Joyless: Our Review of Kalu’s Hideaway

Full disclosure: on this night of our 10-day trip through Sri Lanka we were originally booked to stay in The Jetwing Yala. Unfortunately Yala National Park was closed for all of September, so our tour operator re-routed us to Udawalale and a night here. The good news is that our travel dollars went a lot further; the bad news is that our stay wasn’t memorable in any discernible way.


We stayed in one of the newly-renovated (I think?) suites, certainly a comfortable size for a couple and their bags. Thankfully those bags were delivered to the room for us, from the front entrance through the main building, past the restaurant, past the infinity pool and up three flights of stairs.

The comically-large bathroom was where I started to notice the lack of thought put into this place. No joke, you could fit an entire football team into the shower area simultaneously, if that’s your thing. Me, I’d have fancied a nice tub instead.

You could likewise run a small café from the enormous balcony, were it not for the bizarre four-sided concrete bench set in the middle of it. That was the only deck furniture present; no other chairs, tables, umbrellas… nothing.


Though kind of in the middle of nowhere (hence the name “hideaway”, I guess) the property is expansive, so if it’s crowded by the pool you can wander off and find somewhere quiet. There’s a big fenced-off play area for kids, which gave me the thought that Kalu’s might be better suited for families.


I feel that some more disclosure is needed here: at this point we were just over halfway through our 10-day tour of the island, and in terms of food I was a bit curried out. That said, I found the dining experience at Kalu’s especially disappointing. The food wasn’t bad but seemed… joyless? It certainly didn’t help that a lot of the dishes were covered by cling wrap. I totally get that it was a protective measure against bugs in an open-air buffet, but for me it really cheapened the experience—I’d expect cling wrap at a family picnic but not at a resort where people dressed up for dinner.

Breakfast was again only adequate; more cling wrap yet not a ton of selection, particularly in regards to fresh fruit. And the drip coffee was very clearly prepared by someone who doesn’t drink coffee.

Bottom Line

The more I think about it the more certain I am that Kalu’s is best suited for families, who stand to get a lot of value out of a stay here. For couples—at least this couple—there was definitely something lacking. In fact, I’m sorry to say that of our six stops in Sri Lanka this was by far the least memorable of the lot.

Still Interested? Book your stay here: Kalu’s Hideaway


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