This review is outdated as Bansei is no longer run by Jetwing. It is now called Coral Rock By Bansei.
Bansei By Hotel J (Jetwing) is a simple Hikkaduwa hotel that offers a good bathroom, strong A/C, clean rooms, reliable Internet and safety for an affordable rate (starting at $60 USD or about Rs. 6500 for Sri Lankans). It's a new type of hotel in that they focus on those things (and a central location) and nothing else. There's no room service and even stuff like shampoo you need to buy downstairs (Rs. 150) or bring. As long as you know what you're getting, it's a good value proposition.
Bansei is built on the site of the what was once Coral Rock by Amaya. The layout of the place is linear, simple and logical.
There's a lobby in the center, a restaurant and then stairs leading to two floors of rooms above. There's a small pool and day beds as well. The beach is swimmable but a bit rough, you may prefer to walk on the road down to the main strip, which takes about five minutes. The hotel is quite close to the bus stand and train station as well. There are also banks and restaurants and stuff nearby.
In Hikkaduwa there's a lot of life on the strip. What we look for in a room is 1) cleanliness 2) bathroom 3) bed 4) Internet. This is what the Hotel J brand focuses on, and it's all good. Everything is clean, the bathroom is good and has excellent water pressure, the A/C works well and the Internet is fast and reliable. Bonuses are a TV with a good amount of channels and a beautiful balcony on the seaside rooms.
We had breakfast there, a nice kiribath and a very spicy fish curry. They have western fare as well. It's not buffet dining, you order a la carte (or at least we did) which is nice. They also do nice juices.
Hikkaduwa is a beautiful beachside town and Bansei is well placed in the middle of it. Above is the view from the hotel itself – boats bobbing in the water as the sun sets.
Bansei isn't directly on the main strip. Depending on season, you can't really walk along the beach from here, you need to go on the road for a little bit and cut it. That's kinda an advantage, though, because you don't get inundated with the noise from beach parties and the like. You can actually sleep here.
The value proposition at Bansei is different – there's no room service or bellhops or the like. If you're aware of that, the service is great. The people working here are very nice and you're generally left alone to go and come. What they do provide is security and any help you might need. For the usual Hikkaduwa experience, this is all you need.
Bansei by Hotel J is part of a new breed of Sri Lankan hotels. It's affordable and focused on sleep, security, cleanliness, connectivity and being in a central location. What it does it does well and it's a new and reliable choice for Hikkaduwa.