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.
- 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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