Grande dame of Colombo, the city’s most prestigious hotel
Colombo's Finest Hotel
Built even before the Suez Canal, this hotel is blissfully nostalgic. Originally a Dutch Mansion, the hotel gets its name from the promenade it faces, the Galle Face Green. Rooted in its old Colonial traditions, the hotel still serves high tea in the afternoons, a glorious bacchanalia of food and drink to welcome the sunset.
This hotel has hosted many famous guests including Ghandi, John D. Rockerfeller, British royalty and the first human to travel into space, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin.
At one point, the hotel employed the world’s oldest hospitality industry doorman, KC. If you were lucky enough to go there before 2014, you may have seen him in his smart sarong, white jacket and his cheery handlebar moustache greeting you warmly as you walked in the door.
Shopping in Style
Opposite the hotel sits the Galle Face Court, at the time of its construction the most luxurious apartment complex of its kind in Sri Lanka. It is also to the first jewellers of Sri Lanka, Oduma Lebbe Marikkar, which did a thriving trade catering to guests of the hotel.
During the era of Mr. Cyril Gardiner as chairman in the 60’s the hotel adopted a very strong anti-smoking and drinking policy with signs plastered all around the hotel. Fortunately, the times have changed and the hotel travellers bar and outdoor terrace is the ideal place to enjoy a chilled Lion Lager or a barrel-aged negroni while listening to the crashing waves and watching the sun set over the horizon.