The end of Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war in 2009 unleashed a bevy of construction in the equatorial isle’s capital city. Soaring above the current building boom, the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo boasts 500 guest rooms and suites, plus 41 serviced apartments. Six bars and restaurants include Kaema Sutra, the city’s most talked-about culinary address and an after-dark magnet for sociable locals and business travellers alike.
Indian Ocean waves unfurl just across the street along the charming Galle Face Green Promenade, where families come at sunset to kick footballs and fly kites. Port City, an urban expansion project, will eventually block some room views; yet it also ensures the centrality of the hotel, already well-placed near the World Trade Center finance hub, the main train station and the trendy Dutch Hospital shopping complex.
Indian Ocean views and tropical sunlight pour in through wall-length windows in many of the blue and sand-hued guest rooms. Elongated workstations offer plenty of space to spread out, while the minibars get stocked with a generous, complimentary supply of Ceylon teas. Spa Ceylon bath products scented with neroli oil and jasmine offer another local touch.
While this hotel can seat banquets of up to 1,440 guests and host cocktail receptions for over 3,000, its intimate spaces are the most interesting, from stylishly lacquered private dining rooms at Chinese restaurant Shang Palace to the three boardrooms inside the 32nd-floor Horizon Club Lounge. The ground-level Connect area offers indoor and outdoor work spaces, available to all staying guests.
Cathay Pacific flies to Colombo from Hong Kong seven times a week