1.The crockery at the Amangalla hotel in Galle still carries the hotel’s original name, New Oriental Hotel.
2.Purple lotuses wake and sleep like the guests at the Galle Fort Hotel.
3.The lourves that line the entrance of the Galle Fort Hotel sway.
4. Hotel Deco on 44 in Galle ads some modernist sparkle to the city.
5. The good thing about Sri Lanka’s luxury hotels is that one can afford a meal or two at them, unlike Bombay’s luxury hotels. Here are the Za’atar Grilled Tiger Prawns at the Amangalla in Galle.
6. A drink at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo to recover from the pestering touts and gem salesmen across the city.
7. The facade of the Grand Oriental Hotel on York Street in Colombo.
The sculpture facing the Grand Oriental Hotel, of a young native boy pulling a pipe totting European saheb, should be removed. 8. The post box at the entrance of the Grand Oriental Hotel, that should stay.
Furnishings: The hotels of Galle & Colombo
The grand and boutique hotels of Sri Lanka retain their colonial flavour. Their names, advertisements, signage, the brief tours offered by the hotel management, all suggest that there is a comfort with and a utilisation of the colonial past.
It is these grand and boutique hotels that form the bulk of the higher end hotels in the cities. What could be described as Sri Lanka’s ‘national hotels’, the resort hotels designed by the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, are mainly located on the fringes of main cities or in small towns near main cities, like The Blue Water Hotel in Wadduwa near Colombo and the Jetwing Lighthouse on the edge of Galle.
This landscape has meant that cities in Sri Lanka remain conspicuously colonial while the powerful, private, modern architecture of the independent nation stands like fortresses in the outskirts.
Our third and final post in this guest city series will be on The Dutch Burgher Union in Colombo, which reminded us of Bombay’s Ripon Club.