Hotel Review: Hilton Colombo, Sri Lanka

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After a long journey, my husband and I arrived late at night at the airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I had pre-arranged a hotel cab, and 40 minutes later we were at the Hilton Colombo. Greeting us with a smile, the check-in agent gave us champagne glasses filled with a refreshingly cold lime welcome drink.

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After check-in, we sleepily made our way to the elevator. On the wall there was a poster advertising an all-you-can-eat buffet for Saturdays, Sundays, and…Poya days? Someone later explained that Poya days were ones where a full moon is present.

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I had been given a standard Club Deluxe King room, and was looking forward to getting some sleep.

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The room felt like I had stepped into a time warp from the 50’s. The furniture was charming if a bit outdated, and the room was clean.

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Even though I had requested a non-smoking room, an ashtray was on the table and the room smelled strongly of smoke.

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I deliberated just going to sleep, but the smell was just too overpowering. It even seemed that someone had lit incense to mask the odor.

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After a quick discussion with the front desk, my husband went back downstairs to get us a new room key and I prepared our belongings for the move.

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He returned with the new key, and we traipsed over to another room on the same floor.

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Our new room had a similar layout and still looked like it was from the 50’s, but the smoke smell was thankfully gone. The bed was comfortable, and the pillows were nice and fluffy.

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There was a cozy couch and good curtains that completely covered the windows.

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The bedside table boasted some sort of hi-fi system, along with room lighting controls that were not in operation.

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An older TV and a dizzying swirly patterned carpet completed the room.

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A minibar offered complimentary water, and had all the necessary accoutrements for making instant tea or coffee.

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The bathroom had an ashtray which was out of place in a supposedly non-smoking room.

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I was pleased to find that the toiletries were by Peter Thomas Roth. A little freshening up and then it was time for some shuteye.

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The next morning was a work day rather than a weekend, so it was interesting to watch the city wake up and see people on their way to work.

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Walking seemed like a popular method of transportation, but there were also lots of motorbikes and cars.

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The views from the hotel were great.

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I decided to get some breakfast in the club, and was surprised to find a fantastic spread. A tower of fresh fruit and juices first caught my eye.

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There were platters of meats and cheese.

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There were breads and muffins, one of them a delicious jalapeno cheddar bread. I saw beans in tomato sauce, hot sausages, and crunchy hash brown rounds.

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One table had bowls of fruit in juices. I tried some bananas in orange juice, which turned out to be pretty tasty.

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Fruit and yogurt parfaits in three flavors were available.

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From the lounge I could see the pool, which looked close but actually wasn’t. In order to access the pool and tennis courts you had to cross the street using a bridge.

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There were gorgeous views out to the Indian Ocean.

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To return to the airport, I had booked the hotel taxi service for around $40. Since we had come in to town late at night, the daylight hours on the ride back offered us a glimpse into city life.

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Even though the room was in need of an update and initially had the smoky issue, the staff was friendly & welcoming, the room was clean, and the breakfast was tasty. If I was in Colombo again this would be a good option.

Hilton Colombo

Hilton HHonors Category 5. 40,000 Hilton HHonors points for a free night.

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Good To Go

+ Club breakfast offering is plentiful
+ Staff is friendly and helpful
+ Views are outstanding
+ Car service is easy to arrange via Concierge

Good To Know

- Rooms could be updated
- Swimming pool is far from the hotel
- Not many electrical outlets were in the room for charging items

How many Magic Stars did this hotel stay earn?

 4/5 Magic Stars
  1. SST
    Reply

    I was at the Hilton before they closed for remodeling last December. Apparently they didn’t update much. A couple comments for others: You can get a regular taxi from the hotel’s booth at the airport for about half of what the hotel quotes for a hotel car.

    Eating: at least before the closing, the two indoor/outdoor restaurants at the hotel were good but a little pricey for Colombo. The Ministry Of Crab across the street, in the Dutch Hospital, is superb.

    The Cinnamon Grand is a decent alternative to the Hilton, and we certainly liked the upgrade that is ongoing at the Galle Face Hotel, although we haven’t slept there. Prior to Hilton’s devaluation, we were all-Hilton vacationers. Now, meh. Both times, we explored Sri Lanka on our way to or from the Conrad Maldives, but now since that property is exorbitantly priced, non-Hilton hotels are fair game.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      I was there just before they closed for remodeling so I’m looking forward to seeing the new rooms next time(and trying Ministry of Crab). Thanks for reading SST!

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