South Asia’s grande dame, the Galle Face Hotel, celebrated the completion of two years since the historic renovation of the property. The thirty-month refurbishment was the first of this scale in the hotel’s 150-year legacy.
The restoration project covered the North Wing’s 72 rooms and suites, restaurants, bars, lobby, ballrooms and executive lounge. The renovation was the most significant ever for the iconic property, which was opened in 1864 by four British entrepreneurs. Its North Wing’s rooms were completely reimagined for the 21st century. An ocean view executive lounge, The Long Room, spanning 25 metres, was added for well-heeled suite guests. A new conservatory with towering arched doors now links the Grand Ballroom with the Jubilee Ballroom.
“We are delighted to be celebrating two years since our restoration. It was a huge and challenging project. We had to complete it to perfection while preserving the hotel as a heritage property and yet upgrading it to modern standards,” remarked Deni Ohlsen-Dukic, General Manager of Galle Face Hotel. The restoration focused on all the rooms and brought back each with striking new interiors and classic mahogany furnishings. Stylish grey marble adorn the bathroom walls. Private balconies with view of the sea now extend out from 21 rooms. The room sizes range from 26 square metres (280 square feet) to 60-square- metre (645 square feet) studios with a separate living room and workspace.
Many sources point to the Galle Face as the oldest hotel east of Suez still in operation today. Its handwritten guest book includes a long list of heads of state and royalty as well as popular figures like Vivien Leigh of ‘Gone with the Wind’ fame. Sir Arthur C Clarke spent a year living in the hotel while writing the final chapters of ‘3001: The Final Odyssey’.
The hotel, since its beginnings in 1864, has been a heritage property. With the completion of this historic restoration, the Galle Face Hotel has endeavoured to celebrate its rich history while catering to tomorrow’s traveller and continues to stand as one of the most storied hotels in Asia.