I was extremely impressed with the facilities, service, and amenities at the Shangri-La Colombo. This hotel is easily the best in Colombo and well worth the small premium over other upscale properties in town.
Sadly for the hotel and for Sri Lanka, the hotel was like a ghost town. Throughout my stay, I saw very few other guests. Sri Lanka was recently rocked by violence and has experienced varying degrees of civil unrest for years. This hotel was specifically targeted violence in April early this year. That’s really not a good thing, but it was nice to have a luxury hotel essentially to myself…
Shangri-La Colombo Security
Let’s start with security, because many of you have asked me about this. I felt very secure here. I took an Uber from the airport to the hotel. When we arrived, our car was carefully checked at the base of a long driveway to the hotel. After checking the passenger compartment, trunk, and under the car with mirrors, a barricade was opened and we were allowed to drive up to the lobby.
There, before entering the lobby, I was screened (along with my baggage) airport style.
The hotel common areas have several CCTV cameras. It felt like a fortress…a very stylish fortress.
Shangri-La Colombo Guest Rooms
I booked with American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, which included a room upgrade. Upon check-in, I was informed that I had been upgraded to an oceanview room.
The room was beautiful, though it appears Colombo is constructing a man-made island like you see in Dubai just across the street from the hotel. It was a hot and muggy, but the air conditioning in the room worked perfectly. The room was “standard” in size, but roomy with a very comfortable bed and a comfortable workspace.
The bathroom had nice stonework and included a separate shower and bathtub plus amenities from Spa Ceylon that I did not particularly care for (scent wise).
Opening a drawer, I found all sorts of additional goodies:
Shangri-La Colombo Club Horizon Lounge
The hotel was so empty it seemed that all guests have been given access to the Horizon Club (club lounge), which was the only hotel venue other than room service offering breakfast.
Shortly after arrival, I headed upstairs to the lounge and enjoyed a nice breakfast. A cold buffet offered breakfast favorites from around the world and eggs and other items were cooked to order. There was a high staff to guest ratio, meaning drink glasses were kept full and plates were promptly cleared away. The coffee was disappointing, but I found much better coffee in the lobby café later in the day.
I returned the lounge around midday for a cold drink. Beverages and light snacks were available all day.
While I almost slept through it (the cursed Sunday afternoon nap), I was very pleased with the evening spread. Not only was there a very decent spread of food (enough for dinner, and I’m not ashamed to admit that), but unlimited complimentary alcohol as well.
Thus, the unexpected access to Horizon Club made for a very nice upgrade to my stay.
Shangri-La Colombo Booking via American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
I booked my stay for $165/night through the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program and it came with a $100 spa credit…talk about a great deal.
Do look into Virtuoso or American Express FHR when booking this property. Having early check-in, late check-out, free breakfast, a room upgrade, and a $100 spa credit really made the stay worthwhile.
Shangri-La Colombo Spa
Speaking of the spa, I used $75 of my resort credit to enjoy a wonderful 90-minute full body massage. My treatment began with a cold towel and tea. Then I was led into the treatment room. My spa technician was very kind and the treatment was soothing but also helped to iron out some knots in my upper back.
Shangri-La Colombo Fitness + Wellness + Pool
Just outside the spa is the fitness center and pool. Even the pool was not all that crowded and I had the entire fitness center to myself. In fact, it felt a little akward because two of the attendants just watched me workout…
But the equipment is all new and very nice…there is so much to keep you occupied.
After my workout, I wanted to use the sauna and steam room, which was located in the male locker room. Once again, here in particular, I felt a little self-concious. Here I was sitting naked in the sauna, steam room, and then jacuzzi and the attendant was just sort of standing there keeping an eye on me. #awkward
Shangri-La Colombo Coffee + Dining
I mentioned I did not like the coffee very much up in the lounge. Luckily for me, there was much better coffee available downstairs. I enjoyed a nice cappuccino and appreciated the fine china it was served in.
Other restaurants include the Capital Bar & Grill (the U.S. steakhouse chain) and Kaema Sutra, which offers food but is really more of a lounge/bar.
I highly recommenced this hotel property and found it a much nicer hotel than the nearby Hilton. I was sorry my stay was only one night and will head directly back here next time I am in town.
> Read More: Hilton Colombo Review