough, with a sitting room area in addition to the bedroom and an outdoor patio, neither of which we actually used. The fan was perfectly adequate and despite a couple of holes in the mosquito net we weren't bitten. We enjoyed the pretty, green pool.
The food was healthy and filling, even if the dinner was a bit bland and geared towards western visitors. Service was quite slow and the general atmosphere subdued, although our guides were more enthusiastic.
Zooming across Sri Lanka's largest reservoir in the dawn to see elephants which had swum to islands on the lake was a highlight. We had a picnic breakfast on one of the islands (a thermos of coffee would have been wonderful) and also saw some very good birds. On the lunchtime jeep safari we saw more elephants and lovely birds, including the very rare painted francolin. Lunch was a picnic by a big waterfall. Overall, the Gal Oya national park feels very remote and is much less well visited than the famous ones like Wilpattue and Yala, adding to the experience.
We loved this place. Me for the wrong reasons. I had a 24 hour bug (not covid-19) so instead of enjoying the safaris with my husband I stayed near a bathroom. The staff were wonderful and caring, objecting to nothing and supporting me through a couple of difficult incidences. The room was a lovely place to be in and help was only an emergency button away. Disappointed that we couldn't follow up on the activities that were on site which looked really interesting.
Hidden away this is a beautiful place to spend time! The hotel has extensive grounds in which the rooms are situated, some are quite a walk away from the bar/restaurant area. Each is individual with an outdoor shower room and a small outdoor seating area. The shower room was really interesting during heavy rain! Lovely toiletries and an attempt not to use plastic. Beautiful food, cooked to order, so no waste. Lovely Sri Lankan curries and lovely cake and coffee at 05-30 before we went out birding! Staff are lovely. 24 hour electricity, no wifi or mobile signal. outdoor pool with loungers.
We stayed here in order to visit the National Park - it's the only lodge near the park. The quality of guiding makes all the difference to a safari and the guides at the lodge were excellent. There are lovely walks from the lodge - particularly for bird lovers - and 2 main safaris are offered into the park: one in a boat on the lake and the other by jeep on a single road into the forest. Both were outstanding (we are birders). Breakfast was provided on both trips. Because of the remoteness of the park, we didn't see anyone else during either safari.
The lodge itself provided delicious meals in a light and airy restaurant and there was a welcoming communal area where drinks were served. Our cottage/ bedroom was large, with outside bathroom and a small terrace. Owing to the proximity of the jungle, it was quite dark. We enjoyed our 3 nights here and would recommend it to anyone wanting to experience a remote, quiet and beautiful national park.
This place grew on me. From the photographs I had imagined the rooms to be less austere. There was little view from the room as the vegetation was very tall and started at the edge of the terrace. Although I knew there was no air con, it was very warm. But, the bed was really comfortable, the bathroom unique and great fun - especially as a bat joined us both nights we were there.
We went on a boat safari in the National Park which also included a picnic breakfast. Such an incredible experience, our guide was outstanding not just because of his knowledge of flora and fauna, which he so willingly shared, but the way in which he cared for us was exemplary. We also went on a bird walk with him around the lake near the lodge and this too was a real treat.
The main meeting area and restaurant are light and airy and we enjoyed the opportunity to socialise with other guests over pre dinner drinks in the evening. The food was very good and waiting staff very helpful.
The lovely warm pool with great sunbeds and plenty of towels made downtime a real pleasure.
So, in the end I was very sad to leave and would be happy to wholeheartedly recommend Gal Oya LOdge to anyone.