ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 43

Old world charm gets new attraction

By Esther Williams

Galle Face Hotel, a jewel in the crown of Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry added another page to its history on March 19 with the opening of The Regency, their newly refurbished wing as a luxury boutique hotel.

It was just before sunset and the courtyard at the entrance was bedecked with a red carpet, vintage cars, horse drawn carriage – the groom sporting a top hat, live torches, drummers and ladies dressed in period costumes, adding to the atmosphere.

Sipping on Colombo Sunset, a cocktail created specially for the occasion, guests were able to experience the best of both worlds. The warm tones and fruity flavour of the drink that has among its ingredients passion juice, lime juice and ginger ale was apparently made to bring out the personality of the paradise isle’s tropical city.

One of the distinguished guests, Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Adding a delightful touch, the dozen or so mimers mingled with the crowd showing them around. The new South wing boasts an exclusive shopping arcade called the ‘Piazza’ featuring jewellery, perfumes, antiques, a beauty salon, spa and a museum in addition to the 82 rooms that reveal how modern day luxuries have been tastefully incorporated into the Victorian architectural style.

Among the most elegant of suites are the Oceanic Balcony Suite that doubles up as a Honeymooners suite with a central jacuzzi and a rainy shower. Overlooking the sea, resident guests are guaranteed the most glorious of sunsets. The Oceanic Spa Suite is just a good but has a jacuzzi on the balcony and inside the room. Notably all rooms still have their original floor made of Burma teak and the brick walls built in 1864 when the hotel was first opened.

1864 is the fine dining restaurant with the most exquisite atmosphere and lighting. Stripped bare of plaster the brick walls expose the historical elements of the gracious building. The wine cellar housed beneath 1864 is exclusively for wine tasting. With 116 of the best wines from around the world, the cellar has the capacity to store 1500 bottles.

The opening of The Regency at the prestigious Galle Face Hotel that welcomed royalty and heads of states as guests 12 years before Bell patented the telephone included a lavish feast that saw many eminent and distinguished personalities among its guests.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.