The Galle Face Hotel
, founded in Colombo
, Sri Lanka
in 1864, is one of the oldest hotels in Asia
. It is located off Galle Road, the main highway in the City of Colombo. The hotel is now managed by the Ceylon Hotels Corporation.
The hotel borrowed its name from this charming way back of "Galle Face Green" in 1864, built by four British entrepreneurs who were looking to start a business in the city.
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 legendary 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.
It regularly featured on the itineraries of royalty
. Princess Alexandra of Denmark
commented that 'the peacefulness and generosity encountered at the Galle Face Hotel cannot be matched'. Former guests include the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin
, former British Prime minister Edward Heath
, the journalist Eric Ellis and photographer Palani Mohan, Prince Sadruddhin Aga Khan
, Rigger Bone Sconi
, Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
and Marshal Josip Broz Tito
The Galle Face Hotel had one of the most popular night clubs in Asia. The Coconut Grove was one of the entertainment centres in Colombo since 1950s.
- Paul Harris (2007). Delightfully Imperfect: A Year in Sri Lanka at the Galle Face Hotel. Glasgow: Kennedy & Boyd.
- William Warren, Jill Gocher (2007). Asia's legendary hotels: the romance of travel. Singapore: Periplus Editions.