It was late on a rainy night when I arrived at the Kingsbury in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
It was a slow nearly four and a half hours drive from Kandy to Colombo. As it was raining, it made for terrible traffic. But lucky for me, I could sleep while my driver drove :-).
On arrival, the doorman greeted me at the car and offered to take my bags; I told him it was fine (I only had a backpack and two small bags) and walked through the open doors into the lobby thanking him as I made my way in.
I was greeted by a huge flower pot full of perfect red roses; and so I started my two-night comped stay at The five star property called The Kingsbury in the center of Colombo.
48, Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka
- The Kingsbury has their own transportation services; i.e. luxury cars. You can be picked up or dropped off at the airport; whichever you desire. They have a booth in the airport arrivals Lounge. You can make these arrangements by contacting the hotel.
- Naturally, you can always take a cab, either one from the airport; note that the fare from the airport is a bit more than to the airport. There’s also Kangaroo Cabs which is an inexpensive alternative
- Tuk Tuks will drop you right in front of the hotel if this is your desired transportation. As you walk out of the hotel they are all right there.
- The Secretariat Railway station is just about a five to ten minutes walk from the hotel
I identified myself and I was expertly checked in. I was escorted to my room on the 9th floor, the Executive floor. As I walked in, I knew my stay would be great. There was a long corridor that led to the main part of the room. As I rounded the corner I noticed the large King bed with lush white sheets and the large flat screen TV in the background and the view of the ocean from the windows on the left.
I said to the agent; “I don’t like this room.” Immediately he said, “Sir, I will get you another room, come with me.” I laughed and said I was only kidding as the color returned to his face. I was impressed that he did not even ask what was wrong, he just wanted to please me. This was a genuine response from him. Here is a photo of the Suite at this hotel.
Every room has a view of the ocean, how cool is that? And quite a view it is. Depending on which side of the hotel you are on, you can see the city, the waterfront, the ocean or the port. All beautiful views in my opinion.
As their primary audience are business travelers, the electric plug can accommodate almost all countries. Plus there’s high speed Internet access which for me is a major plus.
The bathroom is almost the length of the entire room and has a shower, but no bath; not that I wanted one. I think I’ve only once taken a bath in a hotel where I’ve had both.
Now I did look at an upgraded room; a suite which actually had a bath which looks towards the ocean not that’s a suite :-).
The room also came with its own iron and ironing board, which I did not have the need to use as well as coffee and tea with a closet that had two white bathrobes one of which I did use during my stay. Yeah, I’m a bathrobe kind of guy when I’m at a hotel that supplies them.
Really I could hold a party in this room.
As this hotel is one for business travelers primarily, they have an Executive Lounge which if you are staying on the 9th floor you have access. This is not ordinary Lounge as you have access to a Butler who takes care of all your needs. Plus you have access to breakfast in the Lounge as well as an afternoon Happy Hour.
Check this out: I went in to have a drink during the Happy Hour. It had finished, but he still got me a drink and a quick snack. He also gave me a to go drink and offered to bring it to my room. I told him it was O.K., but he insisted, so I allowed and surely enough he brought me a glass of white wine and some snacks to my room. Outstanding!
So it gets better. I told him I was leaving early in the morning and he arranged everything (except my taxi as I wanted to do that, but he did offer). He asked me what time I wanted my tea. Tea, I said? He said, of course, you’ll want to have something before you leave. He also offered to bring a take away breakfast. Then he asked what time. For kicks and giggles, I said 3:35a instead of 3:30a. And at 3:35a on the nose, there was a knock at my door and it was the Butler with my tea in a to go cup. Really? I was so floored. I’d never had such a treatment in any hotel I’ve ever stayed and I’ve stayed at some really cool places.
Sadly, I never use the pools much at hotels I stay, but I love to have a hotel with a pool. I have the same issue with apartments as well. I can’t explain this at all. The one here is pretty nice and at nights its lit and looks spectacular from above as well as the pool level. So remember to look down when you are at the Sky Lounge; the stars will dazzle you.
What kind of food is your favorite? Well, you are in Sri Lanka, so guess what? You can have Sri Lankan or not. They do have a buffet at the Harbour Court for breakfast and dinner or if you feel like finer dining, try the Ocean Seafood Restaurant or if you want to go Chinese food, try the finely decorated Yue Chuan. Even if you don’t eat here, go check it out; the place is outstanding. Or maybe you just need something sweet from The Cake.
An unusual twist with the buffet is that it goes until 11:30p, which is great if you’ve been out late but I suggest going earlier for better service. I dined both nights about 10:00p, unintentionally and found that the waiters were not as attentive as they should be. They were distracted with other chores. So, I actually spoke about this on the survey I received after my stay and the Hotel General Manager responded to me personally advising that he’d addressed my comments with the Director of Food & Beverage. I’m pretty impressed by that.
This is why if you have an issue at any hotel always talk to the Manager at that time or mention it on your post-stay survey. Any proper hotel will have a post-stay survey. It is very important that you fill these out.
I’m a big fan of tea and having High Tea. I did have High Tea in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, so its a must to have High Tea whenever it offered. The area designated, The Cake Restaurant, was full as there was a large group, so I had tea in the nearby Kings Lobby Bar which was actually cool. I totally enjoyed it.
Conference Center/Wedding Venue
If you’re interested in hosting a conference or a wedding then The Kingsbury is one of the places in Colombo to consider. They perhaps have the longest conference room table I’ve ever seen.
My favorite place in the whole hotel although it was raining when I went up there is the Sky Lounge. It’s a Lounge at the top of the hotel where you can see the city as well as the port and look out at the ocean. I felt like the city was mine when I was up there.
There are also the Kings and another outdoor bar called The Score with big screen TVs where you can watch the games if you so desire or just having a drink and watch the waves as its right outside and on the seashore side of the hotel.
Oh, lest I forget, there’s one at the Pool as well in case you want a drink and don’t want to go inside the hotel.
The Gingerbread House
During my stay, I saw the staff actually build a gingerbread house from scratch. This was pretty impressive. I actually ate a piece of the gingerbread as it really was baked by the chefs. Who actually also put it together using confectioners sugar. Way cool!
The parts of my trip I always hate, but they are a necessary evil. I had a very early check out as I was catching a flight at 5:40a to The Maldives. After having my tea delivered at 3:35a, I headed downstairs as my cab was scheduled to arrive at 3:45a. Check out was brief; I settled my bill received my receipt and departed. As it turns out, I had forgotten my to go breakfast; bummer.
Obviously, I loved it! I mean, what’s not to like, ocean views, lovely staff, lovely food, the rooftop bar, should I go on? Oh yes I should, the Butler at the Lounge.
Would I stay there again? In a heartbeat of course :-).
- One “High Tea” per person per stay (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every evening) – Stays must be three nights or more from March 1, 2015 to August 31, 2015
- Two rounds of beer at Sky Lounge per person per stay – Stays must be three nights or more from March 1, 2015 to August 31, 2015
And to encourage you to return as I know you will, on your second and subsequent visits within a year, you’ll receive an upgrade to higher room category based on availability or complimentary Breakfast; your choice. If its available, I’d choose the upgrade if I were you :-); although the Sri Lankan breakfast is like nothing you’ve ever had; unless you’ve visited Sri Lanka before :-).