Shangri-La introduces its brand of refined hospitality to Colombo with unprecedented design, comfort and views — and a level of luxury that raises the stakes for the hotel industry in the whole of Sri Lanka.
A wind of change is sweeping the capital. The spirit of the new and the exciting is embodied by the billion-dollar Port City project, which is set to become an eye-catching urban centre rivalling other top cities in Asia. One of the first new skyscrapers here is Shangri-La Colombo, opened in December 2017. It’s a sleek, multi-storey building overlooking the new development and the sea beyond.
Splendour and retro booths
As we drove along the Galle Face seafront and the car turned to the hotel’s driveway, the brilliant sun gleamed off the facade of the building, seemingly in a greeting. We wondered, perhaps it was just a hint of the things inside?
The first impressions as we walked in were that of a comfortable space with interiors striking the perfect balance between the grand and the cosy. The designers crafted a style that expresses both the ardency of a new project and the confidence of a mature luxury brand. Set in hues of bronze and gold, the lobby and the adjacent areas have a distinct “Shangri-La style” of refined luxury with hints of true splendour.
The restaurants entice with character and creative ideas — and the most interesting among them is Capital Bar & Grill. It’s designed as a classic American roadside diner, with the striking retro-style blue booths, and an excellent grill and steak menu to match.
Our favourite restaurant was the beautiful Kaema Sutra, focused on Sri Lankan flavours and style. We loved its themed furniture and décor, especially the wall adorned with the traditional masks. And the meal of crustaceans we had for dinner was simply excellent.
The style of the guest accommodation is subtle and elegant. Well-crafted furniture and decor using marble, silk and light wood all contribute to the sophisticated luxury of the bedrooms. High-end technology, including fast free Wifi, as well as services of a personal butler, complement the comfort of the suites. To top it all off, the rooms higher up come with a great view either of the city or the harbour and sea.
We checked-in to one of the rooms in the Horizon Club category. These have a range of benefits, including access to the exclusive club lounge. Breakfasts in a private setting and daily afternoon snacks are offered here, but the lounge is also a great space to pop in for a drink or just relax at any time of the day.
What makes the difference
The hotel seduced us with the elegance of its interior design, with excellent restaurants, and with the great service in particular. The staff clearly feels proud of being part of the Shangri-La Colombo family, and the level of their training is matched only by the eagerness to create the best possible experience for their guests. This really made a difference.
Shangri-La Colombo was our first stop in a long journey in Sri Lanka, and we couldn’t shake off the feeling that the stay here was too short.