The Jetwing Beach Hotel, Negombo

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The Jetwing Beach Hotel in Negombo is very near the Colombo marathon’s finish line (about 10 minutes walk along the beach). Before we go into details, here’s a short film that I made on arriving at the hotel. It’s not meant to be a glossy film showing the accomodation at it’s best, just an honest first impression on what the average visitor might encounter on arrival.

Location - The Jetwing Beach is located between the main Negombo Beach and a road that runs the length of the hotel strip. It’s about a 25 minute taxi ride from the airport, and a 75 minute taxi ride to Colombo. There are also bus and train stations in Negombo, but services are quite slow. Negombo town, harbour and fish market is about 2km away from the Jetwing Beach end of the hotel strip.

The Colombo marathon finishes in Negombo beach park, which is a 10 minute walk along the beach (that’s how long it took me to walk back after the run).

Check In/Reception - The hotel shows it’s best side to the beach, the roadside entrance being very functional and cavernous, albeit with nice paintings on the ceiling. The staff are polite and professional, yet check-in took about 15 minutes as there was some confusion among them as to the length of my stay. Whilst they sorted it out to my satisfaction I was given a cold drink, and I sat and enjoyed the sea breeze. The lobby area is all open planned and receives the breeze contstantly. It’s decor is spartan but comfortable, and suits the beach scene well.

Below the lobby is a good looking pool which is illuminated nicely at night. I didn’t swim in it as the hotel’s other pools were nearer my room, and the beach. Leading off of the lobby were the stairs to the restuarant, a jewelry shop and the lifts to the rooms.

The Room - My room was on the ground floor, with patio doors leading straight out on a lawn which seperated me from the main pool. It was the sort of room that made you gasp as you entered, and thought yourself very lucky to be staying in. As you can see from the photo on the right, the door opened to reveal on my left a huge glass window seperating the hallway from the bathroom, then beyond that the bedroom, the patio doors and the palm trees that surrounded the main pool. It was a beautiful design; the immediate impression I got was one of space, light and luxurious comfort.

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The room was well appointed with safe, tea/coffee/bottled water, flat screen TV with 50 channels (many of which were English language), stereo/radio system, mini bar and a king sized bed with crisp, comfy linen. The floor was tiled, and the air con was efficient and quiet.

The mini bar was quite pricey, but if you wanted to pay less, or have something that wasn’t in there, like a large bottle of Arak or wine, there are several small shops and an off licence outside the hotel – just leave the entrance, turn right and walk about 200 metres – selling all the basics.

The patio doors opened to reveal a small area with table and chairs from which I could have watched the sun sink into the ocean (I didn’t do this thought as I walked the 5 minutes down to the water’s edge to watch sunset each night). As far as I could see all the hotel rooms (there were 3 storeys of them) were sunset facing, which meant that they were flooded with warm light from about 4pm onwards each night.

The bathroom was a joy to visit. The fittings, sink, toilet and bath were very modern whilst the walls were a distressed mustard colour. The large shower cubicle was built into the wall, whilst the larger bath (it would fit 2 easily, and the taps are in the middle so nobody has to have the uncomfortable end) had a padded headrest at one end to ensure a really relaxing soak. The toiletries were presented in terracota pots, and there were also bath crystals to add some aroma to the water.

Because of the glass walls the bathroom was very light, although if you were to want privacy there were Venetian blinds that could have sealed off the entire room.

The room was quiet at most times, but this is a holiday resort and the pool is very near so inevitably there was some noise during the early evening, ranging from guitar strumming to a sad, dull bongo/tabla solo that went on for hours. Not past 9pm though, I’m happy to report.

The room was cleaned every day and during the late afternoon there was always a knock at the door from a lad offering the turn down service (which means getting the room ready for the evening).

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The Restaurant and Pool - The restaurant was open sided so you get the benefit of the sea breeze, which is important in such a humid, hot climate, and the food was possibly the best I’ve ever had buffet style. The first night I stayed there was a BBQ, with 6 chefs stood behind an array of hot plates, stoves and grills. First course were a variety of salads, soups or terrines. All were very tasty. For main I got a selection of potatoes, rice, salad and vegetables from the buffet, then approached whatever chef had what I wanted and had them cook it to order. I went for a seafood stirfry at first, then a seafood pasta, although there were a range of sausages and steaks on offer as well.

Every dish was cleanly presented, and never more so than the deserts. There was chocolate cake, mango and strawberry cheesecake, rum balls, fresh fruit, and much more. The taste of desert was ok, quite subtle really, which worked nicely on the mango dishes but not on the chocolate.

The next evening was a set 3 course menu which was a nice change, and the next a seafood BBQ (the same set up as the first night, with a range of chefs cooking up different dishes to your requirement) which had some excellent tuna steaks and also lemon battered fish.

Breakfast was of the same high quality. Butters, cheeses and cold meats were refrigerated, there was around 10 types of yoghurt, a full Sri Lankan spread, a chap squeezing fresh fruit juice, and 3 chefs, 2 of them offering Western style eggs, bacon and sausage and the other making fresh egg hoppers (which went great with the coconut sambol and fish curry on offer).

There were 3 pools, but I only used the large main one, which was about 50 metres long, warm, about 4 foot high at it’s deepest and had a nice view through the palms to the sea. The hotel sunbeds are on the sand among the palms, whilst the pool is raised about 2 feet higher, hence the view over the other guests to the sea.

The hotel also has a gym and tennis courts although for me the beach was a great place to jog and 10 lengths of that pool was all the exercise I wanted.

In Summary - My opinion is that the Jetwing Beach Hotel in Negombo is an excellent Luxury-range choice. It’s rooms are quiet, comfy and uniquely designed, it’s got a fantastic series of swimming pools and it’s right on the beach (the sea is too rough for swimming though in October, the month of the marathon, so the pools take on extra importance at this time).

The staff are very well trained and extremely professional and friendly, the food is of a very high standard and the beach in front is a pleasant place to be, especially at sunset. In the morning you can also see the local fishing fleet casting their nets just offshore. There are a few locals selling goods on the beach but they don’t really hassle you, they just ask you once or twice to buy something and then leave you in peace.

We heartily recommend the Jetwing Beach Hotel. For more information on the Jetwing Group of Hotels, please check out their website here www.jetwinghotels.com

or to go direct to the Jetwing Beach’s webpage click here http://www.jetwinghotels.com/jetwingbeach/

 

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