If you find yourself in the bustling capital city of Colombo and are looking for a charming place to stay for a few nights, and are looking for something a little larger and more anonymous than our previous recommendations of two “boutique hotels“- Park Street and Casa Colombo, then the Galle Face Hotel is our pick. It is easily the most interesting and historical large hotel in the city, and is well worth a stay. Oozing with style and elegance from a bygone era, the Galle Face was built in 1864 during the British colonial era and throughout it’s colorful history has played host to celebrities, literary legends, royalty and leaders from all over the world. Princess Alexandra of Denmark once said:
“The peacefulness and generosity encountered at the Galle Face Hotel cannot be matched”
It’s spectacular seaside location, right by the Indian Ocean, sets the Galle Face apart from the rest, as the hotel’s restaurants and rooms enjoy some of best sea views in Colombo. In the new Regency Wing, for instance, guests can sleep in wonderful “Oceanic Suites“, which have three large windows on all sides and include an in-room jacuzzi.
The hotel has two distinct wings, the Classic Wing, and the Regency Wing, which was just recently renovated. Although the Classic Wing certainly has it’s own old fashioned charm and very low prices (from just $55 for a standard room to $130 for a suite), some guests have complained of the lack of space and that the decor was somewhat tired. We agree!! 🙂 So while the rooms and suites in the Regency Wing, which are newly renovated and much more comfortable, are more expensive- they are definitely preferable and better value for money.
The Galle Face has a lovely poolside terrace, which at night is charmingly lit up- making it the perfect place for sunset cocktails. For dinner, guests have the choice of four venues, for sea views or candlelit dinners, there are the Sea Spray and the Verandah restaurants to try. For a fine dining experience, there is the smart 1864 restaurant, and for drinks pre or post dinner, the paneled Wine Bar is worth a visit to sample their extensive vintages, cheese and cigars.
During the day, the saltwater pool (the largest one of it’s kind in the city) overlooking the sea, is the ideal spot to relax after a busy day’s shopping or sightseeing, as is the Spa, which is a 20,000 square foot space of pure tranquility.
As you enter through its doors a warm sense of well-being will overwhelm you, and the graceful architecture, soothing surroundings, relaxing water elements, traditional timber floors and nature-friendly furnishings complemented by soft calming music will set the ambiance for you to enjoy the ultimate in pampering.
To book a room at Galle Face Hotel, for once we recommend that you contact an agent rather then the hotel directly, as we have found that the hotel rack rates are hugely discounted at companies like Red Dot Tours.