Sri Lanka: Grande Dame of Colombo’s Hotels Gets a Facelift


The Historic Galle Face Hotel on the waterfront in Colombo, Sri, Lanka, is the oldest hotel East of Suez in continuous operation. Its North Wing reopens following an extensive renovation of its rooms and public areas.

Located in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, the Galle Face Hotel undergoes a 30-month renovation project. It is the oldest hotel in continuous operation East of Suez.

The North Wing of the Galle Face Hotel, which overlooks the Indian Ocean,  has reopened following a 30-month renovation project.

The 72 rooms and suites in the North Wing as well as the lobby, 2 ballrooms, the executive lounge, conservatory, and 3 food and beverage outlets were included in the project.

The North Wing was last renovated in 1970. The South Wing, which had been closed for 4 decades, was reopened in 2006.


As the oldest hotel in continuous operation East of Suez, the Galle Face Hotel started out as a Dutch villa, and much of the wooden furniture in its lobby dates back to the Dutch colonial era.

In 1864, the property was converted into a hotel by 4 British entrepreneurs. It was expanded following the acquisition of additional land between 1903 and 1909.

Monarchs, business tycoons, and Hollywood movie stars have all spent the night at the hotel.

The Guest Book includes the name of such literary notables as Vivien Leigh, who penned “Gone with the Wind”, and Sir Arthur Clarke, who stayed at the hotel for one full year while writing the final chapters of “3001: The Final Odyssey”.

The hotel has an on-site museum. A historian conducts regular tours of the hotel, which is full of artifacts dating back to the late 19th Century.


Guest rooms in the North Wing of the Galle Face Hotel. Photo Credit: Galle Face Hotel.

The hotel has 84 rooms in the South Wing and 72 rooms in the North Wing. They range in size range from 26 square metres (280 square feet) to 60 square metres (645 square feet). Studios have separate living rooms and workspaces.

Twenty-one of the hotel’s guest rooms have private balconies with sweeping views of the Indian Ocean.

There is also a 120 square metre (1,290 square foot) suite, with a 60 square metre (645 square foot) terrace, which sits atop hotel’s carriage porch.


The hotel has 6 food and beverage outlets, including 3 restaurants and 3 bars.

The Traveller’s Bar, The Verandah restaurant, and the Sea Spray restaurant are located in the North Wing.

The hotel’s signature restaurant, 1864, is located in the South Wing. The hotel’s meeting and conference facilities are also located in the South Wing.

Don’t miss afternoon tea on The Verandah or sipping a Pimms while the nation’s flag is lowered to the strains of a bagpipe at sunset at Chequerboard.

The hotel’s spa is currently under renovation. It also has an outdoor, salt water swimming pool with lounge chairs overlooking the Indian Ocean, a and a 24 hour fitness room.


Galle Face Hotel, 2 Galle Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Telephone: +(94) 11 254 1010. 

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