Highlights: World class service, space to relax, luxurious rooms and gorgeous views of the Indian ocean.
I checked in to a premier ocean view room for 5 nights stay at the newly opened Shangri-la hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka (May 2018).
Check-in: As a Golden Circle member (which anyone can enrol) I used their mobile app to book and check-in. I highly recommend check-in using the mobile as this will considerably reduce the time spent at the reception when you arrive.
Up on arrival, I was welcomed by a lot of smiley Sri Lankan faces and I immediately felt comfortable. At the reception, I was taken care by the duty manager who quickly checked me into a high floor, upon my request. Overall, the check-in process was quick and convenient one. As I was walking towards the lift, I felt that all the front house staff were well trained and competent at their jobs.
Luxurious and large Lobby: Shangri-la has spared no expenses in the lobby area. The lobby area is shining with all marble floors and it had a real luxurious feeling which I haven’t experienced any other hotels in Colombo. As you can see from the picture below, the lobby area is huge and beautiful.
Lobby Bar (s) and entertainment: Shangri-la Colombo has two lobby bars and I felt engaged throughout my stay as the hotel offered a good level of entertainment throughout the hotel. I really enjoyed sitting at the lobby bar closest to the main entrance and listening to the pianist each night. Also, if you are an in-house guest, you do not necessarily have to buy a drink to sit there. There is another bar called Kaema Sutra on the on the 4th floor and usually, they have a live DJ there.
Capital Bar & Grill, which is the other bar on the ground floor, play live Jazz music every night until midnight and I really enjoyed sitting there. The atmosphere here is completely different to the lobby bar(Sapphyr Lounge).
Room:I stayed in a Premier ocean view King on the 19th floor. Deluxe ocean view rooms(slightly cheaper than premier) are on the 5th and 6th floor. So my advice is to spend £10 more and stay in a Premier ocean view to see this fantastic views.
Premier Ocean View
Good to know: Premier ocean view (twin) rooms only offer partial Seaview.
Shangri-la Colombo rooms have all marble bathroom and entrance which I really liked. This gave the room its luxurious feel. Good to know: because I booked using the app and stayed in a Premier Ocean King, I was offered a welcome fruit basket
The room was nicely decorated and I liked the level of detail which has gone to it. The floor to ceiling class panels enabled me to see the fantastic views of the Indian ocean but it was also interesting being able to see the “port City project” on to my right.
The sitting area became very handy and well thought. The chairs were comfy and a good spot to watch the sunset and the busy roads of Colombo. Also, there were plenty of plugs/charging points (suitable for European AC adaptors) were conveniently allocated throughout the room.
Bed and cleaning: The bed was very comfy and big. The housekeeping staff did a great job each day and they serviced the room twice, once in the noon and once in the night.
Shower and bathroom: Many of you who read my blog know that shower and bathroom is one the most important thing for me in a hotel room and I expect high standards. For me the bathroom and the shower at Shangri-la Colombo were great. The shower had a very good water-flow creating a rain shower feeling. This was a walk-in shower and had plenty of space too.
Video of the shower
Overall, the bathroom was a nice size, offering everything I needed.
The highlight for me was the marble of course, but I wished that Shangri-la had put a glass window between the room and the bathroom so whilst having a shower I could have seen the ocean. If that was the case, I would say the bathroom experience would have been wonderful. As far as I know, the only shower room which has direct ocean view is Movenpick in Colombo and you can read that review Here.
Pool area, gym and Spa: Pool area has a bar and you can see the ocean from here. There is no deep end which is great too. The gym is one of the best, and had everthing I need from free weights to machines. In the gym, you can find complimentary towels, water and fruits. Spa cost around 16,000 rupees for 60 minutes which I though overpriced in Sri Lanka. So I went to Ceylon spa which was 8,500 rupees for 90 minutes’ massage. There is a Spa Ceylon around 10 minutes walk or 3 minutes tuk-tuk journey and I got the complimentary tuk-tuk service from Shangri-la
Restaurants and food: The hotel has a number of places you can eat. the 32nd-floor horizon club is only for the club guests.
Most days I ordered room service because I wanted to enjoy my meal whilst watching the ocean. On otherhand, it was convenient for me and per mean it did not cost me more thatn£7. The service was excellent and standard of the food was good too. However, only in one occation the food was not good as it was on a previous day, but I made sure that they know about it.
Tip: Try the chicken fried rice and black port curry. But ask them to make it authentically Sri Lankan.
Food and view pictures
What’s missing: I was surprised to find no coffee machine in the room. I think offering instant coffee is not a sign of luxury and I drinking instant coffee anyways. So I really hope they will include a coffee machine in their room in the future.
Service: I fund the service to be world class. Considering Shangri-la was open few months ago, the staff were well trained and looked after me very well. Everyone spoke good level of English and went out their way to accommodate me. I did change rooms 2 times and they gladly accomdated my requests.
Photo of leaving gift.
In Summary: I loved my stay and will be back next time when I’m in Sri Lanka. I loved premioer Ocean view rooms and it felt luxurious, offered fantastic view. The shower was faboulus, although it would have been nice to see the ocean from the shower room. One of the main highlight for me was the world class service they offered.
FYI: End of 2018, Ritz-Carlton will be opening their first hotel in Sri Lanka. This will be behind Hilton hotel Colombo, 2. I’m a fan of Ritz- Carlton and I love their service. So it would interesting to see if I’d love Ritz as much I did with Shangri-la.
Ultimate privacy in Colombo, but 1 night is more than enough for me
I liked Tintagel Hotel for offering privacy at the heart of Colombo. I was pleased to stay at a residence designed by Geoffrey Bawa’s who also designed parliament building and other famous buildings in Sri Lanka.
The hotel is quiet and does not offer much entertainment but feels like you are living in your own home.
Location: Paradise Road Tintagel hotel is based in Colombo 7 in an elite neighbourhood. If you fancy going outside to eat, the nearest shop is about 7-10 minutes walk. Around 7.30pm, we took a walk to the nearest shop as we wanted to experience authentic Sri Lankan food. It was a nice walk through the residential neighbourhood and was safe. The location for me was okay, as I felt staying around Colombo 2 (Galle Face Green) area let me explore Colombo more conveniently.
Lobby: Nicely arranged lobby area and loved the decor
Sitting area in the lobby
Room amenities and bed: We particularly liked the colonial style decor throughout our room and the room was a really good size. Rooms are generally darker than other hotel rooms I’ve stayed in (I guess it’s the style). They have used dark painting and dark wood to create a more relaxing atmosphere. However, this for me was too dark, especially in the night.
Sitting area(daytime picture)
bathroom and shower: Bathroom was nice and big. Loved the walk-in shower.
Swimming pool and entertainment: This is a boutique hotel and offers 10 rooms. The swimming pool was just next to our room which was great. When we used the pool, there was no one else was using it, otherwise, it could have been a little bit crowded.
In regards to entertainment, the hotel has a small size lobby bar and that’s it.
Breakfast: If you’d like to try Sri Lankan breakfast, you need to order the night before. There is a leaflet in your room stating this but it’s worthwhile double checking this with the front-house staff to make sure you get your breakfast. It would have been courteous from the front house staff if they had told us that we needed to order Sri Lanka breakfast night before rather than leaving us to our own devices. At the breakfast table, you need to order food from a menu and this not a buffet style.
Finally: This is not my type of hotel.The property was lacking in entertainment and the location was not perfect for me. I wish the rooms could be a little bit more brighten up. I felt isolated and 1 night is more than enough here.
Choose here to see fantastic views of the Indian ocean, and have one of the best shower experience.
I stayed at Movenpick towards the end of 2017 and it was a great experience (view wise). However, the hotel lacks in entertainment and the lobby was small and disappointing.
Location:Movenpick hotel is in a central location. My reason for staying here is because of the sea view (the beach is about 10 minutes walk from the hotel). Just 5 minutes from the hotel there is a place called Rajabojun, a Sri Lanka buffet at a reasonable price and probably the tastiest buffets in Colombo. I also dined at Ministry of Crab and I took a taxi which took around 20 mintues.
Room: I stayed in a Sea view room and it offered amazing views of the Indian ocean. If you are brave enough you can see the uninterrupted views of Indian ocean whilst having a shower 😉
View from the shower(wet room)
I absolutely loved the strong water flow of this shower. Probably one of the best showers I’ve ever had!
The room was big and had everything I wanted. There was no evening turndown service but frankly, I didn’t need it because I spent most of the day in my room looking at this gorgeous view. Average price for a Sea view room is about £160 per night with breakfast.
Rooftop bar and infinity swimming pool: The swimming pool was quiet throughout the day which was nice. As you can see from the picture below, swimming pool area also offers great views which are very similar to what you can see from a sea view room. The swimming pool and the rooftop bar is on the same floor so might not the best place if you are looking for a swimming pool with privacy.
View from the pool
The rooftop bar was not busy three days I stayed here so I felt a bit uninspired. Maybe it’s because I stayed here in November which is considered to be the offseason for tourism. However, given it’s a Friday and a Saturday night you would expect it to be a busy bar which it wasn’t. Places like Kingsbury and Cinnamon grand are always busy on a Friday and Saturday.
Check-in experience and service: The overall check-in experience was excellent. I was served by well trained and friendly front house staff and they accommodated me with my requests. In my experience, everyone at the hotel provided excellent service.
Disappointing Lobby area: Movenpick Colombo has a tiny lobby area which is disappointing.
Breakfast: The selection of food at the breakfast was limited. I think the best Sri Lanka breakfast I’ve ever had was at Mount Lavinia Hotel
Final verdict: Monepick rooms offer some of the best views of the Indian Ocean(I’m yet to stay in Shangri-la Colombo). You cannot beat the views and the quality of the shower. However, I was disappointed with the compact size of the lobby. Finally, the rooftop bar was quiet and did not inspire me. I will stay here again, only for the views and excellent service but nothing else.
Good size room, good views from the bar upstairs, overpriced and lack in entertainment.
View from the rooftop bar
Good location: Jetwing Colombo 7 is just in front of a supermarket and the town centre is about 7 minutes walk from the hotel. The town centre is called “Union Street” which is a busy area. We walked in the night to the town and had some fabulous Sri Lankan food for a very cheap price.
Rooms: I really enjoyed the size of the room. They were big, airy and light. However, make sure you ask for a room with bathtub and views of the bay.
We were first given a room overlooking the “slum-like” area and it was not the best view. On our request, they gave us a room facing the other way. The views were okay at best so if you are looking for fantastic views, I would suggest Movenpick Colombo. You can see that review Here
The room we stayed had a walking shower(wet room) and also had a large bathtub. The bathroom was big enough for two people at one time.The water pressure from the shower is good and I enjoyed my shower. Unfortunately, there were no marbles to be seen in the bathroom.
Service: Good service and well-trained staff.
Lack of entertainment: The lobby is fairly small with few seats around the check-in area. I did not see a lobby bar which I would expect from a “5-star” hotel and this was disappointing. The rooftop bar offers great views. However, the nights we stayed here, the bar was so quieter and I’m not sure if I would come back here.
Avarage price is around £110 per night without breakfast: I personally think this hotel is overpriced. You can get the same views (maybe smaller rooms) at Cinamon Red (near Movenpick) which is half of what you would pay at Jetwing.
I love this hotel’s location. Mount Lavinia Hotel is the only hotel in Colombo which offers a very large private beach. The hotel offers great views of the Indian ocean and peaceful environment to relax. However, the rooms are outdated and need an upgrade.
Mount Lavinia hotel was built during the British reign and once used as a hospital in the second world war. The building from outside looks gorgeous and it’s one of the top wedding destinations in Sri Lanka. The hotel is keeping its colonial past as the hotel staff wear traditional attire that would have worn during the Brtish reign.
Location: The hotel is situated around 30 minutes taxi journey from the city of Colombo and offers peaceful settings. Therefore stay here only if you want to enjoy the beach within Colombo. Due to the location, you might also feel a bit isolated so I would suggest a maximum 2 days is good enough here. Mount Lavinia (town) is a residential area with a busy township. You can walk to the town within 15 minutes or take a taxi. The walk is quite safe although it is much easier to take a tuk-tuk. Last time I took a tuk-tuk, I think it cost me around 100 Sri Lankan rupees(£0.50P).
Tip: It is notoriously hard to find a “metered tuk-tuk” outside the hotel. If you need to get a metered tuk-tuk you might need to order one via a local app service.
Lobby: I liked the size of the entrance and the lobby which is completed in marble. One of the favourite things I like to do when I’m here is to sit down in the lobby bar and listen to live piano music whilst watching the distance sea. Note: Piano sessions only start from the evenings.
Rooms and bed: I stayed at Sea View Room and it offered a direct view of the Indian ocean and it was one of the best sea views you’ll see in the Colombo. The room also had a small balcony which I found very handy in the evening when I wanted to have a cuppa and watch the sun go down. However, the rooms are old and need an upgrade. The carpets need to be replaced because they are out of fashion.
Bathroom and shower: Bathroom was a similar size to one that you would get in Cinnamon grand(Read that review here). Not a large bathroom and it’s not modern either. There is no walk-in shower. However, whilst having a shower you can see the ocean which is a bonus, although you get a much better view at Movenpick(See that review here).
Tip: During the offseason, the colour of the sea becomes darker and muddy. Therefore to enjoy the best sea view, stay here from December to April or Jun to August.
Here is the view from the room
Good Service and lack of amenities: I found the service at Mount Lavinia to be excellent. There are no considerable amenities offered at this property.
Swimming pool and Entertainment: Swimming pool is on the 2nd floor of the building next to dining area so not much privacy. Usually, they have a live band every evening on the 2nd floor and this area gets busy and lively.
Watching the sunset from the bar
Very good Breakfast: Mount Lavinia offers a buffet Sri Lanka breakfast and it is one of the best breakfast I’ve tried. The quality and the choices of food is overwhelming.
Final verdict: This is not a luxury hotel nor a budget hotel. You will not find fine marbles in your room but the rooms are a good size. Usually, the price per night with breakfast here is between £60 to £90 which is not bad if you just want enjoy a peaceful beach closer to the city of Colombo.