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“Oozes ambiance and colonial charm; falls short on hygeine and service”

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Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Ranked #5 of 54 Hotels in Colombo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 13, 2013

The Galle Face management (the Gardiner Family et al) are to be applauded for steadfastly preserving this irreplacable Sri Lankan landmark and one of the nation's most beloved hotels. I've stayed there on all 3 trips to Sri Lanka and I like the place very much, but it needs a dollop of Aman Resorts-style vision, style and taste. In its present form, it's far too often simply funky - especially the accommodations. And the way it looks now makes you concerned about the level of hygeine. The nice part is it seems to be kept in its original condition, which means that with a bit of vision it will once again become a genuine Southeast Asian classic, like the Raffles, the Strand, the Peninsula, etc. I also found the service extremely bumpy. Some of the staff are outrgeously hospitable and caring; others seem to function in a world all their own and exude an unappetizing haughtiness. I also had an unpleasant experience with a Galle Face car driver, who clearly merely wanted to make some money driving me to places I had no interest whatsover in going to. I also got the impression many of the staff don't quite get along with each other, so one would say something and another would come by and contradict it. When the hotel is busy, it really and truly shows and the cohesion level wears down very quickly. The bathrooms are also in need of re-plumbing in many areas. Still, one salutes the affection the owners and management and staff have for their landmark, and I wish it many many more decades of sfae and profitable, and tasteful, operations.

Room Tip: Fo more modern conveniences, ask for a room in the new wings; you won't get the old ambiance the...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Marintraveler076
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,913 - 1,919 of 2,946 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2013

We stayed here on & off for 9 days - the first night in the old wing was on the shabby side with a bathtub that didn't drain the shower water properly.

Afterwards, we moved to the new wing which had good, comfortable accommodation. The food was tasty especially the yummy breakfast buffet. Our room faced the Indian Ocean - so, the location was really brilliant.

The service was mostly good except in the 'Lounge Bar' where the older guy behind the bar appeared to favour serving the foreign tourists there. He arrogantly informed us that the bar was only for people staying at the GFH & was peeved to know that we were indeed guests there!

Despite minor hiccups, we'd stay at GFH again as the advantages outweigh the drawbacks...

Room Tip: Avoid the old wing...with the colonial, unrenovated rooms etc. Also, this wing is extremely noisy wi...
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sayuri d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

Old world colonial hotel. Stunning location for sunset or for weddings which it seems to do loads of and if you are partial to a buffet then give it a go. Overpriced for what it offers in slow service and also in charging for wifi is a bit cheeky when you can get if for free in a beach shack.
Its glory days have faded maybe it will return some day but if it does it has some work to do.

Room Tip: Go to the new part of the hotel, it has a two tiered offering one for steerage guests and then for u...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Tracyonhols
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

Big ex-colonial Hotel in centre of Columbo. Had room with sea view in Classic ie old part of Hotel. About 10 weddings a day (no exageration). in January. Very interesting to see and hear. Loud Kandy drumming, the must have extra for weddings, stops by 10.00 pm.
Pros
Large well equipted room with comfortable bed. Modern large tv has 10 English, 2 German and one French channel. Good food and coffee/drinks bar. Inside and outside tables with seaview. Good German restaurant across the road for a change.
Cons
Buffet at 1750R very good but encourages greed. Hotel directory in room missing vital things such as meal times and out of date.

Room Tip: Ask for sea view, its quieter.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank davidjjarvis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

This has the wow factor, on the beachfront fairly close to Fort. It is an historic colonial edifice. Note it has two separate receptions for different parts of the hotel. My room overlooked the beach, perfect for sunsets, not all rooms get a sea view. In room wifi is 10 rupees a minute, or 500 rupees for an hour. Bathroom was really good, window from the shower to the bedroom has a blind! There is a drying string line in the shower. One member of the group, actually the leader, was temporarily wheelchair bound and found that there are issues, though the staff were helpful. Not really wheelchair friendly. Buffet meals cater partly to local tastes with the UK tastes well catered for. There is a vast green next door which sees thousands on weekday evenings. Sea spray restaurant is well named, right on the beachfront. Bedside console controls everything including TV with a wide choice of channels, several featuring cricket. Check out the first car bought by Prince Philip when he was a lad based here. Bus tour options weekends only, hotel cars in the week. Very popular with weddings, especially at full moon, they start arriving at 7am. Power points mainly UK square with one multi including UK round.

Room Tip: Specify a sea view, the view at the back is not that good.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Chase_Mollys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

I choose this hotel because is Classic. The hotel compiled a lots of history and story, was amazing. The Location was perfect for us, near by the Galle road along the beach, The Seaspray Seafood restaurant was pretty good, specially the Lobster was yummy. The Room which is we stay was an old classic room ( Classic Wing ) but good with the Balcony. WIFI cant get easyly even we got charge for that but look like we just waste the $. Anyway too bad we cant see Uncle Kuttan. The Icon of The Galle Face Hotel since he has problem with his health. Anyway the Breakfast was nice, variety of Srilankan food was there, but the coffee always served little bit cold.However we still love this hotel and might be back again and can recommend this hotel for others but choose the Regency Wing much more better.

Room Tip: Choose the Regency Wing because the room is new and much more better than Classic Wing
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dhyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

You know you're not in Kansas anymore when you arrive at the Galle Face Hotel! It is one of the oldest and grandest hotels in the world. It is undergoing renovation, and with amenities like the gym and spa temporarily closed, I can't give it 5 stars. However, the setting is spectacular, the charm is irresistible, and the service is extraordinarily gracious (though at times, maddeningly sloooooow...) The food is mediocre, but the breakfast -- included with the room -- is terrific and caters to both western and Sri Lankan tastes. Don't miss the hoppers with egg for breakfast, and top them with some fresh sambol! Nothing beats sitting out on the Checkerboard for drinks -- like a big fresh king coconut -- and watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. I stayed a week, but could've stayed there forever!

Room Tip: I had a suite overlooking the ocean. The jacuzzi in the room seemed oddly placed, but I quickly lea...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank oneisawanderer
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

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 #5 of 54 Hotels in Colombo
Price Range: $156 - $271 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Galle Face Hotel Colombo 5*
Number of rooms: 156
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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