LSR are a tour company operating in Sri Lanka. They specialize in activity tours; sporting (I did a very good hiking based tour with them – their guides are excellent), bird/animal watching and cultural. The hotel they’ve got in Bentota is worth a mention here, as you probably won’t find out about it anywhere else, and I think you’d enjoy staying there.
It’s a little way out of the main town centre of Bentota, about a fifteen minute walk from the bus and train stations I guess, and then you head off left down a short lane to reach it. The hotel usually only houses guests who have booked on an LSR tour so if there are no tours at the time you stay there you’ll have the place to yourself. Even with a tour there though it’s a personable, friendly place; there are only about 9 rooms so it’s never overcrowded. Here is the view from outside my room on the 3rd floor.
The green on the right is the mainland. The green on the left is also the mainland, and then in the middle, that’s an island (a holy island actually, you can wade there at low tide and visit the monks). In the far distance is the sea, and in the foreground is the Bentota River. The beaches are reached either by walking into town and crossing the river via a bridge, or by boat (the hotel staff can arrange that for you for a cheap price) which will pick you up if you request at the end of the day.
You can also swim in the river just under the hotel restuarant – it’s clean and warm. There are great options for runners nearby – the backroads lead inland through thick forest/palm groves and rural areas. I ran there for an hour every day, saw elephants, worshippers at temples, many villages and monkeys.
The staff are really friendly, and there’s always somebody there in reception, no matter what time of day, to get you whatever you need. The rooms are very comfortable and very clean, as is the en-suite bathroom with constant hot water. I didn’t turn my air con unit on but it was there if I needed it. As it was, there was always a strong sea breeze cooling down the rooms, restuarant and balcony so I never needed it.
At night it was always very peaceful with no loud music playing, there are no bars or nightlcubs nearby so you can be sure of a good night’s sleep. I used to sit on the balcony with an arak (there’s an bottle store nearby if you enjoy a good drink, although the hotel does sell alcohol also) and drift off to sleep to the sound of the waves.
There are a few basic, cheap eating choices in Bentota but I really enjoyed the food at the hotel so would heartily recommend eating there. There was no menu as such, the staff just discussed what you’d like to eat and took it from there. It was always freshly cooked, here’s an example of fish steaks with vegetables. I can’t think of an evening meal I ate in Sri Lanka that was better.
Bentota is a great place to visit from a beach, sport (diving is good here) and cultural point of view, and the LSR Hotel is a place I’d recommend to stay.
To check out the LSR Tour Company, and enquire about the hotel and it’s current prices, http://www.lsr-srilanka.com/