Colombo is an interesting mix of cultures that it really makes this lovely country difficult to point to just one influence: there is the Indian influence, just to the north of this lovely little island; the British influence in its grand architecture; the Dutch and Portuguese influence from decades past; and the more recent Chinese influence who have been partnering with Sri Lanka to rebuild and develop this island country. And it works, in all of its magic and intertwined wonder.
Oh my goodness, the Shangri-La hotel is stunning! Located right across from the Indian Ocean, the lobby is breathtaking and the rooms spectacular. Opt to pay a little more, if even just for one night stay, to wake to the view of the ocean is so worth it. Reader beware: there is a lot of development happening directly across from the hotel that appears to be either a marina or another luxury hotel so the stunning views you see on their website may soon disappear.
Closer to the centre of town is a Taj hotel which looks stunning and if you’d prefer to stay closer to the ocean but there is no availability at the Shangri-La, or it is price-restrictive, there is a Hilton just around the corner from the Shangri-La and the Kingsbury Colombo which looks old-school glamour.
Colombo is such an interesting place, with so many diverse influences that the only real way to see everything is a tour bus. But reader beware: what appears to be a hop-on-hop-off bus is the antithesis of that: you can’t hop off. But don’t let that deter you because the sites, and the architecture that makes Colombo so unique, will be covered in about a 4-hour drive.
And if the weather isn’t too hot – you have your choice between hot, hotter, and hottest – go for a walk and take in the lovely architecture that makes this city such an amalgamation of influences.