Uga Bay is one of Passikudah's hotel giants, located on a vast property spanning a significant breadth of the town's broad and beautiful beach. It's a five star, so you can expect good food, comfy beds and searing hot showers.
Most Importantly, The Water
White sand, turquoise waters. Passikudah's beaches are almost Maldivian in both colour and temperament. During season the sea resembles a large swimming pool - safe and smooth. You're unlikely to go tumbling through the swirling undercurrents of crashing waves, but you also don't get the thrills of cruising the giant swells. Even if you visit during an off season period, the sea should be swimmable - but make sure you check. Off-season more applies to rainfall here.
The pool is elevated so this is one of the best spots for sea-gazing. The children will have it best with the kiddie pool located at the very tip with a plunging infinity edge.
The main feature here is the sheer amount of space. Compare to the Southern coast where beachside joints knot along the curving bays in tight clusters, in Passikudah you have an enormous playground (almost) all to yourself. You can see up and across to the furthermost tips of sea and sky - the beach to hotel ratio means that even if all the hotels on the bay are at full occupancy, it's still likely to be relatively quiet and peaceful.
The rooms are ordered into small buildings of four - the top rooms are Ocean Studios and the bottom ones are Beach Studios. The Ocean Studios, as you may have guessed, have the better view. The rooms aren't huge, but they're large enough and the balconies (if you're on the second floor) have a good view. Flat screen TV, DVD player, mini fridge - check.
The bathrooms are nice and the showers have good pressure (very important), but our main complaint with regard Uga overall resides here: the shower and toilet are in close proximity to each other and there's no dividing wall/glass between them. A good portion of the floor gets doused when you bathe - a rather inelegant aspect to an otherwise elegant space.
The communal spaces (for dining/chilling) are flanked by narrow pools and fountains of running water, creating gentle, soothing sounds. Everything is open and airy, and unless it's raining this is all very nice. They also have some trendy, unobtrusive music playing lightly (that you might notice on repeat if you stay too long).
Kids might enjoy the domed area near the reception that lights up into an echo of a starry night during the evenings. It's a cool feature, but don't forget to go outside and look at the actual sky as well, which isn't bad for stargazing on a clear night.
Uga Bay doesn't do buffets, so all dining is a la carte even if you're on full board. The food is generally good, although we'd advise steering clear of the Italian options. I was on the receiving end of a rather tough gnocchi and a stodgy risotti.
But besides these two dishes, the rest of our meals were good. The breakfast in particular is excellent and is accompanied by a spectacular tray of miniature morning goodies - a smoothie shot, a dish of oats, a bread basket including pain au chocolat, a lassi-like drink and more. In addition to all this, you get the item you actually chose - in our case Sri Lankan - so it's a mammoth meal. Make sure you're ready for it.
Uga Bay offers the upper end of resort style holidays. You can expect good food, service and a stunning beach. Prices change depending on the season, but you're looking at upwards from Rs. 23,000+ per night.
Fly to Batti if you can. You can sometimes get combo deals for flights plus rooms here.