South Asia's Leading Grande Dame, the Gall Face Hotel is testimony to both Sri Lanka's colonial past and its independent present. The hotel was originally built by four British entrepreneurs in 1864. Its name derives from the stretch of lawn which it faces, known as the Galle Face Green. It began as a Dutch villa called Galle Face House. Land for the hotel's expansion was purchased between 1870 and 1894. In 1894, the most renowned architect of the time, Thomas Skinner completed its current South wing, and the property has remained largely unchanged until the present day, though with many extensive restorations.
Mignonne Fernando and The Jetliners regularly entertained guests at the Coconut Grove, the night club attached to the hotel. The venue was even popularised in a song. Radio Ceylon recorded music programmes from the Coconut Grove as well as the Galle Face Hotel itself, presented by some of the popular Radio Ceylon announcers in the 1950s and 1960s, such as Livy Wijemanne and Vernon Corea.Thousands listened to the broadcasts, particularly 'New Year's Eve' dances from the Galle Face Hotel.
D.G. William (known as 'Galle Face William'), the Lanka Sama Samaja Party trade union leader, first worked and organised workers here. The Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke wrote the final chapters of 3001 - The Final Odyssey in the hotel.
The hotel also employed the world's oldest hospitality industry veteran and doorman, Kottarapattu Chattu ("K.C.") Kuttan. Joining the hotel as a bell boy cum waiter in 1942, he continued to serve until his demise on 18 November 2014.
In April 2013, the North wing of the hotel, began its refurbishment. In November 2014, It was announced by its new General Manager, Antony G. Paton, that it would formally reopen on 1 March 2015. The hotel reopened on 26 October 2015, being formally declared open by HE the President of Sri Lanka, Hon Maithripala Sirisena.
Galle Face Hotel
Galle Face, Colombo, Sri Lanka