Colombo is littered with countless hotels and selecting the best place to stay would indeed be a hard choice. From five-star to secluded boutique hotels, the choices are endless and we are here to help you narrow it down. For years, the hotels in our recommended list have been the preferred choice for both locals and tourists, owing to their reputations as ‘great’ places to spend your vacation or impress your clients. Not only famed for offering some of the best restaurants in the city, you can try an authentic Sri Lankan meal at Nuga Gama, or have a romantic dinner at Cinnamon Lakeside’s floating restaurant—8° on the Lake. If you are looking for a more laid back atmosphere, visit the colonial Mount Lavinia Hotel right by the Mount Lavinia Beach, overlooking the ocean or the Tintagel, famed for its elegant and unique decor.
Located in the shadow of the twin towers of Colombo’s World Trade Centre, the Hilton Colombo is situated in the centre of the city’s commercial district with rooms recently refurbished to match the demands of today’s business or leisure guests. With a popular tea lounge off the reception lobby and seven restaurants and bars serving cuisine from different cultures, the hotel is almost a destination in itself, a welcome retreat after a day in the city. Its swimming pool lies across the road, reached by a footbridge.
The Galadari Hotel is renowned for having some of the best doormen and concierges in the city, who welcome guests with pleasure into the businesslike lobby. They’ve been there for years, and seem to know everything and every one. Since the hotel is beside Lotus Road, the main thoroughfare to the seaside Galle Road and opposite the Presidential Secretariat, they’re kept busy with guests going in and out. The hotel’s rooms are spacious and have recently been refurbished. The vast California Grill on the top floor has a cocktail bar and discreetly placed tables. The range of food on the breakfast buffet is comprehensive, from humus to pepper steak, dosai to toast. In the afternoon the lobby lounge is a favourite place among ladies who take high tea. There are also Indian and Arabian restaurants on the lobby floor and a ground floor cocktail bar, Margarita Blue, and an adjoining pastry shop, Café 64.
Retreating behind the high walls, Tintagel lends itself to the discerning traveller seeking comfort, seclusion and exclusivity. Built in 1930, Tintagel has established itself as a top-notch boutique hotel in the prestigious residential area of Rosmead Place, since opening its doors in 2007. Enhanced with architecture that bespeaks conscientious preservation, this colonial style building has a palatial air outfitted with modern amenities and plush comforts. Tintagel’s discerning taste extends to the cuisine, serving fusion cuisine be it authentic Sri Lankan or Italian.
The Cinnamon Grand Hotel is a hive of activity exuding an energetic and lively atmosphere; giving it an air of ‘the place to be’. Rooms of various categories (including a swish Executive Floor) are located in two wings in the quiet section of this opulent five-star hotel. The hotel’s appeal as a happening place arises from its 14 restaurants and bars differing in style from elegant dining in a genuine 1970’s cellar grill restaurant to eating in a flourishing fish market as well as Italian and Indian restaurants, a Noodle Parlour and a re-creation of a traditional rural village for local dishes. The Crescat Shopping Centre and Angsana Spa and gymnasium, are within the hotel compound.
Newly renovated, the Taj Samudra Hotel’s fresh look and facilities are designed to appeal to the modern traveller. A five star business hotel in the heart of Colombo, the Taj Samudra faces the Galle Face Green and the Indian Ocean and is just a stroll away from fashionable shopping areas. Brightly lit interiors and cosy furniture provide a mix of luxury as well as a laid back feeling. There’s a resto-bar with Japanese fusion food and restaurants specialising in Indian, Chinese and European cuisine, helping the hotel deliver an relaxing off-duty experience.
Built as a beachside residence for a governor of colonial Ceylon to entertain his mistress, the history of Mount Lavinia Hotel narrates a tale of romance. Old world charm meets modernity in this colonial building and it is the only hotel in the city with direct beach access. The interior of the hotel is a blend of old and the new, with an enjoyable sense of travelling back in time. The swimming pool terrace has a view of the beach with Colombo city skyline stretching into the distance. The hotel has several restaurants including the beachside Seafood Cove.
The Kingsbury Hotel began life as the Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel in the 1970s but has recently been transformed from top to bottom into a glittery hotel with 229 elegantly furnished rooms with ocean views and an ambience of contemporary charm. The efficiency of the accommodation is supported by numerous restaurants, bars, lounges, meeting rooms and public areas. The Sky Lounge on the roof top is the setting for a great night out overlooking the Indian Ocean, except when it rains since the bar really is open to the sky.
Popularly known as the GOH, this hotel’s history dates from 1837. The exterior and interior of the hotel retains its colonial architecture while the furnishing and décor is vibrant and reflects Sri Lankan art. Its 80 rooms are reminiscent of the colonial age, with modern touches. Because of its grace and style, the GOH serves as a comfortable and affordable contrast to newer and more glamorous city properties. Its highlight is the Harbour Room restaurant with a fascinating bird’s eye view of the port.
Established in 1864, Galle Face Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Asia. With rooms over looking the Indian Ocean, the hotel faces the long green sweep of Galle Face Green popular with the city’s residents as the sun sets. The hotel has been spruced up for the modern era and has two wings, where the wooden and earthy tones impart a sense of comfort and luxury. A leisurely alfresco-style evening at the Sea Spray restaurant, The Verandah or at the Poolside Bar and Terrance is a relaxing and reassuring experience in the city. The 1864 Restaurant in the Regency Wing is for formal dining and matches the splendour of the wing’s ornate rooms and suites. The hotel is currently completing its renovation of its original entrance hall and rooms in the Classic Wing.