Over the two weeks of our journey in Sri Lanka, I slept in a number of different places from upright in a crowded train carriage from Colombo, to a beach by the surf on the south coast. We stayed in guest houses that would have collapsed in the slightest wind, to Bed and Breakfasts that could have shown up in a Forbes magazine.
We ate from every imaginable food cart and roadside stop without getting sick – that is until I suggested that we spend our last night in the luxury of the Galle Face Hotel. Don’t let that put you off, I’m fairly certain the terrible illness that I brought home the day after we left the hotel and the country was unrelated, however the timing will always link my agony with this beautiful place.
This five star hotel sits directly to the south of the Galle Face Green on the waterfront in Colombo, and it is one of the more historic places to stay in the city – particularly if luxury is your aim.
The hotel was originally a Dutch villa before it was converted into a hotel in 1864 and the colonial grandeur is easy to see. From croquet on the lawn to an oceanfront pool, the hotel may be dwarfed by the multi-story monoliths around it, however there is really no competition if you want to feel like you are a part of Sri Lankan colonial history. The rooms were grand and lovely, however I barely remember them. The thing that would bring me back to The Galle Face Hotel are the grounds. We sat on the airy balconies sipping drinks well into the evening, swam in the pool overlooking the ocean, and generally meandered about well into the evening; and despite the case of giardia I picked up in time to be quarantined about an hour after I arrived home in Perth, I’d return in a heartbeat.