“Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, The Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green.” Galle Face Hotel
The five-star Galle Face Hotel is a majestic, colonial building that sits in a prime location in the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city. It opened in 1864, the first hotel built in Sri Lanka (oldest in Asia), and while it retains many of its original features the property benefitted from an extensive renovation in 2015 to preserve its heritage and grandeur.
The 156 guest rooms and suites are spread across the two wings of the huge property. We upgraded from a superior room to a junior suite on the fourth floor that faced the gardens and the sea. The spacious room had a large comfortable bed, sofa, dining area, desk and ensuite bathroom. The elegant interior was furnished with traditional dark wood complimented by an oversized colourful rug and patterned textiles. Unfortunately the bathroom had a terrible smell of drains/sewage that penetrated the whole space, we mentioned it to reception but the situation was not rectified throughout our stay.
The hotel has six restaurants and bars offering a variety of cuisine. Breakfast is served daily on the large outdoor terrace of The Verandah restaurant, an extensive buffet with traditional Sri Lankan cuisine served alongside international dishes and a live egg station. 1864 Restaurant offers contemporary a la carte cuisine served in a sophisticated setting. The Travellers’ Bar, whose walls are adorned with photographs of famous celebrity visitors, offered complimentary tea, coffee and cookies throughout the day and a daily happy hour with complimentary drinks and canapés.
Travel to Havana at the upbeat King of the Mambo bar and restaurant, a popular upbeat venue with an outdoor terrace, live Cuban band and an extensive drinks menu, definitely the place for sundowners. Hearty pub grub is on the menu at the In.. On The Green, a gastropub located on one side of the hotel. Drinks and snacks are also available at the Pool Bar & Terrace
The Galle Face Hotel Spa by L’Occitane offers a small selection of affordable treatments. We sampled a 60-minute signature massage and a 90-minute deep tissue massage that were both relaxing and good value. There’s also a fitness centre and outdoor saltwater swimming pool with plenty of sun loungers and fabulous views across the Indian Ocean. Additional facilities include a library, hotel museum and the Galle Face Historian, croquet lawn, giant garden chess board and a ballroom that is a popular venue for weddings. The nightly flag lowering ceremony performed at sunset is accompanied by bagpipes.
Staying at the Galle Face Hotel is like stepping back into Sri Lanka’s colonial past with all the character of a bygone era. This grand old dame is a little creaky and tired in some areas, service was a bit hit and miss and we were very disappointed with the problems in our room especially as we paid extra to upgrade. The hotel’s central location and the King of the Mambo bar were the highlights of our stay.
The Nitty Gritty
Galle Face Hotel, 2 Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka
Telephone: +94 (0) 11 254 1010
Check-out: 12 noon
Large, comfortable bed
Complimentary tea, coffee and cookies in The Travellers’ Bar
Daily Happy Hour with complimentary drinks and food in The Travellers’ Bar
King of the Mambo bar
The Not so Good…..
Tired decor in some places especially the corridors
Dreadful smell of drains/sewage in our room
Hit and miss service
Read more about Sri Lanka in my previous posts HERE
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2020. All rights reserved. Additional King of the Mambo photos used with courtesy of www.instagram.com/gallefacehotel/