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“Dripping with Colonial Elegance, but get a refurbished room”

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Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Ranked #4 of 52 Hotels in Colombo
Certificate of Excellence
New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
326 reviews
154 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 824 helpful votes
“Dripping with Colonial Elegance, but get a refurbished room”
Reviewed April 10, 2011

I stayed for one night in April 2011, travelling on business. My room was refurbished in the Regency Wing, and I have no complaints with the room. I didn't hear the people in the adjoining room (could have been empty). I didn't see the older rooms, but other reviewers say they are decidedly tired. This hotel is in a perfect location, absolute beachfront on the Colombo corniche, right next to a park that packs with kite-flying and wave-jumping locals on weekend evenings. A walk along the park corniche and seawall in the early evening is an event in itself if you want to experience local life. There are also a number of restaurants, bars and other large hotels within a five minute walk along the main road, and also a small modern shopping mall.
The Galle Face Hotel is within the diplomatic area, and is neighbour to the Indian High Commission and US Consulate. There are manned roadblocks on the entry points to the diplomatic area, and armed guards periodically on continuous patrol in the street. Presumably this makes the area safer. I certainly felt perfectly safe.
The hotel is steeped in Colonial elegance, right up there with the Taj Palace in Mumbai, the Oberoi Grand in Kolkata, or Raffles in Singapore. It wraps around a huge palm-tree lined tiered al-fresco dining area down to the sea wall. There is a small sea-front pool built on one end of the seawall, and a tiny little postcard sized section of private beach.
On a balmy warm evening with a light sea breeze and the high tide crashing against the sea wall it has exotic romance in spades, and is definitely one of the nicest places I have drunk a hotel beer in a very long time. I found the waiter service prompt and very friendly. I had an Asian buffet in the Sea Spray restaurant, which was delicious and reasonably well priced at less than US$20. I sat on the deck right on the sea wall, with a hurricane candle lantern. Blissful. Breakfast was in the Verandah restaurant, and the buffet again was good. I know that they also have other restaurants and bars in the back of the hotel (on the main road) but I didn't use them.
I totally recommend this for a romantic exotic stop, but with such a focus on the al-fresco/outdoor area, I imagine the experience could be quite different during the monsoon or when the weather is wet and wild. I would definitely take other reviewers advice about making sure you get a refurbished room, and if you can get a sea-view room, even better.

Room Tip: Alfresco drinks on the lawn at sunset - perfect!
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled on business
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3 Thank Brett M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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toronto
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2011

We looked at four classic rooms before settling on the one we used. They told us that ours had been renovated. It was large with high ceilings. The bath had been redone but not kept clean as indicated by the amount of mould. The furniture appeared as if it was from a liquidation warehouse. We could feel the springs through the matteress. The Verandah Restaurant was not good. We waited for 30 minutes for a sandwich and got it only after a strong complaint. I think they just forgot to put in the order. The sandwich was tough lamb meat. The Breakfast Buffet was good. The Saturday night buffet at the seafood restaurant was very good. The original section of the Galle Face Hotel is in the YMCA category of accomidations. For $140 per night, it just was very poor value. Never Again.

Room Tip: stay elsewhere
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  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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6 Thank twoguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2011

We stayed at this hotel for only one night this week while in Sri Lanka. It was gorgeous. We stayed in the Regency section which has been reburbished. Upon arrival we wer upgraded to a suite, complete with lounge pass for drinks. What a nice surprise. We ate at their buffet twice, and it was very reasonable priced and great selection. The staff was superb- very welcoming and professional. Our room overlooked the ocean and was very well appointed. Thanks for the wonderful stay at your hotel. Loved seeing Prince Philips first vehicle and all the British museum pieces. We moved to another hotel the following night as it was only 10 minutes from the airport and we had an early flight. We booked one of the hotel taxi drivers to escort us around the city for a day. Driving is chaotic there so prudent to let someone else do it.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank leftyKl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Istanbul, Turkey
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 31, 2011

We have stayed here for one night although the hotel needs renovation the stay was satisfactory and we felt like we have made a time travel back to 1920s the hotel is a good example of a nice colonial hotel, since this was my first experience in such an hotel I very much liked it an would recomment it.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank selomania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
oxford
Level 6 Contributor
217 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2011

Stayed in the newer Regency wing but beware if you pick a 'standard' room in this aprt of the hotel as they all have a design fault. Each room has an inter-connecting door with the next door room (for families who want adjoining rooms). These doors have absolutely no sound proofing at all. The result is you hear everything going on from your neighbour - whether it's snoring or their bathroom rituals!
I was offered an alternative room in the older parto fo the hotel but these look like they've not been renovated since the hotel was opened in 1864!
Ity's true that this hotel has the best views in colombo being the only hotel that they've allowed to be built on the sea side of the main Galle road but views aren't everything

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank noahoxford1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anchorage, Alaska
Level 5 Contributor
89 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2011

I stayed here for 3 nights between the Maldives and India. Hotel pick up was easy. The room was nice, minibar and laundry services were cheap. However the great disappointment was the service, either good or very poor. The restaurants at the hotel are mostly buffet, otherwise offer little choice. Wifi is not free and strength varies in hotel (seems strongest on Verandah Bar); make sure to disconnect as it charges by the minute. Come here for the sunset, but if I return to Colombo I'll stay at the Hilton.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank cadence8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
161 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2011

Very disappointed, we were given a 'suite', A/C not working, bathroom mouldy, dirty, no cushions on chairs, staff failed to respond. Last night of our trip, we had looked forward to staying here, supposed to be 4 star, more like 1 star, will definately stay somewhere else next time we're in Colombo.

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank cascboss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Galle Face Hotel Colombo

Property: Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Address: No. 2, Galle Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Western Province > Colombo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 52 Hotels in Colombo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Galle Face Hotel Colombo 5*
Number of rooms: 158
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Presented proudly as Sri Lanka's iconic and historic hotel, Galle Face Hotel is located in heart of Colombo City, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green.The hotel has 158 well-appointed rooms and suites, with some offering excellent views across the Indian ocean and the fascinating view of evening sunset.There are three restaurants, a gym, spa and unique saltwater swimming pool, overlooking the seafront. Guests here will be convenient as the hotel offers close access to many of the business district,historic cultural sites and landmarks in Colombo, as well nearby shopping. The hotel is a 45-60min journey from the airport.Guests seeking a glimpse of Colombo's history will enjoy the charm of The Galle Face Hotel with its unique, unaltered setting since 1864. ... more   less 
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