History Galle Face
Walk! It is good for your health!

Galle Face

2014 update about renovation below!

Doorman Kuttan is among the longest serving employees in the world (left). Dear Cyril Gardiner; Maybe you have changed my life. After living for years in air-conditioned Singapore, used to enter lift cabins pressing the "shut-the-door"-button before anything else, landing at the Galle Face Hotel was a relief from the hectic day-to-day life of the Lion City. "Why don't you walk up the stairs?" Cyril asked me. "It's good for your health!" You have made this a principle of this hotel, and wooden boards still display your philosophy on each floor of the hotel, cleverly placed next to the lift doors. Now there is this modern wing with great comfort and all modern amenities you can ask for, and the old wing where we all used to stay - and which we all love so much! Devoted to the history of his hotel, your son Sanjeev has established a museum at the hotel, exhibiting hotel's memorabilia including the car of Prince Philip, which he had used upon his visit to the island. Whenever there is a lift in sight, with a staircase not to far away, I still quote you, and take the stairs. Missing image Upon a journey from Singapore to Zurich, at the Galle Face Hotel, I opened my first Windows lap-top computer and learned (but never understood) to operate Disc Drive A; I have long forgotten all the DOS commands, and am a devoted Apple user ever since. I remember the sea front with its undivided Ocean view; the chess board tiled floor on the lawn in the court yard – the preferred venue for cocktails, breakfasts and afternoon teas. Andreas Augustin (Still taking the stairs) P.S.: Cyril Gardiner passed away in 1996, ten years after we had first met. His son Sanjeev is today in charge of the hotel. Under his reign the new Regency Wing took on shape, the contemporary luxurious South wing of the hotel, serving the needs of the discerning business traveller and sophisticated holiday maker. With great care he had preserved the historic air of the Galle Face Hotel, supported by Lalith Rodrigo, who had managed the hotel fordecades. If we can judge leaders by their advisors, the Galle Face hasn't just got a great history, but certainly a splendid future.

In 2014, The iconic Galle Face Hotel has embarked on a restoration project of its Classic Wing, originally built in 1864. The ambitious restoration project is designed to preserve the grandeur and romance of the magnificent property while upgrading and modernising the quality of guest facilities, amenities and services. The Classic Wing is scheduled to reopen to guests in late 2014 while the Regency Wing will continue to operate as usual throughout the restoration. 

Established in 1864 it soon became one of the most exquisite hotels east of Suez. The Galle Face has been hailed as a masterpiece of Victorian Architecture. It resembles a stately home facing the Indian Ocean and as a charming hangover of colonial manners and services. For almost a century it was the focal point of British colonial life style in the island. The hotel has been patronized by some of the most famous names of the 20th century and the granite plaque in the lobby gives a list of some of these persons i.e. Don Bradman, Indira Gandhi, Imran Khan, Alfred Karupp. The hotel is essentially updated as we enter the new Millennium. The rooms are all air-conditioned and have modern amenities, including attached bath rooms, etc, but the old magic remains – No wonder many writers have exclaimed that the GFH is one of the few un-spoilt hotels, left in the world. The hotel, having survived the 19th and 20th centuries is now set to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In 2005 the new Regency Wing opened, its features are all explained on this website. THE MOST FAMOUS HOTELS IN THE WORLD are conducting research about the history of the hotel, as a result this database will be updated on a regular base.
Ths list is endless: To name but a few, here we have Richard Nixon, Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Neru, Emperor Hirohito, Don Bradman, Roger Moore and the legend Yuri Gagarin. And that is what they have said: Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan: "Happiness is the Galle Face Hotel" Lord Mayor - Brisbane Sally Anne Atkinson: "7 days at the Galle Face Hotel was bliss. To stay longer would be heaven, an exalted state to which I'm aiming" Business Traveller Alan Moores: "If the Galle Face Hotel (Asia's Emareld on the Green - Grande dame of Serendib) endures it is largely due to the charm and sagacity of its venerable Chairman Cyril Gardiner" Pakistani Prime Minister Ali Bhutto: "It was a great pleasure for me to return to this famous Hotel after 13 Years" Australian Business Review Weekly's (BRW) Eric Ellis: "Forward letter to Cyril Gardiner - he will reply in the most gracious language". The GFH has nothing of the impersonal sameness of the Hiltons, Hyatts and the Sheratons. London "Independent": "It is worth visiting Sri Lanka just to see the Galle Face Hotel" Simon Winchester: "No wonder the Galle Face is regarded with such affection all around the world" journalist Simon Winchester wrote on his own experience "So pleasant a change from the dreary ordinariness of most modern hotels. This is an Island of charm on a charming Island."
Image "HIGH TEA & FASHION" turns the legendary Verandah Bar into a catwalk for Singhalese models and fashion. ***** Doorman Kuttan is at the hotel since 1942. He still remembers (and tells the story with great gestures) the day when - during World War II - a Japanese Zero fighter grounded in front of the hotel on the large green field, called the Galle Face. ***** From "The Island" On-Line Octogenarian Kottarapattu Chatthu Kuttan is undoubtedly one of the oldest serving employees in the hospitality industry in the world. Kuttan was felicitated by the Tourism Ministry last week at a simple ceremony chaired by Deputy Tourism Minister Faizer Musthapha last week. Eighty eight year old Kuttan who belongs to a dying breed of employees has served the Galle Face Hotel loyally and diligently since the days of the British Raj and recently completed his 66th year at the hotel. An emotional Kuttan, who migrated to Sri Lanka in 1938 from Kerala, broke down and said "My master treats me well and the Galle Face Hotel has done a lot for me since I arrived here." I have grown old with the Galle Face Hotel and I know its history like the back of my palm," he said. Deputy Minister Faizer Musthapha said that Kuttan is an icon and the hospitality industry should be proud of legends like him. "We always have to recognise people who deserve recognition and Kuttan is one of them. He is a living example to others in the industry," the Deputy Minister noted. Kuttan recalled his journey to Ceylon "When I left my village in the state of Kerala with three others in search of greener pastures I was only a teenager," he said. Explaing the emigration procedures in that era passports and visa’s were not necessary to visit Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). "I had only IRs 25 in my hands and we boarded a steamer from Cochin and arrived in Talaimannar," Kuttan recalled. After reaching Colombo by train we parted. For a short time I worked for few gentlemen and finally one Mr De Saram, grand father of the late Srimani Athulathmudali, the former Cabinet minister introduced me to the General manger of the Galle Face Hotel. "Since then I have had a rewarding career at the hotel," Kuttan said. As long as God permits me I will continue to serve The Galle Face Hotel he added. Kuttan spoke with gratitude of the Late Cyril Gardiner, the former Chairman of the hotel and his son the present Chairman Sanjiv Gardiner. He was also full of praise of Lalith Rodrigo, Director of the Galle Face Hotel Company, himself one of the oldest employees of the hotel having served the institution for as long as 38 years . Lalith Rodrigo said Kuttan is a living legend and when he was to retire from the job and I in consultation with the late Cyril Gardiner got him to continue. There is no guest who has visited the hotel and left without posing for a photograph with him and Kuttan’s photograph and the story has appeared in world’s leading travel magazines and journals and he virtually became a newsmaker overnight and brought a lot of publicity for the hotel and the country he pointed out. - Haris

Lalith Rodrigo Esq.
Josephine Anders
Rajiv Khanna
Chandra Mohotti (current)

84 rooms and suites Rooms
Missing image Royal Suites These suites are probably the largest in any hotel in the city. The rooms offer the guest a magnificent direct view of the Indian Ocean. They are air-conditioned, and equipped with a mini-bar, refrigerator, TV and IDD telephone facilities. Direct sea view with the a/c, T.V. attached private bathroom with the hot/cold water, hair drier and local/IDD facilities direct from the room.
Missing image After having taken a photograph with doorman legend Kuttan, retire to the garden where a stunning view awaits you. Stunning Sunsets ******** Experience a typical English high tea on the Veranda facing the sea and enjoy the dramatic Indian Ocean sunset with a cocktail.. ******** Enjoy dramatic Sunsets with your cocktails. At the Galle Face Hotel there is no escaping a spectacular Sunset. And there's no better way to drink-in nature's splendour than to relax with one of Galle Face Hotel's bestseller cocktails. A popular spot is the Checkered Floor area in the open air in the centre of the garden Missing image Later experience the new Wione Lounge: Leading off from the main lobby of the Galle Face Hotel - Regency, the Wine Lounge is designed to pay tribute to the hotel's grand history. Inspired by elements of nature, its teak wood floors and wall panelling set the tone. The unusual blend of fabrics used in the interior design, the lighting in fire colours of red, orange and yellow, and the spectacular view combine to create a mood of elegance and intimate luxury. The music is ethnic, and chosen to create a sense of haunting mystique unique to Galle Face Hotel. Missing image The Wine Lounge is more than a place to savour your favourite vintage with friends. It is a lifestyle experience for lovers of fine wines, cheeses and cigars. . The hotel now has its own museum, with the car Prince Philip had when he visited.
Galle Face Hotel Spa, a 20,000 sq. ft. spa inclusive of Colombo's largest saltwater swimming pool and gymnasium
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Our Select Member Hotel

Galle Face
Country: Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Opening date: 1864

Note from the Host

General Manager Chandra Mohotti

Coordinates

2, Galle Road
3 Sri Lanka, Colombo

Tel: 941 12541010/16 (941) 12543565/77
Fax: (941) 12541072/74

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