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“Disturbing sleep ? but I like GFH”

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Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Ranked #4 of 51 Hotels in Colombo
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
Level Contributor
287 reviews
143 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 557 helpful votes
“Disturbing sleep ? but I like GFH”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2010

Galle Face Hotel is reasonable enough for Colombo ( yes ! accommodation in Colombo is way too expensive ! )

What I like about GFH:
They have airport pick up service even if it is 2:30a.m (US$30)
They let me do early check-in ( it was really early ;-p )
Plentiful breakfast - cereal, toast,salad,fruits,curry,egg,sausage,muffin etc.
Restaurant with gorgeous view ( i just love it !)
Convenient location, 30 of TV channels in room, smiley staff.

What I didn't like about GFH:
I chose Regency Standard to stay but the room itself was vibrating. I even heard the noise(of vibration). When I was sleeping in bed, I really felt the vibration. It was more than annoying, made me sleep very difficult. I asked several staff what it was, but I couldn't find out how it happens from where. I should have asked room change.

Facilities@GFH:
breakfast 7:00-10:30
spa 9:00(maybe) - 22:00
gym 6:00 - 22:00(maybe)
swimming pool 7:00 - 19:00 (depth 1.5m~2.2m)
sauna/jacuzzi 9:00 - 22:00
high tea: 16:00 - 18:00 (850Rs per person)
they have more like beauty salon, bar, billiards table.

I paid US$30 for colombo city tour ( approx 3 hours ), that was arranged by GFH ( at least, there is the tour desk in GFH). English speaking guide(driver), Car with A/C included. But main sightseeing spots are only very old Dutch church and Gangarama Temple. The entrance fee for this temple was not included (Rs100) The rest of the tour was just driving through city. I don't recommend this tour, you should go on your own by Tuk Tuk, it is much cheaper. At least, I asked the guide to take me some place I wanted to go in the end, which was good.

There were so many wedding ceremonies while I stayed there, but I personally enjoyed them !

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank mamacita1001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,708 reviews from our community

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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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Bucks
Level Contributor
138 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2010

Steeped in history and part of the history of the country. A place that needs a serious amount of money spending on it. It is tired and creaking. The staff, as are most Sri Lankans, are absolutely charming, smiling and willing to help. The infrastructure , facilities and quality is lacking. Used as an iconic location for numerous weddings at the same time means that you can't get access to rooms on arrival, the noise of party and dance is intrusive.

Well worth a visit for a drink and meal but do not recommend staying there overnight.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank fedupphil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitley Bay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
313 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 348 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2010

We stayed at the Galle Face for one week in August 2010 and we will not be returning. Briefly, there were far too many weddings with accompanying noise and disruption. It appeared that the hotel was a conveyor belt churning out up to six weddings per day utilising the different function rooms, one of the restaurants and chequerboard patio area. We had to change rooms as the noise and vibration from the disco bass was reverberating in our room, not just late into the night but also in the afternoon thus a siesta was also not an option. On complaining to the front desk of this, I was greeted with an inappropriate smile – the only time I saw any of the front of house team smiling throughout the week. These sour faces were nearly matched by the bar and restaurant staff where a few had some customer care training but most were indifferent to the guests. The food also tended to be served luke warm, probably as a result of poor communication between the kitchen and the waiting staff, or the chefs not being competent to complete an a la carte order simultaneously.
The service provided by the room stewards was an exception and we found them to be friendly and very efficient. There were a couple of characters amongst the staff, notably Kuttan, the 92 year old occasional doorman who has been a feature at the hotel for 65 years and the gent who was employed to scare away the crows from the Veranda Restaurant and Bar with the use of a slingshot – not that we saw him actually fire anything throughout our stay.
The furniture – rooms, pool, lounges, etc can only be described as tired. The hotel tends to sell itself on its previous glories but the initial charm is soon lost. It does not compare at all favourably with the nearby Cinnamon Lakeside Resort, the Colombo Hilton or indeed the older Mount Lavinia Hotel, all of which we visited during our stay.
The one benefit of the weddings was that we were visited by a couple of elephants that were utilised to ferry the grooms all of ten or twenty metres. Prince Phillip’s old wartime service Austin Standard is the display feature of the hotel’s small museum and it has been retained in excellent condition.
We used the travel desk at the hotel for two excursions when we hired vehicle and driver. On the first we went to the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala (highly recommended) and onto Kandy. On the way we had an accident and on the return trip the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Not very encouraging, but our second excursion to Galle, with a different driver, was a far more enjoyable experience.
The hotel is located alongside Galle Face Green where numerous locals enjoy flying kites and paddling in the Indian Ocean in the afternoons, evenings and weekends. We were there during Ramadan and consequently a party atmosphere developed after dusk. The civil war has ‘officially ended’ but the hotel is located in the commercial centre of Colombo and there are armed guards and sentry boxes every 50 to 100 metres which consequently tends to question this fact.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank FarEastTraveller33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
setubal
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2010

Huge, nice and charming Hotel from the old times, when England ruled Sri Lanka. The old British charm.

Stayed August 2007, traveled with friends
Helpful?
Thank SetubalChoco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
41 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2010

We stayed in the Galle Face Hotel for three nights and had a very mixed experience. We love this hotel, having stayed there many times before, and even holding our wedding there, so many fond memories associated. We stayed in the same suite that we have used twice over the last ten years. I don't think in that time the rug has been cleaned, or the curtains laundered. Wifi charges v high (even by UK standards). Service- initially it was v difficult to obtain confirmation of our booking. However, once checked in successfully, service was v good- we asked for early check in for my parents-in-law who were joining the next day, and this was arrnaged for a 9am check in. When i requested an ironing board and iron, this was brought to my room and no tip expected. We obviously stayed in the Classic wing and it appears that all the money is going into the new Regency wing- where we ventured, and are agreed taht next time, we will stay there. You can't beat the GFH buffet breakfast- the choice, flavours and view are all fab. I'm hopinig that I will be able to write a more favourable review for this lovely old hotel next time when we have tried the Regency rooms.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Janakii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
166 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2010

The Galle Face has a certain elegance about it, however it is fading. We stayed in the Regency Wing but walked around the whole hotel and had a good look. THe rooms in the Regency Wing have been upgraded but still have bare wooden floors - yes this is part of the classic charm but still feels a little ordinary when the cost of the hotel is considered. On the night we were there it rained heavily and the old wooden window of our sea facing room leaked a little which was not a problem but typified the fading grandure.
The resteraunts in the hotel were excellent we had dinner in the a-la-carte resteraunt "1864" - the food was probably the best we had during our whole trip, the price was around what we would have paid for dinner in Sydney at a far more modest resteraunt and was worth every cent!!! We were the only people dinning in on that evening and the staff were great, they did not over service us but showed just the right amount of attention.
The staff in the hotel were a mix - there was a very unhelpful clerk on reception when we arrive but apart from him the rest of the staff could not do enough to help us.
The pool is great and overlooks the sea which makes it a great getaway after the hustle of the city.
Overall we enjoyed our stay here the ambiance of the place, teh meals, the staff and the facilities were worth the bare floor boards

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Grant13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
85 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2010

We stayed one night at this hotel at the end of our three week Sri Lankan holiday. We chose the hotel in part because of its historical background especially as my grandfather had stayed there in the 1920's. From a plus point, the location is good and the food was good. We ate in the Sea Spray Restaurant in the evening and the seafood buffet was very good. More negatively, when we arrived were offered two rooms that were not adjacent to each other. I insisted that I did not want my children to be a long way from us so was told that an adjacent room would be ready in an hour. After an hour and a half I asked whether the other room was ready and was offered the same room as I had been offered when we arrived. In the end we went out for the afternoon and when we returned a couple of hours later the adjacent room was ready. Although the rooms were generally clean, the furnishings were decidedly dated. It would not take much to keep the heritage feel but have some brighter curtains etc. The bathrooms appeared to have been retiled relatively recently but the bath in our room definitely had seen better days. The air conditioning unit was very loud and very cold. We could not locate any controls so asked reception for assistance and was shown the control that was behind the curtains! Once we had found this we were able to control both the noise and the level of chill.
We also had a snack lunch by the pool. The food was good when it arrived but it took a very long time to be produced. I had read that the hotel did a lot of weddings and I can confirm that in the short period we were there that were at least 4 weddings including one that took up the whole garden area between the verandah and the pool and one of the large function rooms. The effect of this latter wedding was that the Sea Spray Restaurant was largely occupied by guests from this wedding. This meant that we had to eat much earlier than we had intended as there was otherwise no capacity. I was concerned that we would be kept awake by the weddings but we clearly had a lucky draw and did not hear any noise. However, my husband spoke to another guest the following morning who had been very badly affected. Overall it was interesting to stay at this hotel but having done it once, I won't be bothering again as I suspect there are much nicer hotels in Colombo that don't need to trade on heritage to get guests in the door.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KateREBristol
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

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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