South Asia’s leading Grande Dame, the Galle Face Hotel is testimony to both Sri Lanka’s colonial past and its independent present. Celebrated within the hospitality world, it blends historical splendour with crafted modernity to form a new model for heritage properties. International guests are immersed in the Galle Face Hotel’s rich traditions and compelling stories, while Colombo society perceive the hotel as the most prestigious, desirable destination in the city for memorable dining and special events. Whether at the hotel for dinner or for a month-long stay, an experience of the Galle Face Hotel is one of timeless grandeur and exceptional hospitality.
The Hotel started out as a Dutch villa called Galle Face House that had been a meeting place for gentlemen of the colonial era. That was until four British entrepreneurs decided to use it to start a business, unaware that, by the late 19th century, it would be known as the best hotel East of Suez (Galle Face Hotel,2018)
I’ve been to the Galle face hotel on multiple occasions, but never to stay. Arriving to Galle face is an easy breeze, with a quick check in resulting in someone who will guide you to the rooms. However, there wasn’t a welcome drink of sorts, which was compensated with the beautiful hotel lobby and luxurious yet vintage feel it gives out.
The rooms on the other hand, were spacious twin sharing superior rooms that start from $190 per night. The beds were comfortable, with a large flat screen television, a tea/coffee station, a mini bar with yummy pani kadju to your basic coke and alcohol, strong wifi, telephone, en suite bathroom and a whole bunch of other things you can check out on their website!
We spent some time in our rooms and were warmly welcomed for the lunch buffet served at the Verandah, it may have been a little warm, but we were totally digging the natural light and the seating overlooking the chequerboard floor and sea. Lunch however was mediocre, there was an interesting make your own noodle soup station which is a hit if you know exactly how to incorporate the ingredients or ask someone to help you out. Considering it wasn’t the weekend, the selection wasn’t massive, but everyone most certainly enjoyed the local flavours that was executed petty well.
After lunch, we had some time to chill out and scroll through the channels and get ready for the history tour of the property. Now I know, a history tour might sound boring as hell, but it was most certainly by far one of the interesting ones I’ve been too, especially with my talent of zoning out! We learned many interesting facts from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to American President Ronald Reagan who has stayed at the hotel as well as the only property to have an octagon shaped ballroom to having the Queen over in 1952 where she celebrated her jubilee wedding at the iconic chequerboard! The hotel is full of hidden treasures, with the library to the 1864 wine cellar and the fragile china to many artworks, ever get bored in the middle of the night, feel free to roam the hotel I’m sure you will come across some fascinating stuff and learn a whole bunch of facts.
Afternoon tea was interesting, it was a three tier set with savouries and sweet options and the delicious scones with clotted cream and jam!
A bunch of us ordered in through the room service menu, in which we ordered the grilled chicken breast with mash, the lamb kebab kofta and club sandwich. The in-house ordering meals were lip smacking delicious and reasonably priced. I personally adored the kebab wrap which had juicy meat, pickles to garlic sauce whilst having manioc chips instead of actual potato chips which showed a beautiful fusion of international flavors tantalizing the local taste buds.
We woke up early in time for breakfast and feasted like hungry beasts. The breakfast buffet was amazing, the selection was vast, and everything was on point. Absolutely enjoyed the fresh croissants and bagels to the complimenting selection of cream cheese dips. There was a hoppers section to local curries as well as an egg station where you can a sunny side up or a delicious eggs benny!
Leaving Galle Face Hotel, the next day was possibly the saddest, especially since we felt like we connected on a spiritual level and we didn’t want to get back to our everyday life! The mere fact that despite the hotel was in the heart of the city, it was an escape from the hustle and bustle in the gigantic property!