I always seek smaller, boutique hotels (child-unfriendly whenever possible) when traveling for leisure. My husband and I were using Colombo as a transit stopover on the way to the Maldives so we didn’t want to venture out of Colombo nor spend a vast amount for a relatively nearby seaside resort. The website for the hotel looked wonderfully eclectic, romantic and kitsch. It did not disappoint.
Our flight arrived near midnight and we had the hotel arrange a car pick-up. As we were not familiar with the Colombo airport, we didn’t want to risk searching for a legal taxi at night, but they were plentiful and safe so we should not have bothered to pay twice the regular fare reserving via the hotel. This was probably one of our only two regrets during our entire stay at the hotel. (See para below for 2nd regret).
We read in Trip Adviser reviews that the hotel doesn’t serve alcohol, so we brought along our own bottle of vodka. Arrun brought us ice right away and we had our own welcome drink in this stunning room.
Arrun, who was an amazing butler/concierge/go-to-guy during our 3-night stay, was waiting for us at 1am. We were whisked to our stunning suite on the ground floor and Arrun told us to contact him by phone if we needed anything. Instinct told me to ask for a suite on a higher floor, as I am an extremely light sleeper, but I didn’t want to make a fuss. The room was just beautiful and a great joy to stay in. Beautiful décor, high ceilings, snuggle-worthy duvet/sheets/pillows, ipod dock, swiveling t.v., copper-covered bathtub, etc. etc. Fun!
However, I was woken up about 5am by the staff sweeping outside and preparing the hotel for the coming day….our room opened up on one side to the pool and the other to a lounging area. Arrun happened to already be outside (I wonder if he ever sleeps…) when I left the room to peruse the scene, he wanted to know why I was up so early. When I explained I was a light sleeper, they immediately asked us to switch rooms upstairs, which we did, to an equally fantastic suite, and the rest of our time was bliss. We actually spent a good amount of time in the room as it was so inviting (and we had a lot of work to do on the internet…very fast and we were pleased that there was wireless throughout the hotel).
Breakfasts were ample (and Western/Sir Lankan/Asian choices were available) and it was so relaxing to sit on the verandah under the fans (which we did at various times throughout the day with tea/coffee and reading). We did not dine in the hotel either evening and asked Arrun to suggest restaurants for us…he has a canny perception of what his guests want and the Gallery Café he suggested was perfect for our first evening….amazing fresh/organic fusion cuisine served in a romantic former-warehouse setting. The second night we ate at the convenient Hilton’s outdoor restaurant as we were too lazy to be adventurous (too much food for us but the manager was really kind as he saw that we only ate a small amount of the tasty, huge buffet offerings and charged us only for one person….). Great suggestions Arrun!
We hired the local version of a tuk-tuk for a few hours on our first day. Arrun suggested a man named Ranghit, who we highly recommend. He took us to all the major sites/sights, including the national museum (well worth it if you enjoy Buddhist sculpture), Liberty Square, etc. At Liberty Square we were approached by an older gentleman who said he was a retired college professor and insisted on taking us on a quick tour of the site. We didn’t have the heart to say no but Ranghit was wary and followed quietly behind us to make sure we were safe (we were very grateful for this kindness). The little “tour” was actually very good and we gave the man a nice tip.
Do be sure to skip the tourist handicraft stores….Ranghit took us to two stores “specializing” in national handicrafts and they were archaic; e.g. one can only imagine how old the teas on the shelves were. Luckily, Ranghit guessed we were looking for something a little more upscale and then took us to the store called Paradise Road (on Paradise Road) and it was just fantastic. Even my less-than-shopping-patient husband was enthralled…gadgets and doodads and wonderful handmade local products/décor galore. Another store, Barefoot, offered a wide selection of handmade products/clothing/cloth/linen/toys, etc., along with a delightful little café.
The second day we just vegetated at the adorable little pool as we caught up on our reading (and sleep). We used one of the cabanas for about 8 hours, had a light lunch served to us by Arrun, who also kept our thirst quenched throughout the day with icy tea/lemon. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect city hotel.
Light sleeper? Second floor room.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.