Reviewing my stay at Vivanta by Taj Bentota

Disclaimer: Although my stay at Vivanta by Taj Bentota was sponsored by the hotel, the reviews expressed in this post are my own. In no way does this post intend to promote or sell any product or service.

Let me begin by telling you the story of WHY I decided to stay at Vivanta by Taj Bentota. While planning my short getaway to Sri Lanka, I wanted to pack my itinerary with every diverse experience possible in the country and this included spending a day chilling at a nice beach (Sri Lanka's coast is gorgeous and the country is home to some popular resort cities). As Galle was a bit far and not feasible to fit into my short trip, the choice was between Bentota (1.5-hour drive from Colombo) and Negombo (45-minute drive from Colombo).

I received a few offers for a 5-day package including car and guide hire in Sri Lanka and most of these quotations and brochures had a picture of a really cute wooden hut with a thatched roof, which looked like a restaurant, surrounded by a garden with tables and chairs, overlooking gorgeous blue waters in a breathtaking setting. This picture instantly piqued my interest and a little bit of research revealed the place - it was at Vivanta by Taj Bentota!

Travelling to Colombo? Click here to read about the Top 10 things to do in Colombo.

The arrival

Unfortunately, 48 hours before our arrival, the west coast of Sri Lanka was gripped by a heavy storm, something that's not too uncommon in this area but the intensity was so much that some houses and buildings were destroyed, trees had been uprooted and fallen on the road and certain areas had been ruined. The storm also affected Vivanta by Taj Bentota by spoiling some parts such as the roof, the cute little thatched-hut restaurant (the main reason why we had decided to come here in the first place) and the forest outside the spa. However, this did not mar our experience in any way. We were welcomed very warmly, with a cool drink and cleaning towels, while we waited to be assigned our room.

Vivanta by Taj Bentota
Access to the beach

The best part about Vivanta by Taj Bentota is that ALL their rooms are sea facing with balconies, and the resort is spread out over quite an area with manicured gardens, a swimming pool, a few restaurants and bars, play areas and direct access to the beach. The rooms were spacious and the interiors were chic, and we were lucky that we were given a room right next to the open terrace and pool.

Vivanta by Taj Bentota
Rooms at Vivanta by Taj Bentota

The facilities

Although I was slightly disappointed that Vivanta by Taj Bentota did not have its own private beach, it did have access to a large coast which was a public beach, with private operators that rented out sun loungers during the day. Despite the fact that the beach was accessible to the common public, the coast here was lined with resorts and hotels, which meant neither was the place crowded nor was the crowd bad. Apart from that, the hotel's premises had ample places where one could sunbathe while enjoying fantastic views of the sea.

Vivanta by Taj Bentota
Sun loungers at Vivanta by Taj Bentota

The hotel has five restaurants in all, each with its own special offering. The Palms is the all-day dining, right next to the gorgeous pool, and is also where the breakfast buffet is served every day. The spread is fantastic, with dishes featuring international fare as well as local/ regional flavours.

Sea View restaurant specialises in seafood and has some of the best views of the blue ocean but unfortunately, it does not have al fresco seating, which is a great idea during evenings when you can enjoy the cool breeze while you sip on a cocktail. However, the fresh seafood served here is pretty amazing!

My favourite - unfortunately, this was shut during our visit because the storm had destroyed the garden and a little bit of the bar area, was S.H.A.C.K. Also serving the fresh catch of the day, I loved this place because of their seating. At a height, with stellar views of the ocean, S.H.A.C.K had the perfect ambience, under the starry sky.

Other dining options included Oriental Pavilion, a chic and exquisite restaurant offering authentic Chinese food and the bar, Tease, which had a great selection of cocktails with bar snacks and a live band.

Vivanta by Taj Bentota
Beachview seating at Vivanta by Taj Bentota

The beach at Vivanta by Taj Bentota has lovely white sand and blue waters, with the temperature of the water being almost perfect! The area is surprisingly not too crowded and the setting is just perfect, with rocks jutting out into the sea, palm trees lining the coast, gentle waves providing the perfect opportunity to swim. I caught a beautiful sunset here, despite the cloudy skies, on our first evening.

Vivanta by Taj Bentota
The beach at Vivanta by Taj Bentota

Vivanta by Taj Bentota
A dramatic sunset at Vivanta by Taj Bentota

A small terrace right out The Palms restaurant has table tennis and chess tables set out for people to play. On the other side, a large swimming pool (although not an infinity pool) is a great place to relax, in the backdrop of stunning palm trees and the blue ocean. Although the pool doesn't have a bar, the staff is more than happy to serve drinks and snacks at the area near the pool.

Vivanta by Taj Bentota

For fitness enthusiasts, there is also a 24-hour gym where you can consult trainers. You can also rent a bike here or simply take a dip in the jacuzzi. A short walk away from the pool area, through a small forested garden, surrounded by low hanging branches of trees, you will find the Jiva Spa. What disappointed me about the spa was the size (it was really small) and the fact that none of the treatment rooms were in the open or overlooking the ocean. The management could've really utilised the space and taken advantage of the fantastic location as well as views from the resort to create exquisite experiences by the beach or overlooking the ocean.

Vivanta by Taj Bentota

Visiting Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka? Read about 5 things to do in Nuwara Eliya.

Activities in the area

You can either purchase sightseeing experiences at Vivanta by Taj Bentota hotel's reception or save some money and walk down to the public beach area, where you'll find people selling tours and activities. You have ample choices such as Bentota or Madu River Safari, day-trip to Galle Fort, Whale Watching cruise in Galle, Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project, a visit to Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary or Bentota Village, or water sports (jet ski, parasailing) on Bentota River.

Madu River Mangroves Safari

We chose the Madu River safari as we had heard a lot about it. Bentota River also offers a similar boat safari experience but we were advised by locals to travel 25 minutes from Bentota to Madu Ganga River for the safari as it was a better one, with more diverse experiences. We paid $25 for the boat (we were only 2 people on the boat, along with the person operating it) for a 2-hour safari through mangroves, home to exotic wildlife and birds. With over over 111 bird species and 31 types of reptiles, including snakes, lizards and crocodiles, the safari is an interesting experience. In 2 hours, we also visited several islands such as the Temple Island and Cinnamon Island. You can also experience open-air fish massage and pass the area where shrimp fishing takes place. A floating shop selling fresh coconuts was my favourite stop on the safari.

Temple Island, Madu River Safari

Temple Island, Madu River Safari

95 thoughts on “Reviewing my stay at Vivanta by Taj Bentota”

  1. Bentota itself is so beautiful and Taj just adds so much to the place. The beach around it must be like a treat… A private one. And those rooms. And facilities…. Must be adding such a luxurious touch. Lucky you to have stayed here. Love your pics

    1. Thanks Ami. Unfortunately, the beach is NOT private, its a public beach. But it wasn’t crowded at all so it was as good as being on a private one 🙂

  2. Vivant by Taj Bentota looks like such a beautiful and luxurious place to stay! Sri Lanka was a place that we had to cut out of our RTW trip because I had to have emergency surgery, so it remains at the top of my list. Their beach access looks amazing and that pool is super stunning. So much amazingness all in one location!

  3. It is veritably a luxury on the lap of the sea (indian Ocean?) . The view is just so awesome. There seems to be acres and acres of private space. I guess after some comes a sunny day! 🙂

  4. Vivanta by Taj seems to be our type of place. I liked that there all rooms are sea facing and they welcome their guests so nicely. The views from the terrace are amazing and can spend a lot of time there. Your sunset picture is too good.

  5. I visited Sri Lanka for New Year celebrations and loved the country. It was peak season and Taj Vivanta was completely booked. I had heard a lot about this one but I couldn’t experience. The forest outside the spa sounds great. Your room looks comfy. Great choice. Taj is always a great experience.

  6. Oh no! That’s so sad (for both you and the locals) that there was a big storm right before you arrived. Always a bummer, but glad to hear everything was still ok for you to visit. Vivanta by Taj Bentota looks like a great hotel. I love that all of the rooms face the sea-such great planning on the hotels part. The beach and sunsets look amazing there too, and the Madu River Mangroves Safari sounds like a blast! You definitely made a good decision heading to this spot!

    1. The views are amazing – especially since the hotel is located at a little height above the beach (you need to use the stairs to go down).

  7. You definitively made a great choice by selecting the Taj Benota hotel. I love the decor in the bedroom. Great views all around and an amazing pool. What a great stay and review.

  8. Firstly, I must say that you got some great pictures here. Taj has got lovely properties and it is amongst my family favorite picks. Though I wonder how they didn’t have a private beach. But nevertheless still worth visiting one !

    1. I guess the entire stretch of that beach is public so they couldn’t really have a private one!

  9. What an ideal location and with 5 restaurants to choose from I would have to try them all! It looks like the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the beautiful beach. It’s my kind of hotel!

  10. What a gorgeous location for a Taj property, that beach looks spectacular and I see the sunsets are amazing. I love Sri Lanka and would love to go back and visit!

  11. Just like the Philippines, the storm is not that very uncommon but it always is moving on and getting up. I can see why you truly did enjoy your stay here. I love any resorts that’s facing a beautiful blue beach just like your accommodation. What a great resort hotel you’ve stayed at. Would consider this when visiting Sri Lanka!

  12. You know reading this post I got a lil sad because I am going to Sri Lanka tomorrow and I won’t be staying at Taj Vivanta. The hotel looks just my kind of place from the beach, food, room and everything else. Wish I had seen this post before! But there’s always the next time 🙂

  13. It is too bad that the storm devastated some parts of the area even before you arrived. but at least you still had a great experience. And judging by what you shared and your photos, it seems like a place I would want to stay in too. Love that scenic view from the access to the beach and the pool. Yes, I love a good swimming pool even when there is a beach nearby!

  14. Ok, sold! Take me there now. I can see myself having food on the table overlooking the sea and would love to chill out on the beach. Fantastic review. 🙂

  15. Give me some of that Sri Lanka sun! It’s snowing in Paris right now and I’d love to be at Vivanta by Taj Bentota soaking up the sounds of the waves on those loungers.

  16. Uh, wow, what a view. Imagining having breakfast every morning looking out over the sea makes my heart melt. And what a pool :-O Looks like you had an amazing stay. So jealous! 😀

  17. This place looks so relaxing…and the fact it is so close to Maduganga river makes it all even more attractive..ur photographs are amazing..and each room is a each view that’s pretty cool…seems like a perfect treat to end ur vacation..will surely plan a stay on my next visit to srilanka.

    1. You have the option to go for Bentota River Safari (which is closer, just 5 min) or Maduganga River Safari (which is about 25 min). We chose Maduganga because we had heard better reviews 🙂

  18. Sea facing rooms, sounds like heaven! This entire property sounds great. Lots of options from food to spa to gym. And the pool seems amazing! Will keep this place in mind if we ever get to visit there.

  19. Sri Lanka is way up high on my bucket list and this place would definitely be an option. The beach looks wonderful – and I know that I’d be very comfortable in the beautifully decorated room ?

    1. Its highly recommended to stay in this hotel, should you plan to visit Bentota sometime 🙂

  20. Such a shame to hear about the storm that devastated the area just prior to you arriving. But the hotel looks amazing – the room you were in was beautiful. Great that they’re all sea facing rooms too x

  21. Ok you win the internet today because the Vivanta by Taj Bentota in Sri Lanka just made my bucket list for sure. The resort looks amazing. To think it looked that good in your pics in spite of the horrible Tempest that ravaged it several days before. Sorry you couldnt eat at the Shack but it sounds like the other restaurants did well.
    I love that river cruise you both took also and for the price it sounds perfect especially with such a diverse ecosystem and the ability to explore Temple Island! Very Cool indeed!

  22. I love the fact that each room was sea facing, but just like I am also disappointed that they didn’t have their own private beach. In any case, it was gorgeous and your pictures speak a thousand words…

    Sad to hear that the thatched hut is gone…hope they rebuild it again…

  23. What a gorgeous resort! I love that all the rooms have ocean views! Nothing’s better than waking up and seeing the waves outside. I also like the variety in food options and activities! Sounds like it would take a few days to get bored at all!

  24. This resort looks fantastic and there are so many activities to choose from, I’d love to experience a river safari!

  25. Looks like an amazing place to just unwind and rejuvenate! I’d love to visit and be able to chill out. Hope the people are okay, having to weather that tough storm.

    I totally understand how much devastation that can deal, as I actually visited Jeju Island in South Korea when a typhoon had just hit it – the botanical gardens looked absolutely dead!

    1. Thankfully there was not a LOT of devastation. Nevertheless, it is not easy for the people who live there and have to face the storms!

  26. I must say, it’s quite a shame that the weather affected the region prior to your arrival, though glad to hear that your experiences was not impeded in any way. Admittedly, I am a little disappointed with the tone of the piece at certain points – particularly with reference to your aversion to the beach being accessible to the “common public” and that the spa was not big enough etc. This is not to say that my experience of the entire piece was marred, just that the tone here left a little bit of a sour taste. Perhaps its my own aversion to luxury travel, which is in no way a prescriptive ideology, rather one that comes more naturally to me. All in all, I must thank you still, for without reading this I wouldn’t have known about the Ventura beach. Despite differences, travel is a wonderful thing.

    1. It’s an honest review and a reflection of only my personal opinions. What I like/dislike about a place can, of course, be very different for others. Everyone is different in what they like, expect, enjoy about a particular place.

  27. Nice post… this post has such amazing review for Vivanta by Taj Bentota. This experience looks really amazing and I came to know about Vivanta by Taj Bentota.

  28. The resort looks quite beautiful. It would be a good experience to stay here. Sri Lanka is on my travel list now. The place looks so divine. Where else had you visited?

    1. I went to a few other places in Sri Lanka like Nuwara Eliya, Kandy and Colombo. Feel free to check my blog out for more posts on Sri Lanka 🙂

  29. Medha, that must have been a great experience! Vivanta by Taj Bentota looks really posh and cool right at Galle. I liked the fact that every room has a balcony. If I go, I would love to do that mangrove safari without fail. Glad you had a great time.

  30. This resort sounds like somewhere you could take a very extended vacation! Sri Lanka was always on my mind as a travel destination and perhaps I can try this resort in future.

    1. You could just enjoy some sunbathing, swim in the beach and get a nice massage in the spa. I love such resorts!

  31. That is kind of hotel, where I would stay for some time at the end of a trip. My trips are normally quite exhausting. After a week of kayaking, I need a beach 🙂

    1. I couldn’t agree more! It was also the hotel that I stayed at, at the end of my trip (although the trip wasn’t really that long but it’s always nice to relax before returning to work!).

  32. Bentota os high on my must visit places in Sri Lanka. The beaches and the mangroves are so beautiful! The property does look gorgeous and a perfect for a beach holiday. But I agree with the downside of Taj Vivanta Bentota is not having a private beach, it would have been amazing an even more amazing stay there.

  33. The resort looks so peaceful and relaxing especially with those views. It’s sad the storm tore some of the things up so that you couldn’t enjoy them. But Sri Lanka looks so beautiful. And the fresh seafood delicious!

  34. Wow this looks like a wonderful destination! I need to add it to my bucket list ? and those pictures…so dreamy!!!

  35. Vivanta by Taj Bentota looks and sounds like a great hotel. The views are truly spectacular. Madu River Safari seems like something I would immensely enjoy. Sad about the storm though.

  36. Oh wow! What a beautiful location in Sri Lanka! Your article sets up the “perfect” location… so now when I visit, this will have to be where I stay! Plus, the location is unbeatable and the pictures are simply gorgeous. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  37. The Vivanta by Taj Bentota sounds amazing! It’s sad to hear that they were hit by such a bad storm prior to your visit so there were some damages to the place… but I am also so happy to hear that they still provided you with the warmest of hospitality. And a 24 hour gym? Wow wow! What a stunning place to be working out, especially which gorgeous views. I totally would love to visit this hotel when I am in Sri Lanka next – looks and sound stunning.

  38. Vivanta by Taj Bentota sounds like a wonderful accommodation – I’m glad to hear that the storm before your arrival didn’t affect the stay. The rooms look beautiful – and love that they’re all sea facing – no-one gets a bad carpark view!! I wouldn’t mind that the beach is not private – it looks like a stunning beach, and doesn’t look to crowded for being public. That’s SUCH a beautiful photo of you watching the sunset!

    1. Thank you Megan 🙂 And yeah, luckily, even though it is a public beach, it was not crowded at all!

  39. Medha dear , you have been doing a wonderful job in enlightening us regarding various places. This is also a very fascinating post and will be a great guidance to us if we plan a trip there. Well done and keep it up. All the best.

  40. All your pictures are stunning! I stumbled on your blog while looking for options to stay in Sri Lanka. Vivanta by Taj have many properties all over India but this one looks incredibly beautiful. Loved the first picture with thatched roof Hut and your dramatic sunset one. Your post will hundred percent bring more traffic to this property, at least we will surely consider staying here when we visit Colombo.

    1. I’m happy to hear that Moimehr, their properties are usually very good even in India and this is one of the few I’ve stayed at, outside India. They’re located in Bentota, which is about 1.5 hours away from Colombo and has some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. The hospitality is amazing and the hotel is really good too!

  41. The taj Bentota looks like an amazing stay. Sri Lanka is on my travel list, such beautiful beaches and nature makes this one of my most sought after destinations. I love your sunset photo too. I’ll def have to look into the Taj Bentota if I get the chance to visit.

    1. Oh yeah, the sunsets are amazing! And Taj Bentota is located perfectly to catch them.

  42. Taj Benota sounds like a good choice for visiting Sri Lanka. I love your photos of the sunset, and though there’s not a private beach, the public beach still looks lovely. Shame about the Sea View restaurant not having al fresco dining, how strange! But I like seafood, and would go here first 🙂

    1. Yea, I love al fresco dining myself. The S.H.A.C.K restaurant does have lovely seating but unfortunately due to the storm, they had to shut it during our visit.

  43. Wish I could just step into those pictures and reach there right at this moment…This resort is just as perfect as I love it from the scenic vista to the food it has everything that I look for when I have pockets full of cash…

    1. Haha, it is not THAT expensive to be honest 🙂 It’s pretty decently priced for the luxury that it offers!

  44. Sri Lanka looks so beautiful. The hotel looks huge but at the same time friendly. Would it be good for kids?

    1. Yea, it’s a family-friendly hotel. In fact, I saw a lot of families with little kids when I visited 🙂

      1. This is a gorgeous hotel and luxurious! I want to spend my time on that pool and enjoy the full view. Would you know if this hotel is pet-friendly? Do they allow pet-guests?

        1. Hi Blair, I don’t know as it is not something I explored myself. I did not see any pets there either but you could always drop them an email and ask them 🙂

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