I found Luca’s Memorial on Booking.com by happenstance really. I heard about there being a turtle sanctuary in a place called Bentota and upon searching found a handful of places near them. Well, as it turns out, Luca’s Memorial is listed as being in Bentota but is actually in Kosgoda – A few Kilometers South.
We took LOTS of pictures of our Turtle Sanctuary visit below.
While Luca’s Memorial is listed as a Hotel, I feel like it’s more of a Bed & Breakfast due to a family running it and the way things are laid out on the property.
We stayed at Luca’s Memorial for 4 Nights, November 18-22nd 2016 for $156.00 USD. We also paid $191 for 3 meals a day for our family of 4.
When we originally booked Luca’s Memorial we realized that we would need a few days to enjoy a pool and crash at our lodging after all our travels and the crazy city in Colombo.
I can’t lie. We fell in love with the look of the pool and…it was near several turtle sanctuaries where you can go and release turtles. How awesome right?
Upon arriving at Luca’s Memorial we were met by Indika’s Staff. They were expecting us.
This is Indika, his family and their staff along with all of us (on our last day with them)
On Booking.com it said that we needed to pay cash upon arrival. When I tried to do so I was told that we pay after. I now know why…the food.
During Monsoon season this is their down time. The place was a ghost town except for us and a handful of other guests on the other side of the property.
That meant, that we had the pool all to ourselves basically. Our room opened to the Pool! Our room was exactly as listed. 2 double beds, air conditioning, a large bathroom with shower and a cool pool.
We couldn’t complain.
As soon as we got our bags off we got into our bathing suits and jumped in the pool. We were also famished.
There had been no tour of the place but we knew there was a ‘restaurant’ because we saw a menu on the front desk. We went and got it and asked if we could order Lunch at the pool.
I can’t lie, the language barrier was an issue. The staff doesn’t speak good English but they do understand it in writing! Boom. We were good to go. Also, they were all very willing and wanting to understand and help and we were also very patient.
One thing that happened is that they like to set up tables with proper place settings. We had just wanted some food to nibble on, nothing where we had to sit at a table. So, Indika’s son (13, who helps out) and an older teen they employ, brought out a table and chairs.
We tried explaining that we didn’t want it but again, that language barrier. We just sat at the table and chose to not eat like pool side savages.
This was my delicious spicy prawn soup.
During our 4 night stay we chatted with Indika a lot.
One thing you might be interested to know is that he manages the property for an investor who lives in another country. The property was much smaller when they purchased it as a vacation home and hired Indika to manage it for them.
He actually convinced them to let him turn it into a Hotel so they could make money back on their investment. They signed all the paperwork and…the work began to expand.
They’ve been so happy with Indika’s efforts that they are expanding some more. Work should be completed by now on some additional rooms.
Shortly before our arrival, Indika and his Wife (Dashari sp?)opened up their ‘restaurant’ on the property. They own and operate it so your payment to them for Meals go to support just their family of 5 – They have 3 kids.
As for the Restaurant, Dashari, is an excellent cook. Everything she makes tastes great and we ordered a lot of different foods. This is the Menu I took copies of so I could track the money we were spending and have easy access to seeing what we wanted as there appeared to be only one menu on the property. Luca’s Memorial Menu
If you want Breakfast for the next day, let them know the night before if you want the Traditional Sri Lankan breakfast or dinner because she needs prep time to prepare as she makes everything fresh.
One day we asked Indika if we could have Dashari prepare us a traditional Sri Lankan meal. We’d had bits of this and that in our 1 week of being in the country but we wanted to expose the kids to a family meal.
I had no idea the price or what she would make but let me tell you…it was fantastic. Our kids still talk about the dessert of Sri Lankan pancakes, coconut and honey. The Fish balls were great as well as everything else that was served. They only charged us 900 Rupees. WOW!
It was a meal that the entire family presented to us and served. We were honored by them all.
One word of caution: When you order, you just tell them what you want.
I was concerned about being able to track our meals properly as I didn’t see any order forms and we didn’t pay at each meal. So, I took pictures of the entire menu and then took notes of what we ate each meal and the pricing. See the menu link above.
We needed to wash some clothes and for only 200 Rupees they let us use their Washing Machine as we also had our own detergent with us. We used their lines to dry everything and they were always so accommodating.
The day we went into Bentota to just see what was there, we were hounded by people trying to sell us things. It was a bit overwhelming so we escaped into this little restaurant – Pizzeria Cafe Del Paradiso in Bentota down a path near a resort. It was covered and a nice break. The pizza was good. Different, but good. We all finally relaxed before finding out way to the main road and the bus.
Over our days there we also shed quite a few of our personal items. A Christmas sweater, Scarf, Curling Iron and some other items. We gave them to Indika to offer his family and staff or to donate what they didn’t want.
The next day we walked into the kitchen to see Dashari curling their front desk manager’s hair. They were SO embarrassed and smiling. We caught them. It was so cute and they had never been able to curl their hair before. We all had a good light hearted laugh about it.
The night before we left Indika drove us to the closest Turtle Sanctuary. The weather had been bad so we knew that they wouldn’t be releasing any turtles that night (We were bummed but understood that the turtles safety was more important than our need to help). There was a small fee to enter and the facility is run entirely on donations and fees from Visitors. They make no profit.
We all learned a lot about Turtles in general and about those who make it to Sri Lanka. We all even got to hold one – well, pick one up really.
When we checked out our Food bill was EXACTLY what I had calculated. I had worried for nothing. So, rest assured that you have nothing to worry about.
Overall, our entire time at Luca’s Memorial was memorable and relaxing. There isn’t much to do in town so bring some games or travel with a car. Indika did drop us off in Bentota one morning and we took the bus home later for 20 Rupees each. There isn’t much to do in Bentota either so if you choose to stay here you will want to stay on the property most of the time as the beaches are a bit more wild in this part of the country. You will be well taken care of at Luca’s Memorial. I highly suggest talking with the family and staff. That is the best part of our travels…meeting people and connecting.
Our time at the Turtle Sanctuary: