The Spanish chain forayed into Sri Lanka with its debut in August 2016, captivating locals with its all-inclusive offer. Feizal Samath dives in for free-flow food, drinks and fun
This 501-room, five-star hotel is located in southern Ahungalla town, 130km from Colombo International Airport. The only international branded resort in the area, the 5.3ha beachfront property is close to Kosgoda Village, famous for its turtle nesting beaches and hatcheries, with easy access to popular watersports like diving and snorkelling.
There are 11 Junior suites, two Superior suites, 30 Family rooms, 438 Double rooms, and 20 rooms designed for guests with special needs.
Large and airy, all rooms come with the usual mod cons – safe, flatscreen TV, free Wi-Fi and coffee/tea making facilities. The 92m2 junior suite that I occupied also had a king-sized bed, large sofa, central air conditioning and ceiling fan.
The range of facilities is what makes this resort a standout. The all-inclusive package entitles guests to unlimited food, soft beverages and alcohol (local and imported) at any time of day and night. Feeling the munchies past midnight? Just walk down to the after-hours bar, show your ID wristbrand (given on arrival) and you’ll get a beer and snack.
Unlike most resorts in Sri Lanka, only in-house guests are permitted use of all facilities that include a discotheque, daily activities for children and live entertainment in the evening with seating for 300 guests.
A massage at Renova Spa, surrounded by the enchanting Balinese music, immediately put me at ease as the masseuse worked on my aching joints with coconut oil, so much so I almost fall asleep! Fifty minutes later, I felt totally recharged.
Two main restaurants treat guests to buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner with continental food and local cuisine while three speciality restaurants feature Italian, Asian and barbecue.
Among the five restaurants and five bars, my favourite is the main restaurant Riti Panna, which offers a staggering choice of over 100 dishes, the largest I have ever seen at a five-star resort. The breakfast is a huge spread of Sri Lankan stringhoppers, roti, kiribath (milk rice) and chutneys, plus Western breakfast favourites like jams, cheese, nuts, bread, choice of eggs and hot/cold meats.
Staff are engaging, warm and relaxed for one simple reason: everything is self-serviced. There are no stewards at your beck and call.
Want a drink? Ask the barman and carry your glass back to your seat. Want some peanuts to go along? Get them from the barman too. Details of the F&B opening hours, a map and a list of daily activities are provided on arrival.
A pleasant, new experience for Sri Lankan guests while to Riu regulars their experience is enhanced with local activities, a beautiful beach, nice evening entertainment, and great food and beverages.
No of rooms 501
Rates From US$300
Tel: (91) 5 220 000