South Asia’s leading Grande Dame, the Galle Face Hotel recently celebrated two years since their historic renovation of the property. The 30-month restoration 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 and bars, lobby, ballrooms and executive lounge. The restoration 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 re-imagined for the 21st century; an ocean view executive lounge, The Long Room spanning 25 metres was added for well-heeled suite guests; and 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 Mr. Deni Ohlsen-Dukic, General Manager, The Galle Face Hotel.
The restoration stripped every room to the bone, and brought back each with striking new interiors and classic mahogany furnishings. Stylish grey marble cases the bathroom walls. Private balconies with sea views now jut from 21 rooms. The room sizes range from 26 square metres (280 square feet) to 60 square metres (645 square feet) studios that feature a separate living room and workspace.
Many sources point to the Galle Face as the oldest hotel east of the 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 and Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who 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 for many years. With the completion of this historic restoration, the Galle Face Hotel has endeavoured to embrace and celebrate its rich history while catering to tomorrow’s traveler and continues to stand as one of the most storied hotels in all Asia.