Shangri-La, Colombi (Sri Lanka)

What attracted us about the Shangri-La Hotels in the first place is the idea behind their name. “Shangri-La” is the name given to a mythical place by the author James Hilton in his novel Lost Horizon. Imagine an earthly kingdom, isolated from the outside world. Imagine a permanently happy paradise. And imagine being able to visit this place in the heart of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Sounds too good to be true? Well, wait for it, because that’s exactly what we were invited to do by the hotel.

Walking into the reception hall of the Shangri-La in Colombo, we were immediately struck by the high ceilings and glass windows, flooding the space with light. This hallmark of Shangri-La class design is elaborately blended with local Sri Lankan elements, such as water lily chandeliers and cinnamon wood inlaid ceilings.

From the reception hall we find our way into our room through wide-sweeping corridors. Upon walking into our room we noticed the refined materials, such as marble and silk, in calming shades of taupe, turquoise and silver, mixed with local touches, such as elephant statues. A great attention is given to details, as the room comes equipped with speakers, plugs in very convenient locations, James Hilton’s novel and a very comfortable bed. The large and modern bathroom features a walk-in shower and even a bathtub. The centerpiece of the room clearly is the large window, offering a sweeping view of the Beira Lake and the bustling city of Colombo. All of Shangri-La’s 500 rooms and suites feature a grand vista, either of the Lake or the ocean. If you are not in Colombo for pleasure but business, Shangri-La also offers 41 serviced apartments, which also give access to a butler service. Speaking of staff, we found employees at the Shangri-La to be extremely helpful and friendly, reflecting that renowned Sri Lankan hospitality.

After our room inspection we made our way to the public areas. As the hotel features a spa, fitness center conference hall and also – our favourite – an outdoor pool overlooking the sea, you could easily spend a couple of days here escape the city of Colombo. Or, as the hotel has a prime location minutes from the fort area, you can dive straight into the city with a stroll along the Galle Face green or a walkabout through Colombo’s colonial buildings.

Also with regards to food Shangri-La offers international as well as local choices, with a Sri Lankan restaurant, a chocolatier and the hotel’s signature Shang Palace amongst others. For dinner we were invited to try the latter, serving Chinese cuisine. The food was nice, however it was not as authentic as we expected it to be. We particularly enjoyed breakfast in the Horizon Club Lounge, located in the 32nd floor of the hotel. Marvelling at the sea and enjoying a grand choice of international as well as local food definitely gave us a fantastic start to the day.

To sum up, a mix of local and international runs as a theme in the entire hotel in a very refined way, recreating the story of Shangri-La. If you are looking to escape reality, look no further.  We can definitely say that Shangri-La in Colombo lives up to its name and makes us want to explore that earthly kingdom of Shangri-La luxury hotels further.


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