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 century-old traditional way, beautifully slow ritual 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 an 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 get substantially less rainfall compared to the southern and central parts of Sri Lanka which makes it the perfect place for a beach stop virtually at 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, although guests visit us and have a great time all year round.

4. Are you an environmental friendly hotel?

Environment is at the very heart of our hotel and we try to have the lightest environment footprint possible. This started 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 won water and bottle it in reusable glass bottles on site, our toilet paper is 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 sea view?

There are 9 Palam suites which offer direct beachfront view. Our Kolaya and Seed suites have their own charm with their large private gardens and are 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, very flat in the morning and a bit wavy 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. Also, we do not have a rescue boat but we are connected to the coast guards of 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 in between the rooms, and a large terrace that can accommodate all your family or friends. We can add one single bed in each room upon request, which allows to have 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 some beanbag 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 as nothing replaces nature, but we offer satellite TV with many channels (news, movies, kids, sports…) in our library. We also have a DVD player and can organize TV on demand to watch your favourite movies, subject to availability.

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 salt 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, 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. Can we 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 sipping 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 service at the hotel?

Yes, we provide laundry and ironing service 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. Does all the staff 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 every month. 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 which 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, 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 you the available pieces and arrange delivery in your country. Please ask our staff 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 our Reception is only manned during the night upon request.

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

Yes, subject to availability and your arrival/departure times, so please contact our teams in advance as this is not guaranteed but we will do what we can to entertain your request.

29. What are the payment options available at the hotel

You can either pay in cash (USD, EUR or LKR), use credit cards or online fund transfer to our bank accounts. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Union Pay and Amex.

30. What is your cancellation policy?

Cancellations are not permitted.

31. Are gift vouchers available?

Gift vouchers are available upon request. Please contact our reservation teams will be happy to make various proposals.

Children, elderly and disabled travelers

32. Do you have a kids pool?

Yes, we have a kids pool (length: 11ft, Width: 8 ft, Depth: 1.9 ft)

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

Yes, 3 wooden high chairs are available in the restaurant, we can provide baby cots for free and can arrange nanny service subject to advance notice and availability, please contact us in advance if you need any nanny service

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 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 travelers?

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 wheel chair (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 specialize in fresh seafood, sourced from the nearby fishing harbour and the fishermen on our beach, including lobster, crab, whole fish, squid, shrimps, etc. Our chef prides 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 daily specials which change every day.

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 ourselves at the moment. But in the meantime, you don’t have to worry, you can bring your own liquor; we have plenty of wine/ice buckets at the hotel and the T to go with the G. There is no 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 buffet.

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

Yes, we do offer half board and full board options, which have to be booked at the time of your reservation. Otherwise, guests can order from our A La Carte Menus, with daily specials and our private beach BBQ which is very popular among our guests.

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 organize 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 and 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 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 requirement.

43. Do you offer local fresh produce?

Yes, we mostly use local fresh produce 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 our own coconut trees.

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 organize couple massage session on reservation. Please contact our reservation 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 for our activity booklet. Some activities that we offer are done by ourselves (e.g. culinary discovery), some by third parties (e.g. catamaran, water sports, henne), 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 good base to explore the East Coast. This includes the Tamil culture of the East Coast, its villages, Hindu temples and local markets, the historical 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 main elephant sighting places 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 contributes a lot to the charm of this hidden gem. Therefore, there is 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 transport.

Transportation

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

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

The quickest and easiest (but not the cheapest) way to reach the hotel would be by air with Cinnamon Air (www.cinnamonair.com). The flight from Colombo City or Colombo International Airport takes about an hour and lands in nearby Batticaloa, where we can arrange ground transport for you for 5,000 LKR (30kms from Karpaha Sands, 40mins). This is a superb and recommended scenic flight. We can book for you at preferential rates vs direct bookings with the airline.

Ground transport can also be arranged in a comfortable private AC mini-van to/from Colombo Airport (22,000 LKR one way) or any other destination/pickup point in the country. Transport from Colombo airport to Karpaha Sands usually takes between 5 to 7 hours depending on traffic, hence the hours during which you travel. Travelling very early morning or evening tends to be much quicker, cutting the drive by 2-3 hours typically. Please contact us to arrange transport and get prices for other destinations.

50. Can we access the hotel by car?

Being a hideaway resort, the access road to the hotel is an unpaved road with pits, which is easy to drive with a mini-van or SUV. It may be more difficult at times if you are travelling 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.

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 their lives. Please contact our reservations team for more information.

54. Is the hotel available for wellness retreats?

Yes, you can organize 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 meditation and yoga. 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 mosquito repellents, but these are usually not needed.

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

Yes, 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

57. How 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 around 30 minutes form the hotel, the nearest hospital around 45 minutes away. On request, we can ask for a doctor to visit the hotel.