Experience

FAQ

 

About Karpaha Sands

1. What makes Karpaha Sands Special?

Karpaha Sands is a luxury boutique hotel offering guests a unique ‘glamping’ experience on Sri Lanka’s most stunning beach, in private luxury tents and within tranquil and green surroundings. Nestled in an old coconut plantation, Karpaha Sands exudes a cool and arty vibe with an emphasis on nature, local produce, sustainability, a light environmental footprint and supporting the local community. Our goal is to offer our guests an amazing experience of a hidden paradise in the heart of pristine Kalkudah Bay, with all the privileges and high standards of a luxury hotel but the authenticity, intimacy and uniqueness of a boutique hotel. We are the only hotel on the 15km long Kalkudah Beach, secluded in the middle of virgin greenery. Fishing communities come every day to cast their nets and haul their catch in front of the hotel in a centuries-old tradition which will amaze you. We are blessed with blissful pink and orange sunrises, which will fulfill you for the entire day.

2. How does your hotel compare with hotels in Passikudah?

Since 2019, just over a year after we opened, we have been rated the #1 Hotel in Passikudah / Kalkudah by Trip Advisor, and ranked one of the best hotels in Asia by The Telegraph. We consistently have the highest rankings with Google, Booking.com, etc.

With extensive and pristine land, a small number of tents and being the only hotel on Kalkudah beach, the beach adjacent to Passikudah beach, we are a luxury boutique hotel and offer intimacy, luxury, space, nature, art pieces scattered around the property, exquisite designs and decoration, and a peaceful atmosphere that is unique in the area.

In comparison, Passikudah has been developed by the Sri Lankan government as a cluster of high density hotels over smaller pieces of land, next to each other and with heavier/concrete structures.

3. When is the best time to visit Karpaha Sands?

We are located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and receive substantially less rainfall compared to the southern and central parts of the country, making it the perfect beach stop virtually any time of the year. Most of the year is sunny with little rainfall. Although varying every year, the heaviest monsoon typically falls in/around November. Typically, when it rains, there are short bursts of rain followed by clear skies. The seas are the calmest and the skies the bluest during the months of May – September but guests visit us year-round. To view idyllic East Coast weather any time of the day and to see sunshine, blue skies and turquoise waters all year round, visit www.myearthcam.com/karpahasandshotel?embed to view our active live beach webcam, the first of its kind offered at a Sri Lanka hotel.

4. Are you an environmental friendly hotel?

Environment is at the very heart of our hotel and we try to have the lightest environmental footprint possible. This starts with our design, using luxury tents and natural materials, mainly wood and natural stone, and preserving the pristine vegetation around us. We also recycle waste, have our own water treatment plant, do not use plastic straws, use paper bags wherever possible, treat our own water and bottle it in reusable glass bottles on site, use toilet paper made of sugar cane residue, and we print our menus on recycled elephant dung paper. We use local products and hire local employees as much as possible.

5. How many beachfront suites do you have with a sea view?

There are 9 Palam suites which offer a direct beachfront view. Our Kolaya and Seed suites have their own charm with large private gardens and are only a few steps away from the beach.

6. Is the sea safe to swim?

Yes, most of the time, the sea is safe to swim and much calmer than in the south and west coasts of Sri Lanka. The water is very flat in the morning with a few waves in the afternoon when there is a bit more wind. During monsoon season, there can be more waves and some under currents, to which you have to pay attention. We do not have lifeguards on duty by the pool or on the beach, and swimming is at your own risk. We do not have a rescue boat but are connected to the coast guard in the area.

7. What is the local wildlife?

The area around the resort is secluded and jungle-like, hence a haven for wildlife. We share the area with white and brown frogs, squirrels, Indian star tortoises, a few snakes, cows, and more. Bird life is also abundant, with fish eagles regularly soaring overhead and yellow-billed babblers moving throughout the flora. The ocean is home to whales, whale sharks, porcupine fish and hermit crabs, as well as a plethora of other species. Please take care of the wildlife by admiring the resident animals without disturbing them.

8. Do you have any family suites?

We have two family suites called “Seed suites”, which offer two bedrooms, each with their own indoor and outdoor bathrooms, as well as a living room connecting the bedrooms, and a large terrace that can accommodate all of your family or friends. We can add one single bed in each room upon request, allowing for an occupancy of up to 6 guests (maximum 5 adults).

The suites

9. Are all your suites equipped with air-conditioning?

All our suites are equipped with air-conditioning to ensure a pleasant temperature at all times, and also offer a fan in the bedroom and on the outdoor terrace.

10. Do all suites have a private outdoor terrace/deck?

All our suites have a private outdoor terrace, made of a wooden sun deck, partly shaded by the tent and partly under the sun. Each sun deck has a table and two comfortable chairs (Kolaya and Palam suites), or a large family table and 6 chairs for the Seed Suites. Each suite is also equipped with two sun loungers and beanbags to sun tan, read, etc.

11. Do you offer king-size beds and can I change the bed arrangement?

All the beds in our Palam and Kolaya suites are king-size beds. Seed suites typically offer one king-size bed in one bedroom and two twin beds in the other bedroom. Bed arrangements may be changed to twin beds or king-size beds upon request, subject to availability of single beds. We also offer roll-away single beds for extra guests, subject to availability and notice at the time of booking.

12. Do you have TV in the suites?

We don’t have TV’s in the suites, but we offer satellite TV with many channels in our library. We also have a DVD player and can organise TV on demand to watch your favourite movies, subject to availability.

If you’d like to enjoy a film in style, our Cinema Under the Stars activity is a must—we will be happy to set up a private cinema experience on the sand including a bucket of popcorn, for you to enjoy your favourite film.

13. Do you provide bottled water in the suites?

We provide glass bottles of water in the suites which you can keep in your private fridge for fresh water. Maintenance comes by twice a day to restock the drinks.

14. Does each suite have a bathtub and outdoor shower?

All our suites have a large free-standing bathtub indoors, and an amazing rubble stone outdoor shower. We provide cinnamon, turmeric and clove-scented shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, bath salts and other amenities for a unique bathing experience.

15. Is there a safe and mini-fridge in the suites?

Yes, there is a safe and a mini-fridge in each suite.

16. Can we smoke inside the suites?

Smoking inside the suites is not allowed, but you can smoke outside the suites.

17. Are there curtains to sleep well after sunrise?

Yes, our tents are made of the highest quality fabrics and we use black-out curtains to ensure you can sleep as long as you want.

18. Do you have free Wi-Fi?

We provide all guests with a mobile phone which is set up via “hotspot” to provide you with complimentary Wi-Fi everywhere you go, at the pool, on the beach, etc.

Facilities and services

19. What common areas are there in the hotel?

There is a long infinity swimming pool with a large sundeck, sun loungers, day beds, etc.; an air-conditioned library with a game area, books about Sri Lanka, art, travel, etc, i-Macs, and satellite TV; an elevated restaurant with unmatched views of the turquoise seas; a unique lounge and bar right on the beachfront; a spa with two pavilions for treatments; and a reception area.

20. Is it possible to swim lengths in your swimming pool?

Yes, our infinity pool is right on the beach, 30 meters long by 9 meters and our guests enjoy swimming laps in the pool as much as soaking in the breathtaking views.

21. Do you offer free parking?

Yes, we provide free outdoor parking on our premises.

22. Are pets allowed in the hotel?

No, pets are not allowed.

23. Do you offer laundry and ironing services at the hotel?

Yes, we provide laundry and ironing services at the hotel.

24. Do you have a gift shop at the hotel?

We have a small shop on the far side of the restaurant. Please ask our staff if you wish to take a souvenir home for yourself or your loved ones. Reception oversees our gift shop and will come swiftly. We also have a tea corner in our restaurant where you can find a few Sri Lankan teas, as well as many natural herbal teas handpicked by our founders during their travels.

25. Do all staff members speak English?

We are proudly employing first and foremost members of the surrounding communities and training them on the job. Despite some limitations regarding English language abilities, our staff have a fantastic attitude and sense of enthusiasm, are eager to learn and progress and are improving constantly. Please bear with us, and do not hesitate to explain and help train our staff with us. If needed, please seek the help of senior staff members who usually have a better command of English.

26. Where are your artists from and can I buy the art pieces that are in the hotel?

Our resort has been conceived as a nest to showcase and nurture local artists. We have been working with emerging Sri Lankan artists and a few artists around the globe (France, South Africa, and Thailand to name a few) by displaying sculptures, paintings, mixed media and other works of art for you to discover, indoor and outdoors around the property. You can even leave with your favourite piece from artists we represent, as a number of pieces are available for purchase. For other artists, we can arrange to send and deliver the available pieces to your home. Please ask management should you be interested.

Practicalities, Reservations and Check-in/Check-out

27. Do you provide 24-hour check-in?

Yes, however please contact our teams to give advance notice if you arrive late at night or early in the morning as the reception desk is only manned during the night upon request.

28. Are late check-out and early check-in available?

Early check in after 9am and late check out until 4pm is allowed free of charge, subject to availability. Checking in before 9am and checking out after 4pm will incur a fee. Please let us know in advance if you will require early check in and late check out and we will do our best to entertain your request.

29. What are the payment options available at the time of booking and at the hotel?

At the time of booking, we accept online payment with foreign credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Union Pay and Amex) and international bank transfers (including WISE transfers) in USD and via bank transfer, local credit cards or deposit in LKR for residents of Sri Lanka. At the hotel, we accept cash payments in LKR, USD or EUR and payments by local and foreign credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Union Pay and Amex).

30. What is your payment and cancellation policy?

Full payment is due at the time of booking. Our cancellation policies may change from time to time and may vary from booking to booking and depending on the period of your stay, please always refer to the your booking confirmation for the cancellation policy referring to your booking.

31. Are gift vouchers available?

Gift vouchers are available upon request. Please contact our reservations team who will be happy to make various proposals.

Children, elderly and disabled travelers

32. Do you have a children’s pool?

Yes, we have a children’s pool (Length: 11ft, Width: 8 ft, Depth: 1.9 ft).

33. Do you have high chairs, baby cots and nanny services for children?

Yes, 3 wooden high chairs are available in the restaurant, we can provide baby cots for free and can arrange nanny services subject to advance notice and availability; please contact our reservations team in advance if you require nanny services.

34. Do you have specific indoor and outdoor activities or games/toys for kids?

Yes, we offer several activities for children. The air-conditioned library is often used as a playroom/relaxation room by families/children with various kids games, board games as well as a TV and books. We also provide beach and water toys, body-boards, rackets, floaters, etc by the pool for playing in the water or on the beach. In addition, we offer some activities that can be particularly fun for children such as excursions and water activities.

35. Does this hotel cater to elderly or disabled travellers?

One of our Palam suites has been designed for wheelchair users. We also have two electric buggies to drive guests who wish to be driven and may be used by wheelchair users as pathways are generally sandy, although most guests usually walk around the property. The restaurant and library are not accessible by wheelchair (they are on an upper floor and accessed via stairs) but meals can be taken in the lounge or on the terrace of your suite.

Food & Beverage

36. How many restaurants do you have and what type of food do you serve?

We have one restaurant at the hotel, on an elevated floor with sweeping sea views, which offers Sri Lankan dishes as well as Asian and Western classics. Our restaurant is open from 7am to 10pm. We specialise in fresh seafood, sourced from the nearby fishing harbour and the fishermen on our beach, including lobster, crab, whole fish, squid, shrimp, etc. Our Chef takes pride in designing innovative dishes, mixing Sri Lankan and Western influences and adding unique twists to his menu. We have a permanent a-la-carte menu as well as a number of changing specials.

37. Do you offer liquor on-site?

We are in the process of obtaining our liquor license and hence are not able to offer liquor on-site at the moment. But in the meantime, you don’t have to worry, you can bring your own liquor, or we can help you purchase it when you arrive, but please know that the small local shop doesn’t have a large selection. We have plenty of mixers and ice buckets at the hotel and do not charge a corkage fee.

38. Do you offer A La Carte or Buffet?

As a luxury boutique hotel, we offer fine dining with Sri Lankan, Asian & international dishes, and offer service A L’Assiette based on A La Carte menus and daily specials. We do not offer a buffet.

39. Do you offer Half Board and Full Board options?

At the moment we are not offering Half Board or Full Board options. For lunches, dinners and snacks, guests can order from our A La Carte menus. Be sure to try our private beach BBQ, very popular among our guests; let me know if you would like to book this in advance.

40. Do you offer private dining on the beach?

Yes, absolutely, this is one of the highlights of a stay at Karpaha Sands and all our guests rave about it! We organise private barbecues in the sand under the stars in a romantic and private setting, in front of your Palam suite, in the garden of your Kolaya or Seed suites, or right on the beach. This has consistently been a guest favourite and a must-try.

41. Do you offer room service?

Yes, all dishes on our menu as well as your breakfast can be ordered and enjoyed in the privacy of your suite or on your terrace.

42. Do you offer vegetarian, vegan & gluten-free options?

Yes, we have a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free A La Carte menu. Feel free to contact our reservations team to get an overview of the menus and to inform our team in advance of any dietary requirements.

43. Do you offer local fresh produce?

Yes, we use local fresh produce whenever possible for our restaurant. We source fresh seafood from the nearby fishing harbour and the fishermen on our beach, and often purchase our vegetables and fruits from the local villages and markets.

44. Do you offer fresh coconuts?

As a hotel built on a decades-old coconut plantation with magnificent coconut trees, we offer fresh young coconuts, most of which are grown on site.

Spa and Activities

45. What is your Spa offering?

Our Shanthi Ayurveda Spa offers soothing and rejuvenating traditional Ayurvedic treatments and massages given by our expert Ayurvedic therapists in two open-air private ambalamas. This includes treatments such as Abhyanga, hot stone massages, herbal compresses massages and Shirodhara to name a few. It is possible to organise a couples massage session on reservation. Please contact our reservations team to see our spa menu and the different treatments.

46. What are some of the activities available at the hotel?

There are plenty of activities and excursions to do at the hotel or in the area, on your own or through the hotel. Please ask our reservations team to see our activity booklet. Some activities on offer are organised by us (e.g. Culinary Discovery), some by third parties (e.g. catamaran cruise, water sports, henna painting); some are available throughout the year while others are only available in high season (summer). We also offer bicycles which you can use at your leisure.

47. Can I do cultural day trips or excursions from Karpaha Sands?

Yes, Karpaha Sands is a great base to explore the East Coast. This includes the Tamil culture of the East Coast, its villages, Hindu temples and local markets, the historic towns of Batticaloa and Trincomalee and the surrounding lagoons, the Gal Oya and Maduru Oya National Parks, or the Unesco World Heritage ancient capital of Polonnaruwa which can be combined with the Minneriya National Park, one of the best locations for elephant sightings in the country. All good reasons to extend your stay at Karpaha Sands.

48. Are there nearby restaurants and bars?

Karpaha Sands is the only hotel located on Kalkudah beach, which greatly contributes to the charm of this hidden gem. Therefore, there are no outside restaurants, pubs, watersports centres or any other commercial establishment next door. However, you will find additional options at the nearby Passikudah beach where there is a cluster of hotels, just 10 km / 20 minutes away, if required. We can arrange a taxi or tuk tuk ride if you do not have your own means of transport.

Transportation

49. What is the best way to reach Karpaha Sands?

You will find the necessary details to reach us on our website under the “Reach” section (www.karpahasands.com/reach)

We are happy to arrange a comfortable private AC minivan to and from Colombo Airport or any other destination/pickup point in the country. Please contact us to arrange transport and receive prices for other destinations in Sri Lanka.

Transport from Colombo airport to Karpaha Sands usually takes between 4 to 6 hours depending on traffic and time of the day. Traveling in the early morning or late evening tends to be much quicker, cutting the drive by 2-3 hours typically.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cinnamon Air is currently not operating and therefore the best way to come to Karpaha Sands is currently by ground transport.

50. Can we access the hotel by car?

It is possible to drive to Karpaha Sands from anywhere in the country. Being a hideaway resort, the access road to the hotel is a bumpy unpaved road, which is easy to drive with a mini-van or SUV. It may be more difficult at times if you are traveling in a sedan car with low ground clearance especially during the rainy season. In that case, we will arrange a free shuttle service from the main road to the hotel with the car parked securely at the start of the unpaved road. Please let us know in advance if you will be requiring this service.

51. Do you provide accommodation for chauffeur tourist guides?

Yes, we do on a complimentary basis, although this is subject to availability and requires advance notice/booking with our reservations team, especially in high season. Drivers are typically provided with meals and tea, and shared accommodation in dedicated driver quarters.

52. Can you arrange for helicopter or private air charter transfers?

Yes, we can. Please contact our reservations team for further information.

Weddings and wellness retreats

53. Is the hotel available for Destination Weddings?

Yes, we do host fabulous Destination Weddings that will leave you and your loved ones with some of the best memories of your lives. Please contact our reservations team for more information.

54. Is the hotel available for wellness retreats?

Yes, you can organise retreats in collaboration with the hotel. Currently, we do not have a specific structure (Shala) for yoga or meditation. But there are quiet spaces available in the hotel garden and on the beach, which are ideal for wellness activities. We also have an Ayurveda wellness spa with two pavilions. We are planning to introduce our own Ayurveda & Yoga wellness retreats later this year.

Health and safety

55. Are there mosquitoes at the hotel?

Being in the dry zone, there are very few mosquitoes. Upon request and subject to availability, we can provide mosquito nets and repellents, but these are usually not needed.

56. Do you have 24-hour security at the hotel?

We have 24-hour security and CCTV at the hotel. Security guards control and secure the different entrances of the hotel and do regular rounds at night, however the area is very safe and peaceful.

57. What is the best way to stay protected from the dangers of the sun?

The sun is strong on the East Coast, particularly in the summer months, so wear plenty of sun cream, and be mindful of how much time you spend in direct sunlight. For children and those with sun-sensitive skin, early mornings or late afternoons are best. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or coconut water.

58. Do you have an AED and how far is the nearest doctor?

We do not have any AED at the moment. The nearest doctor is about a 30 minute drive from the hotel, and the nearest hospital is about 45 minutes away. On request, we can ask for a doctor to visit the hotel.