Palm Paradise Cabanas Tangalle is a medium-sized beach and garden resort located a few kms west along the coast from Tangalle. My last visit to Palm Paradise – 19 years previously – was very enjoyable, so I was keen to return.
The highlights I remembered from my first trip were the beautiful cabanas, the family of monkeys that visited us every day and the fabulous beach.
Palm Paradise Cabanas Tangalle
So fast-forward 19 years and we’re back, hopefully for more of the same.
3 weeks earlier I had tried unsuccessfully to book a cabana online – they were fully booked for the dates I wanted. Undeterred, when we arrived in Tangalle we decided to just walk in on the off-chance, to see if there was any availability.
To my surprise, they were able to offer us a cabana for 2 nights, on half-board basis (breakfast and dinner).
The cabanas were just as I remembered, rustic and comfortable, and well-spaced out in a neat and tidy garden complex close to the beach. Security seems to have been beefed up considerably since my last visit – there was even a 24-hour security guard posted in a small structure not far from our cabana.
The need for the security became apparent over the next 2 days. Unfortunately, the monkeys were long gone.
In the reception area, I read a sign which stated that the beach in front of the complex was public: The management were not responsible for the actions of local people on this beach.
In fact, there are a couple of bars on the beach run by locals. Here, you can eat, drink, and rent beds or swimming equipment. It would be easy to associate these bars with the management of Palm Paradise, but this is not the case.
We saw how the staff at these beach bars dispose of their rubbish and old fish: They just dump it onto ever-increasing piles of refuse behind their huts and at the end of the beach. The smell in this area of the beach was nauseating, and of course this drifts across the fence into the area of the Palm Paradise cabanas.
This is such a pity, as the beach is naturally beautiful, and swimming in the waves is amazing.
Time for dinner, then.
The obligatory half-board menu at Palm Paradise offers no choice: On the first evening we were served traditional Sri Lanka rice and curry, de-spiced to European tastes (you could add sambal separately).
The second evening was a beef stew with rice, and the third evening was fish fingers with noodles. Deserts included fruit fritters and bananas & custard.
This kind of fare must be difficult for families with kids, and some of the adult guests were audibly unimpressed. It’s all very unimaginative, cheap and bland.
As has been reported elsewhere, in the evenings loud disco music starts on the beach (courtesy of the local beach bars). This music continues well into the night (whether or not the beach bars have any customers).
This is particularly irritating, and made us suspect there was some kind of vendetta going on between the locals running the beach bars and the Palm Paradise management.
In total, we paid the management 14,000 rupees for our 2 night half-board stay, including beverages and sundries.
On the positive side, the cabanas are solid, stylish and comfortable with close proximity to the picturesque beach. Just make sure you get a cabin further back from the beach if you want to sleep.
The swimming here is good, with a big swell that is great for body-surfing
After another couple of days in Tangalle, we were heading west along the coast to the small town of Unawatuna.
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