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“Avoid. Terrible and poor value”

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Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Ranked #4 of 51 Hotels in Colombo
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Avoid. Terrible and poor value”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2011

The Good. Lovely building, good swimming pool, lovely old style restaurant. That is it. This hotel is trading on past history and some decent design. At $140 it represent dreadful value. The food was cold, half cooked and awful. The buffet is the preferred option for visitors as it means the waiters don't need to do their job. The waiters are poorly trained and one even walked away from my colleague as he tried to ask him for some water (by the way, when the water did arrive it was tap water. Guess within how many hours we both experienced stomach problems!).

The rooms are oldish, and the ensuites musty with no ventilation. Mould starting to appear. With the exeception of two members of staff, everything staff member found a procedural reason to make things more difficult (a $50 fine threatened if we did not bring the key back to reception once checked out (we left it in the room for house cleaning). Small details all combined to provide a poor impression. Nothing was smooth. Go to the Hilton for the same price.. it will just work a lot better, although the architecture will not be as good.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank A P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Bluffton, South Carolina
Level Contributor
98 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2011

We stayed here on the last night of our 9 day trip in Sri Lanka. My review will be short because we arrived at night and left the following morning.

We were honeymooners so they put us in an awesome suite...we were told one of the best rooms in the house. Our room was huge with a large bathroom as well as a beautiful terrace overlooking the ocean with a private jacuzzi. We could hear the ocean waves in our room which was very nice to go to sleep to. We were also greeted with a lovely fruit platter and bottle of wine in our room when we arrived.

The room is old colonial style...big wood furniture, poster bed, and large chairs. Not particularly what I like since I prefer things more contemporary. But it was beautiful and historic if you like that style. The beds were slightly hard for my taste but I found this to be the case in almost every hotel we stayed at in Sri Lanka. The bathroom was nice - large jacuzzi tub and rain shower with decent water pressure.

Food - as part of our stay, we paid for half board (breakfast and dinner) but because we arrived so late, dinner was finished in the restaurant. Our guide arranged for us to have room service delivered instead to be included in our half board which was very nice and accommodating. The food was delivered timely and pretty good. The buffet breakfast the next morning was a great spread.

This is a good stay if you need to be in Colombo. As for price, the room was rolled up into our entire package so I'm not sure of the exact price but I think it was a little over $300 for the night. While this might seem slightly on the higher end in Sri Lanka, an average ocean view room with private jacuzzi, outdoor shower and lounge chairs on your own terrace in the US would surely be much more. So we were fine with the price and thought it was a good value considering...

Colombo was really just our launching ground to visit other places in Sri Lanka - I wouldn't go there again for more than a day or so.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AP_Phoenix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jason c, General Manager at Galle Face Hotel Colombo, responded to this review, November 7, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we at the historic Galle Face Hotel take great pride in our hotel and find your comments very pleasing.

We take constructive criticism Good or Bad very positively in order to improve our service standards of all areas of the Hotel, and your feedback will help us immensely.


Once again thank you for your review, it is very much appreciated.

“Stop and look at the View”

GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andalucia
Level Contributor
37 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2011

Really beautiful building. I stayed at the new wing, I guess the old wing need a bit of maintenance. The communal areas are great, the location of the swimming pool was gorgeous.
The worst thing was checking in. It lasted more than 1 hour. Really slow.

The food was so so, not as good as you could expect in a place like this

A classic!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Esther844
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jason c, General Manager at Galle Face Hotel Colombo, responded to this review, November 7, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we at the historic Galle Face Hotel take great pride in our hotel and find your comments very pleasing.

We take constructive criticism Good or Bad very positively in order to improve our service standards of all areas of the Hotel, and your feedback will help us immensely.


Once again thank you for your review, it is very much appreciated.

“Stop and look at the View”

GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Hartford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
100 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2011

I had been to the Galle Face hotel earlier and loved the old colonial building and the feel of the sea spray over a few drinks, so I booked us into the Galle Face hotel for a night during our Srilanka trip. It is a lovely old building and the its location unparalleled. The charming old Lifts and lobby (new carpeting required to get rid of the dust and musty smell!!) are wonderful and allows you to enjoy the ambience. The service at the reception and restaurants were excellent - our waiter actually remembered us and served us teh next morning as well and this is not easy especially since its not a small exclusive hotel. It has people and families crawling out of the woodwork!!!

We were given a room on second floor and it was a nice and spacious room and we fortunately had a lovely view of the green and the ocean beyond. With window open you can relax to the sound of the sea.

The downside of this blissful experience was our room - for a hotel that would be on par with a 5 star hotel in India from both room rates and facilities, the rooms leave a lot to be desired. The sheets were clean but look like they have seen better days! The wooden floor looked so worn, unpolished and dirty you wouldn't want to pad barefoot around the room. I don't believe they have kept with the developments in the latest television models either. The bathrooms were old and low on maintenance. Clean but stubborn stains inside the bathtub didn't make it inviting at all. New comfortable mattresses are in order to!

As critical as that sounds, I guess i went their with high expectations given its exterior charm and their surroundings (that did not let me down at all) but the rooms were very disappointing especially for the price one pays for it. The hotel has tremendous potential to engage a professional to refurbish the rooms. Having said that, I would not want to take away from the efficient staff, pulse of the local weddings and location. Not a place I may stay at again but would definitely visit their sea spray restaurant area.

Room Tip: Get a room with a view, it takes away from rooms yet to be renovated or refurbished!
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank harrrypot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jason c, General Manager at Galle Face Hotel Colombo, responded to this review, November 7, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we at the historic Galle Face Hotel takes great pride in our hotel.

We take constructive criticism Good or Bad very positively in order to improve our service standards of all areas of the Hotel, and your feedback will help us immensely.


Once again thank you for your review, it is very much appreciated.

“Stop and look at the View”

GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Munich
Level Contributor
38 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2011

Long story short: not worth the price.

Don't even think about getting a room in the old wing, as everything there is ancient, broken down, and the bathroom were quite frankly disgusting. Rooms in the new wing, on the other hand, were really quite lovely, not particularly spacious but well kept.

The breakfast spread was quite good (not as good as that at Mt. Lavinia hotel, though) and the service depended on who you got.

Had the price been somewhat lower, perhaps the stay would not have bothered me as much. As it was, I felt like I had spent far too much money for what we got.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank munichgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bali, Indonesia
Level Contributor
101 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 24, 2011

We stayed in the old wing in a corner room that had a wonderful view of the Galle Face Green and that was the saving grace of our stay. The staff are mostly very nice, and the lobby gives you a wonderful feeling for the history of the hotel and Colombo. There are weddings and special events every day and it's fun to hang out in the lobby even if just to gawk at the splendid saris and finery. In the evenings you are likely to glimpse some of the Kandyan dancers all dressed up as well.
The room itself was huge, with nice old wooden floors, but sadly here is not enough furniture to fill out the room, eg no sofa, and the little tv is on a plywood stand. Incidently, there is supposed to be CNN and probably Star World and Discovery Channel, plus local channels, but our TV never worked well enough to watch much. If you are going to be out and about discovering this amazing city it won't make or break your stay, however. Just be prepared for the peeling paint and grotty bathtub and pretend you are living at the turn of the 20th century, not the 21st.

Any problems with transportation is easily solved by calling Kangaroo Kabs and they will be there within probably 5 minutes or less. (buy a cheap sim card and make local calls yourself)

The hotel is also across the street from Cuscat Center, a small shopping mall with a Keels supermarket as well as shops and a food court, so it's very convenient to wander across the street for snacks and meals if you don't want to eat at the hotel.

For my next trip to Sri Lanka I probably wouldn't stay here again, but for my first time to Colombo I was happy to be in this historic hotel.

Room Tip: Room 309 is up a couple of flights of stairs and is a corner room with an incredible view of both th...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MangoMunky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
35 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2011

Galle Face is a very old hotel, open since 1864. The Regent Wing has recently been renovated, but the classic wing must be not much different from how it was back in 1864! Rooms are really decadent and quite low in maintenance, and interiors, bathroom, cabinets are very old too. But if you have a taste for old heritage, well, you'll like it. In the entrance there's a bust of Yuri Gagarin, first man in space, who stayed in this hotel, and a plaque with names of famous guests. At the entrance you can also frequently find Kittan, an alert 92 years old man wearing handlebar mustache, still working, as he did for the last 75 years in the same job! Breakfast is good and served in open air in front of the Indian Ocean. Same for dinner, with a big buffet. Internet available by purchasing a card. In the Regent Wing there's a small gym, but it's good enough, and a SPA. There's also a nice swimming pool in front of the sea. A little disappointing, upon check-out the receptionist gave me an invoice printed on blank paper, without heading, and I had to complaint in order to have a real invoice in letterhead. It's an experience.

Room Tip: if you want a renovated room, ask for the Regent Wing
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Pazzalino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jason c, General Manager at Galle Face Hotel Colombo, responded to this review, November 7, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we at the historic Galle Face Hotel take great pride in our hotel and find your comments very pleasing.

We take constructive criticism Good or Bad very positively in order to improve our service standards of all areas of the Hotel, and your feedback will help us immensely.


Once again thank you for your review, it is very much appreciated.

“Stop and look at the View”

GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 51 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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