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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles149 reviews
Excellent
98
Very good
31
Average
12
Poor
4
Terrible
4

Saibal S
San Francisco, CA2,260 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Geoffrey Bawa and anything to do with him, has a very revered space in Sri Lanka. I don't think it was worth spending 1000 Sri Lankan Rupees per head and two hours of my time. The tour was crowded and you cannot access or photograph many parts.
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kai Wah
Malaysia2,803 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
This is a very nice place of the well-known Sri Lankan architect named Geoffrey Bawa who was a lawyer turned to an architect, out of interest. His concept of “inside out and outside in” design is interesting which brings the elements of outside the house into the house through some courtyard design which allow himself to enjoy the sunlight/ rain water while inside the house. The entrance fee is LKR1,000 which is rather steep, furthermore many sections are not allowed for photo takings. The interior remains the same as much as the same when he was living in the house with his personal collections and artefacts, including a vintage Rolls-Royce, as explained by the narrator. The experience of visiting this place was less than ideal due to few reasons. First, visitors are expected to adhere to the guided tour timings (10am, 12pm, 2pm & 3.30pm). Second, the congregation area is very small and tight for comfort (where it was about 20 plus visitors during our tour). Introductory program via a small TV which we could not see the TV screen at all as it was blocked by the visitor sitting in front. Lastly, there was an incident that one of the visitor accidentally took picture at a section where photo taking is prohibited. We were surprised by the reaction of the tour guide who raised his voice at the visitor and reprimanded her by saying “DON’T MAKE ME REPEAT FOR THE SECOND TIME!” The visitor apologised with remark “sorry” softly. We were completely appalled by his arrogant remarks and the entire experience made us rather uncomfortable. There were 20 plus of us and most of the time it was hardly to gather all of us at one go, trying hard to listen to what he said since the place is rather small and tight. It would be not too much to ask for if he could remind the visitor with more polite tone. After all, we are paying visitors and there is no need to treat us like criminals (for taking photo at wrongfully). Our final verdict is - we like the place, but not how the way it is organised and administered.
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ECKLKualaLumpur
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia2,408 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Solo
This is an absolute must for all architectural aficionados - to gain access into the inner sanctum of Sri Lanka's pre-eminent and most celebrated architect. It is not dissimilar to a design pilgrimage to Villa Savoye, Falling Waters or Farnsworth House (once private homes designed by other great dead architects). The property is now administered under the Bawa Foundation which charges a nominal 1000 rupees for a 60 minute guided tour. All the information you need to make a appointment is available at this link http://www.geoffreybawa.com/number-11-colombo-residence/introduction.

The online reservations was simple enough. There are in fact several times to choose from but that is not made clear on the website. Finding the house can be a challenge as we found out that there are in fact two 33rd Lanes in the city - one in Colombo 3 (correct one; off Bagatalle Road) and the other in Colombo 6 (wrong). No.11 is in fact within a 20-25 min walk from the Gallery Cafe (Bawa's previous design atelier turned restaurant).

My son & I were the only ones in the noon slot that day so it felt like a private and personalised tour of the house by Ms. Priyanka - the curator manager. As we moved slowly through the house, she explained the fascinating evolution of how the four small original houses were progressively assimilated to become the single large home as we see it today. The insertion of light wells and landscaped courtyards throughout the house were true Bawa trademarks. Some parts of the house are off limits but most of the key spaces are visible with all the decorative items and antiques still intact. The tour culminates with a short but very informative 20-minute video presentation (of Bawa, his life and his key works) in the dining room. An array of postcards and books are available for purchase. Certainly a worthwhile way to spend two hours after or before lunch at the Gallery Cafe.
Written September 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

youngdarrel08
London, UK5 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Couples
Being an architect and being on holiday in Sri Lanka how could I not but experience the king of Asian modern Architecture right ....... Well I had a fabulous experience at Lunuganga where I had a wonderful tour of his magnificent estate followed by a most enjoyable lunch overlooking the river.... I had hoped that I might find the same sense of peace and enjoyment in Colombo at his own home...... how wrong can one be....Having read up on the property on this site and on the Lonely Planet site I was fully prepared for what I had read about the “welcome”I should receive however I had hoped that this might just be an aboration ..... as advised I rang to make a appointment...... it rang out 4times ....I wanted to do the 10am tour..... i finally got through at 945am and was subjected to what I had previously read about .... rudeness and abruptness..... mmm i thought....maybe it was just a busy moment .....I’m sure it will be better when I’m there I thought..... staying just around the corner I arrived at 09:50 ...as advised.... only to be told that I was early and would need to stand outside until 10am ..... it was hot ......bloody hot ...no shade nothing ...... anyway once escorted in I was then met by the lady who proports to be the manager ..... I was told to sit down as there was a movie that’ she was about to show on Bawa....the movie was well made and gave us an insight into Mr Bawa.... amazing man.... at this point Ava Braun...sorry the Manager returned and advised us in no uncertain terms that nothing was to be touched ....parents were told to keep their children under control as this was not a place for children... during this time not a smile was to be seen.... it really did feel like a concentration camp...the abrupt discourse continued throughout the tour and questions were met with a scowl and a very matter of fact answer.... the property is just as I had hoped and I loved seeing so many amazing artefacts throughout this incredible museum like property... however I left feeling sad and actually really quite let down that this incredible person should be shown such disregard by staff who are employed to honour his incredible contribution to this country’s artistic history...... if you really want to visit something different in Sri Lanka go and enjoy what Geoffrey Bawa has created..... but be warned they have security hounds ready to take any enjoyment out of the experience .... I have to say that over my 2week holiday in Sri Lanka I have not had this issue before .... in fact I have to say that the locals are so pleasant and hospitable and I have not found this any where
else in my world travels .... the only let down ....this experience ..... maybe check out other Bawa sites before tackling this one .... check out the Gallery cafe ...or if you’re south check out his property at Benthota .....its amazing
Written March 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tarushin P
Pittsburgh, PA3 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Friends
Firstly when we arrived 15 minutes early for the tour we were very rudely told by the lady who runs the tour that there was no place for us to wait inside. Furthermore be aware that there is no real parking at the residence and no indication of this , if you arrive by car you need to park in the next street. As you enter there is a beautiful vintage car parked in the garage and the current residents personal vehicle parked next to it. Personally if found this a bit tacky and thought the modern car detracted from the overall effect of the space as presented on the tour.

The introductory video gives a good description of the house but offers no insight into the life of Geoffrey Bawa or the overall philosophy and design principles of the house. When led inside the house a description of each area and each point of interest is given and a pamphlet with more information is given to visitors . However , the tour guide was not particularly knowledgeable about the house or the life of Bawa. When asked for more insight the tour guide would simply say 'read the pamphlet'. Bawa possesses the most interesting person collection of paintings and sculptures and it is well worth spending time to appreciate each piece. Be aware that inside were the most interesting artifacts of Bawa's personal collection are housed there are no pictures allowed.

It is ridiculous to run a professional tour with no place for visitors to wait, surely some small waiting area could be provisioned inside ? We were largely ignored by the tour guide and treated as more of a nuisance than a guest. Reading further reviews I see many people have has the same experience. Personally I think the tour has a lot to be desired for in both in the presentation of the tour and the attitude of the tours management. To present the work of Geoffrey Bawa is a privilege and should be treated with respect ,those who present his work should be passionate and well read and versed in his life and work .

However ,having said the above , the work of Geoffrey Bawa speaks for itself and is a definite must for architecture lovers. There is a real sense of lightness and surprise within the house. I would advise visitors to ignore the inadequacy of the tour and the rude staff and simply enjoy the house as it was meant to be enjoyed.
Written January 17, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EHinOz
Woy Woy, Australia866 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Couples
I can imagine this house being absolutely vibrant when Bawa was alive and lived here. Unfortunately, like many houses which are retained as they were, it has gradually lost the vitality and life that only the original occupant could imbue it with. Bawa's townhouse is wonderfully designed and houses a truly impressive number of real treasures collected during the architect's lifetime. It also opens a window on how he chose to live in this busy city. So, if you have an interest in the arts or architecture, the house is certainly worth a visit. It's also worth seeking out some of his architectural triumphs elsewhere Sri Lanka.
Written December 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

1C_1K
Dubai, United Arab Emirates90 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2017 • Family
Visiting this venue with children means you receive non stop reminders about controlling them (although ours are well behaved) before and after you pay for the tickets from one the least friendly people we came across in touring this city. A great pity, as it puts one's visit to this delightful house onto the wrong foot and with an embittered mood.

Pity also that the well meaning and pleasant guides are really just there to accompany visitors, check they don't ransack the place and smile. Having one knowledgeable guide would make all the difference to the visit and maybe bring return visitors. Surely Geoffrey Bawa's memory and his work deserve better than this from the Trust ?

Like many designers Bawa's house reveals an intimate layer to the man, his sensitivity and his enjoyment of spaces, nature and life. This house is a small series of volumes peppered by light wells and windows that frame very pretty views of water, trees, branches etc. In many ways it feels like a refuge from Colombo and its crafted, introspective spaces help shelter from the noise and hustle of the city. Here and there you get a clue as to Bawa's personality and how he enjoyed life in post colonial Sri Lanka.
Bawa's house seems more a project of interior design than architecture; his artefacts, use of materials and furniture are as important as the discreet spaces he inhabited. Keep an eye out for the clues about Bawa, enjoy the casual grace of his eclecticism and wealth of references.
Written July 24, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thomas S
London, UK2 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Friends
Number 11 is certainly worth seeing if you are into modern tropical architecture. The tour gives you a first-hand sense of Bawa's pioneering use of light in the tropics and his ability to maintain a cool temperature without air conditioning. The interiors are well preserved so you also get a sense of Bawa's personal aesthetic as well.

Unfortunately my tour of the house was marred by the rudeness of the guide (Ms Priyanka). The Bawa Trust should not open the house to fee paying guests who are then made to feel unwelcome.
Written January 14, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Go55
Sydney, Australia601 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Couples
You need to ring and book a tour of No 11 which was the city home of Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. This is a unique opportunity to look through Bawa's home and see how he adapted the 4 terrace houses.
Written January 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lizade
Ljubljana, Slovenia164 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Solo
I stayed here for one night, after reading about Bawa's work and visitng some hotels he built while i was here on my previous trips. I am so happy I chose this place. What an experience to stay at this wonderful house. I was the only guest during my stay and had a whole suite to myself. Roof top terrace is a wonderful place to sit and listen to the birds and just relax.
The place is open for visitors, so if you cannot afford to stay here, you can book a tour of the place and you get full access.
The staff at the place are very friendly and I highly recommend the place.
Written November 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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