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“Deliciously decadent hotel”

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Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Ranked #4 of 51 Hotels in Colombo
Certificate of Excellence
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Deliciously decadent hotel”
Reviewed February 21, 2014

Just stayed two nights in this well known hotel.unfortunately half of the hotel was undergoing a massive restoration project. We were unable to enjoy the full majesty of this hotel and setting. Overall the staff were very charming and efficient. The staff in the garden and terrace were more "laid back" and so you did not have to be in a hurry for your order to be attended to. The rooms were pleasant and well maintained,in other words we had a very pleasant stay and would return preferably when the whole hotel is available.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Margaret D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,803 reviews from our community

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Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
156 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 210 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2014

I booked my usual room for 8 nights and was assured by the booking clerk that although renovations were in progress, very little disturbance was being experienced by guests. He could not have been more wrong. This is not a renovation project, it is a major rebuild; apart from a small section of rooms in the Regency Wing, the whole hotel has been gutted.

Both The Veranda and the Sea Spray Restaurants have been closed, the Coffee Shop has also been shut, as has the club lounge, this has nothing to do with the renovations, as it is not part of that section of the hotel which is being refurbished.

I do not believe any reviewers who declare that they have enjoyed a stay at this hotel whilst the building works are in progress. Most of the gardens have been sectioned off by ugly hoardings and the noise and dust generated by the building works are unbearable; who could possibly enjoy the sound of jack-hammers, banging, shouting, concrete delivery trucks and the dust which covers everything. This hotel is uninhabitable and should have been closed by its owners, whilst such a major project is undertaken. It is an insult to its loyal guests, that they are still encouraged to stay and just a mark of the greed of its management.

I could not stand any more than one night in the Galle Face, I checked out the next day and went to the Hilton. No reduction was offered on the full price and I paid 278 US$ for one night in this building site.

I have been visiting the Galle Face for over fifteen years but this insult is the final straw, I shall not return and I advise all visitors to this wonderful country, to steer clear of this once excellent but now sub-standard hostelry.

Room Tip: Whilst under renovation, stay in another hotel!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Philip B
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, February 23, 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 finding our Hotel under renovation.
Indeed, several areas of our Hotel are currently closed for restoration; 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.

On the other hand, we are disappointed with the fact that you show very little respect with the opinions of others, and that you consider that all our satisfied guests are lying or misleading the public with their positive comments. I wish we were all more tolerant, calm and collected.

I would like also to clarify that you were given a discount of USD 287 as we did not charge you the customary 1-night cancellation fee when you shortened your stay.

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
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2014

This is a long review (apologies), but I consider that this hotel deserves it.

Our room was probably the best hotel room I ever stayed in but for the fact that it was on a floor for smokers - floors 3 and 2 are non-smoking floors. I have stayed in a lot of hotels across Asia. We got room 4008 by way of an upgrade (nice). It had six windows, four of which overlooked the sea and one could hear the sea whilst lying in bed. The style of the room kept the history of the hotel alive; it had wooden floors (like much of the whole hotel) and, frankly, this hotel felt classy & homely, in a way that big chain hotels generally don't. I did get to see some other rooms and they do tend to vary quite a lot, however.

The cleaning staff were great, as were the desk staff. We were met with drinks when we arrived and the in-house travel service just to the side of the entrance were great.

Positives about Galle Face:

(1) Swimming Pool & Gym - this is a 30M salt-water pool. About 1.6M at the shallow end and 2.2M at the deep end. I do triathlon training, and for me (and no doubt other fitness types) this was a brilliant feature. I could do lengths properly. The gym is okay, probably not good enough for serious lifters, but absolutely fine for most people. I saw a door to (I think) a steam room and there is a Spa, but I did not use them. The pool is exposed to the sun for a lot of the day, so take sun protection.

(2) Character - they have kept true to the heritage of the hotel, and it is nice; in no way too stylised or touristy. Galle Face is not over the top. They have a few black and white pictures of famous people who have stayed there (e.g. Nixon, Louis Mountbatten, Che Guevara and others) but that is about it - it is not touristy. The exterior of the building facing the sea needs a new paint job, but the interiors are kept very clean. They are renovating part of the hotel, but at no point did we feel that got in the way of our enjoyment. There was the odd clank or noise of a drill, but they had a job to do and it was not bad at all.

(3) The sea views are great - just ocean and a little bit of beach in front of the hotel. One can walk on the very small beach, but not bathe. However, as the pool and bar are on the West side, one can sit there and watch the sunset on a sun lounger, which is often beautiful.

(4) The staff were very friendly. No complaints, and they were always helpful.

(5) The range of breakfast options was quite wide and generally really good. You could (in effect) make an English breakfast (sausages, beans, potatoes) or you could have croissants, fruit, cereal etc. There were also Sri Lankan options too, like String Hoppers and a chap who made omelettes to order.

(6) Wifi speed was acceptable, and there was a little business centre downstairs, but this is not really a business hotel in my view.

(7) Location - there are not many hotels in Colombo that are as close to the sea as Galle Face. Some are being built along the Galle Road, but they appear to be under construction. Over the road from Galle Face and a few hundred metres to the South is Crescat, which is a smallish shopping mall. In the basement of Crescat is a supermarket, which also has a little pharmacy just before the check-out tills.

Negatives:

(1) Some of the food was not great - we had room service twice which was okay, but the food quality of the room service food could have been better.

(2) A few times the cleaning staff were working in the corridors and chatting and using vacuum cleaners quite early in the morning.

However, overall, the positives far outweighed the negatives, and we both felt that we would definitely go back there if we wanted a relaxing time in Colombo.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Pidge335
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
84 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2014

Stayed at Galle Face at end of 16 day tour of Sri Lanka. Historic hotel with beautiful wood floors and architecture. Renovations are occurring and the whole north section is closed for the work. Did not disrupt our stay. Location on the beachfront is superb. Park to the north. Food was great especially at private dinner in wine cellar. Staff very helpful. Would return.

Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank RogerD272
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
72 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2014

We had a two night stay after arriving in Sri Lanka. One double room, one single. We were on the side near the pool, so experienced no problems with the renovations. I do hope they keep the ambience of the old galle face after renovation. Rooms fine, large and clean. Bar outside busy at sunset but still pleasant. Pool nice to relax around after taking a trip round Columbo. The currant restaurant that is open served good food with pleasant service. Breakfast very nice.
After checking out for 2 rooms and paying the bill, extras for mini bar were added even though we told them what we had had prior to getting the bill. Surely would have made sense to wait a short time for checkers to go to room and check rather than having two bills.
We will return on our next visit to Sri Lanka and hope to see the hotel finished and restored appropriately.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank norfolknic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
60 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2014

The hotel is currently under extensive renovation; the front entrance wing as on the website is totally gutted, and you currently access it through a less fabulous entrance. The pool (sea water) and terrace area are very limited at present with building work to the side so as a short transitional stay it is fine, but for a prolonged stay would be very annoying. Sadly these works were not communicated to us when we booked. They did give us a sea view room, and the rooms although small are still beautiful with period features, wooden floors and large windows.
The pool side food was a little disappointing- small portions, limited choice, but breakfasts were very good.

Room Tip: Sea view is essential!!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DrG29
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, February 16, 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 finding our Hotel under renovation.
Indeed, several areas of our Hotel are currently closed for restoration; 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.

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.
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
228 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2014 via mobile

I was travelling with a party of 40 people who were all booked in for two separate nights. My first night was a disaster, being in room 214 immediately adjacent to the building works, overlooking a derelict building with absolutely no outlook, so having arrived and checked in at about 3.00 pm after an overnight flight, was unable to rest due to constant hammering of the new skirting boards until gone 7.00 and guys on the scaffolding outside the windows. The safety harness was left on the window sill ready for the next morning.

A minor quibble was the lack of wifi in this room which was not accepted by the staff in reception when I mentioned it.

However, the room itself was large and well presented and the food and breakfast excellent.

Now the second night three days later was a complete contrast, lovely room, facing the garden, wifi reception OK, and still the same fine food and superb buffet breakfast.

Having noted my dissatisfaction on the customer survey I had an apology by email within two hours, so credit where due. However guests should be warned of the noise factor to avoid this inconsistency.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank David T
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, February 11, 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 the noises from the construction and renovation works.
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.

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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