14.38km from Sri Lanka Travel ServicesThe grand oriental is indeed like it sounds- interestingly old but still old! Honestly I was completely underwhelmed and a bit scared of Colombo. It was a bit dirtier and more congested than I expected, even having traveled in Asia a lot. The hotel was very nice in a few things: the staff couldn’t have been nicer! Even a little too nice! I received a wake up call I never asked for and I few too many inquiries into my personal life but I really took it as awkward kindness. They were extremely helpful and checked me in quickly and politely even at 1:30am when I arrive from a late flight.
They also were very polite at breakfast and whenever I asked for directions or anything someone gave me a map with explanation.
The hotels location is very good for seeing things in downtown Colombo and you don’t need a tuktuk. As I got ripped off twice by taking drivers offering outside the hotel, I suggest one walk. The train station is about 15 minutes tops walking. (For Galle buy a ticket at window 4, 180rupees and board the train platform 5).
Also just across the street there is an atm, on the same side of the street, up one block is a small grocery with most things you could need. If you leave the hotel around to the right, you take the first right and follow straight until you reach Galle Face Green. This walk is actually pretty nice with pretty buildings heading past the clock tower. I went on a job here one morning and as a woman it was the best area in Colombo I saw for women alone. (Most felt a bit sketch). There isn’t actually anywhere to eat very close to the hotel but if you exit and walk straight past the port authority building you can find a small eatery with really cheap good local food.
The hotel is very interesting and massive but I must say more than two nights is too much. I had a double room to share and the bed was two wins pushed together, blankets were old, pillows super hard and the air was either freezing or it was too hot. The worst though was the massive lights that line the corridors. They’re lovely but make the room so bright at night it’s awful. Also if you’re looking to have a view, forget it. Tv didn’t work, hot water was a Luke warm dribble. Didn’t eat any other meals in the hotel but I must say the breakfast is to die for! It’s a super amazing breakfast buffet with absolutely superb Sri Lankan food as well as western dishes and all you could want. Also the view from the harbor room is pretty ok. The breakfast alone makes for a good stay in the hotel.