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“A good Hotel that needs sprucing up”

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Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Ranked #4 of 51 Hotels in Colombo
Certificate of Excellence
Kolkata (Calcutta), India
Level Contributor
69 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“A good Hotel that needs sprucing up”
Reviewed December 26, 2013

The Hotel is located on the Galle Face Green right on the beach. It was established in 1864 and is the oldest hotel east of Suez. It features `in the book “Thousand Places to see before you die“, The hotel has played host to many famous people. Among them was Anton Chekov whose bust is on display at the reception. The reception area also displayed lists of famous persons who had stayed in the hotel.

The check in was quickly and efficiently done and the room was midsized with a room Air Conditioner. There was no view from the room. The toilet was not big but sufficiently spacious.

There is a grand wooden staircase leading to the first floor where my room was located. Next to the staircase are two old lifts which looks very impressive. The whole hotel oozes of colonial charm and dignity.

I knew that in the afternoon High Tea is served at the verandah, but I had no idea of what it really was. The restaurant is at two levels at the passage level there are sofas and tables on one side and the passage leading to other areas. A few steps down is the ground level., which is long and wide covered verandah at the same level as the large terrace beyond.

I went to the Verandah restaurant and saw a Buffet High Tea, which was an unique experience. A large buffet spread which including mousse of different types, patties, ice creams, various types of tea and hot and cold coffee etc was served on the Verandah Restaurant.

I then went to the terrace which overlooks the Indian Ocean. Drinks and snacks are available in this open air terrace restaurant. From here there is a great view of the Ocean and of the hotel complex at the back.

The next morning when I went for my bath I found the temperature of the hot water in the wash basin was OK but that of the shower was wholly inadequate for the.bath. I heard the noise of water dripping from the ceiling of the toilet and soon enough droplets started falling into the bathroom. As I was about to check out, I did not bother about it.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank sen1947
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 26, 2013

We arrived in Columbo at 5 am after a very long series of flights, with no hotel booked. The Galle Face cost more than we originally wanted to spend, but we showed up there and they were able to get us into a beautiful room right away, which made it worth it. The buffet breakfast was wonderful, and the coffee here was the best we found during 2 weeks in Sri Lanka. Service was excellent, and the room was clean. We has a great room that stepped directly out to the pool (ocean just beyond the pool). Great location.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank travelkarma14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Stephens, Australia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed December 25, 2013

We arrived at 2.30am and the check in was quick , efficient and friendly.
The hotel is beautiful, the staff are so friendly and efficient.
Our room was smallish but absolutely lovely.
We ate breakfast in the 1864 Restaurant and it was delicious and very reasonable. One of the waiters tempted me with pineapple slices prepared the Sri Lankan way....delicious!!!
We were able to organise a driver and car to show us around Colombo for 4 hours which was really good.
We also ate dinner in the 1864 Restaurant and we were seated in a small alcove overlooking the ocean.....perfect for my birthday celebration.
Even though half the hotel is closed for renovation, it is still a wonderful place to stay.
The mini bar and room service are very reasonably priced considering the calibre of this Hotel.
We would stay here again if we come back to Colombo.
By the way....the Christmas decoration were absolutely beautiful!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank paulini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013

An ok hotel but the administration just sucks. They charged twice on my credit card which I found out when I got back home. Then mailed the hotel three times before getting any response from them. They promised to pay back the money but nothing happened for 2 weeks. Then I mailed three times again without any response back from management. In the end I contacted American express and showed them my receipts from the hotel and (at last) got my 400 EUR back).

From what I have read on the Internet I am not the only one they try to scam like this. It is not acceptable and I cannot recommend the hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank AndOne242
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosS88, Manager at Galle Face Hotel Colombo, responded to this review, December 31, 2013
We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to give us your feedback through Tripadvisor.
It is with sincere regret that we note your dissatisfaction with our credit card handlings, and we apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.
I have personally spoken to the staff concerned and I can assure you that they will be more careful when communicating with the guests.
We ask for your kind understanding and assure you that your comments have been of value to us to provide the best possible standards to our guests at all times.
Your experience certainly does not in any way represent the quality of standards we strive for, and indeed customarily maintain at our Hotel.
We thank you very much for your patronage and look forward to having you back with us.

Yours sincerely,

Carlos Sanchez Vizan
Director of Operations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
102 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2013 via mobile

We only stayed in the hotel for one night and a late check out on the second day. The service was good with attentive staff. The Food at the 1864 restaurant was well worth the stop. Breakfast relaxed and great service.
The hotel is showing some signs of age, and with the high ceilings and wooden floors the noise from elsewhere travels. This was not too much of an issue but for some may be.
We walked from the hotel to different locations, the option is to use one of the many many 3 wheel taxis... just make sure you set the fee before you go.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank rod_heather
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff Wales
Level Contributor
60 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed December 19, 2013

The purpose of our one night stay was to enjoy Colombo's most famous and historic hotel. When we arrived we asked if we could have a cup of tea and sandwich or cake in the restaurant area as it was too hot to sit outside. We were told that although they could do the tea they couldn't serve the sandwiches and we should go to the poolside bar for snacks; which we did and endured the heat and humidity - noticing that the food and beverage were delivered from the main hotel building: presumably the same kitchen that serves the restaurant. At dinner time we checked the restaurant menu and thought that it was too restricted to Western food as well as being very expensive compared with other 5 star hotels that we'd stayed in; so we ate at the poolside again. Breakfast the next day was quite limited in comparison with other hotels so we were again disappointed.
My wife had stayed at the hotel 10 years ago had fond memories of afternoon tea, sadly no longer available. The hotel appears to be trading on its past reputation as a grand destination in itself whereas in reality it is currently an expensive business hotel offering very little choice. Very disappointing. Let's hope that when the renovations are completed the former glory will return. Don't go there for "the experience" as there isn't one

Room Tip: We requested a non-smoking room on a high floor with an ocean view. What we were allocated was a non...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank welshwindbag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosS88, Manager at Galle Face Hotel Colombo, responded to this review, December 31, 2013
We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to give us your feedback through Tripadvisor.
It is with sincere regret that we note your dissatisfaction with our service and facilities.
We ask for your kind understanding and assure you that your comments have been of value to us to provide the best possible standards to our guests at all times, even during our restoration phase.
Indeed, several areas of our Hotel are currently closed for renovation; and this has been communicated to our travel agents and corporate accounts. A notice has been posted in the Hotel’s website for the general public.
Your experience certainly does not in any way represent the quality of standards we strive for, and indeed customarily maintain at our Hotel.
We thank you very much for your patronage and look forward to having you back with us.

Yours sincerely,

Carlos Sanchez Vizan
Director of Operations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
46 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed December 16, 2013

First off, a warning that this place is currently under [a much needed] renovation and about half the hotel is shut (including a big chunk of what i'm told was the good bit...) Would have been nice to have known this beforehand and had it reflected in the cost of rooms but...

The rooms are big and nice but getting very run down with doors to balcony that don't close too well and take a look at the photo for the state of the sun loungers... Staff were pretty mediocre by Sri Lankan standards too. My advice, go visit for a drink by the pool but stay somewhere else that warrants the money being charged

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HongKongStuey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosS88, Manager at Galle Face Hotel Colombo, responded to this review, January 1, 2014
We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to give us your feedback through Tripadvisor.
It is with sincere regret that we note your dissatisfaction with our service and facilities.
We ask for your kind understanding and assure you that your comments have been of value to us to provide the best possible standards to our guests at all times, even during our restoration phase.
Indeed, several areas of our Hotel are currently closed for renovation; and this has been communicated to our travel agents and corporate accounts. A notice has been posted in the Hotel’s website for the general public.
Your experience certainly does not in any way represent the quality of standards we strive for, and indeed customarily maintain at our Hotel.
We thank you very much for your patronage and look forward to having you back with us.

Yours sincerely,

Carlos Sanchez Vizan
Director of Operations
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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