The Marriott Weligama Bay & Resort is a brand-new and superbly comfortable hotel on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
After finding out that we booked the wrong dates for our beach resort in Tangalle (haha ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), we ended up at the Marriott Weligama Bay for three amazing nights. It’s Marriott’s flagship property in Sri Lanka, just opened in 2017
This is hands down the best place we stayed at in Sri Lanka (Fast wifi — yes. Super clean — yes! Shampoo — yes!!).
Ok ok, but for real and in more detail, here’s what our three night stay at the Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa was like.
The Lowdown on Marriott Weligama Bay
Great Beach Location
Although traditionally known as a fishing village, Weligama is super popular for folks learning how to surf because of its shallow beach and calm waters. All throughout the day, the bay is littered with surfers riding the calm waves.
In terms of geography, the Marriott Weligama Bay is on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Location-wise, it’s…
- 45 minutes from Galle
- 10 minutes from Mirissa beach (for whale watching)
- 2.5 hours via expressway from Colombo and its airport (CMB).
Great Points Redemption: Marriott Category 3
Surprisingly, this 5 star resort is only a Marriott category 3 hotel with no resort fees on paid or point stays. Pay rates are about $150 – $250 / room before tax. But it’s only 15,000 points / night if you’re looking to use Marriott points.
This is amaaazing value.
Typically Marriott category 3 hotels are like 3 star airport hotels. For example, instead of staying at, let’s say, the Residence Inn Albany Airport hotel, you can stay at the Marriott Weligama Bay, which lets you enjoy a sunset walk on the beach.
Classy Chill Vibe
This is a 5 star hotel without pretentiousness. It’s almost like you’re in one of those classy Miami beach hotels, but minus the fancy cars, the glitzy attire, and the general douchebaggery.
There’s this constant hip Marriott soundtrack going on in the common areas. It makes you feel cool but not too cool.
The type of people that stay here are:
- Mainly couples or small groups from Europe or Russia.
- LOTS of Chinese tourists. They only show up at the buffet though and can’t be found at the pool or beach. Where do they go??
- 30 – 60 age range generally.
- Some kids, not many.
Top-Notch Dining at Weligama Kitchen
Throughout our 10 day Sri Lanka trip, we ate at guesthouses, restaurants, and hole-in-the-wall roadside eats. Although super local, some places were missing the refinement and depth that a chef brings to the table.
That’s where the extraordinary Chef de Cuisine Saurabh Maheshwari at Weligama Kitchen really stepped in with some amazing dishes that he custom made for us.
When was the last time a chef came asked to make you something special outside of the menu? I don’t know what he put in those curries, but these were the best curries we had in Sri Lanka.
We got a lot of special dishes, but Weligama Kitchen features an extensive breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet that will keep anyone happy. Although you can get western style items (waffles, sausage, etc), asian noodles, and standard continental fare, we loved the Sri Lankan spread the best.
Restaurant Manager Akeel Malik (an exceptional host) gave us a tour of all the Sri Lankan specialties, explaining the flavor profiles as well as how to eat each item. Some of our favorites:
Warmest Service at Marriott. Ever.
We’re not regulars at fancy hotels, but the times that we’ve stayed at places like the Ritz-Carlton or Park Hyatt, there’s a certain aloofness when it comes to the service.
Refreshingly, the service at Marriott Weligama is like being a regular at your favorite local restaurant. The service you receive is friendly, warm, and sincere. Maybe it’s the Sri Lankan hospitality that makes it incredibly memorable.
Front Desk Manager Rohit Makhija welcomed us to the property and personally made sure that from start to finish, our stay was amazing (job well done!). Also, every staff member made sure we were not for want. Even the gym attendant would spot you while you’re bench pressing and re-racking your weights!
100% Oceanview Rooms
All 188 rooms (plus some suites) on its 10 floors of guest rooms have sweeping ocean views and a balcony! Whoever designed this place is a genius.
Rooms and suites come in three different types.
- Superior Ocean View
- Luxe Ocean View
- Ocean Vista View
After looking through the Marriott website in detail, my best guess is that Superior rooms/suites are on lower floors, then Luxe Ocean is mid-level floors, and then Ocean Vista are the rooms/suites on the top floor (10th floor).
Luxe Ocean View Highlights
Although we booked the Superior Ocean View, as a Marriott Gold Elite, we were upgraded to the Luxe Ocean View room on the 9th floor (or maybe they just liked my charm, who knows).
A few highlights about this room.
The Marriott Weligama Bay doesn’t skimp on its facilities and amenities. There are two pools, one kiddy slide/pool, multiple dining/bar options, a fitness center, a spa, and daycare. There’s also meeting space too for business events and weddings.
Marriott Gold Elite Benefits
As a Marriott / SPG Gold Elite member, benefits have been mostly hit or miss at other properties. But at the Marriott Weligama Bay, there’s really good recognition for Marriott / SPG elites.
Formally, here are the benefits for Marriott Gold Elites via a letter from the hotel:
The biggest ones IMO are the free and excellent buffet breakfast at Weligama Kitchen, complimentary coffee/booze at Tides Bar, and 15% off food and drink.
If the southern coast of Sri Lanka is in your itinerary, staying at the Marriott Weligama Bay is highly recommended and the best place you’ll stay in Sri Lanka.
Big thanks to all the staff at the Marriott Weligama Bay for bringing a delightful close to our Sri Lanka trip. Special thanks to Chef Saurabh, Chef Saman, Chef Pramesh, Akeel Malik, Rohit Makhija, Sanjeewa, and Jayumuthu.
More photos below —