Havelock Place

Colombo, Sri Lanka Book from

Reviewed by Yasmin Boland
An intimate and artistic oasis of green and calm in a mad, bustling city…
Many visitors to Colombo head straight to its large, five-star hotels, where they knew they will be catered to by expert staff who understood their modern needs. However, for those looking for a more intimate 'boutique' alternative, Havelock Place - with only 6 rooms and discreet, attentive service - has become the place to check into when you're in town. The Havelock Place bungalows started life as a 1940s colonial homestead before opening up as an art gallery. Now, rooms are also let out to overnight guests and provide a peaceful retreat from the noise of the city.

The house is very much a home, and guests frequently congregate in the palatial-sized living rooms or dine together in the gardens. While Colombo itself offers little of interest for tourists, you will most likely need to spend your first or last night here due to flight times. With a small pool, Jacuzzi and massages (by arrangement) on offer, Havelock Place is perfect for unwinding after a long journey and is ideally placed for some last minute holiday shopping.

Highs

  • The delicious food features Sri Lankan ingredients adapted to produce 'fusion' Italian and Asian cuisine - excellent ice cream selection
  • The leafy, peaceful gardens belie the fact that, outside the gate, Colombo rages
  • The welcoming, homely atmosphere is the perfect antidote to long journeys

Lows

  • The restaurant is open to outside dinner guests, so you may have to share your sanctuary with outsiders
  • Be warned, the beds are very hard!
  • The rooms have a strong smell of cinnamon, which can become a little overwhelming
  • The pool is small, but provides a welcome respite from the Sri Lankan heat

Best time to go

Havelock Place is open all year round and a stay here is not weather dependent, though November to April are generally the driest months in Sri Lanka. February’s Perahera festival is a great draw - you may need to book well in advance to stay during this.

Our top tips

Head to Galle Face Green for a stroll along the seafront promenade, then reward yourself with afternoon tea at the Galle Face Hotel - the city’s most historic colonial hotel.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Although the rooms seem very understated compared to some of the ornate suites we saw in Sri Lanka, there is something calming and very clean about their design. The décor is elegant and simple and much of the furniture is antique.

There are 3 Doubles, a Twin and 3 Suites, each with large beds (but watch out for the very firm mattresses), a writing desk, air conditioning and security grills on the windows. The Suites also have sitting areas with comfortable sofas, and all rooms have direct access to the garden and/or a private (but slightly bare) patio.

The marble bathrooms have showers, bidets and 24-hour hot water, but only some have baths - if you like to soak in the tub make sure you enquire when booking.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Guests can dine in the garden or in the bistro-style restaurant, which is open for breakfast (either continental or Sri Lankan), lunch and dinner.

The à la carte menu is written on blackboards and changes daily, based on the fresh produce available to the chef each day at the market. It combines Sri Lankan ingredients with Western cooking to create fusion Asian and Italian cuisine. Typical dishes might include seared calamari with avocado salad, chilled beetroot soup with sour cream, crab and coconut risotto, Moroccan beef with penne and slow-baked lemon tart. We dined on a deliciously light chicken teriyaki, which any Tokyo chef would have been proud to serve, followed by a fabulous selection of homemade ice creams.

As the restaurant is open to outside guests, it's worth booking your table in advance.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Communal dining
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit some of the local sights, including the Town Hall and Independence Square
  • Wander round some of the city's many colourful temples, churches and mosques for a sense of its diverse religions
  • Explore the old fort and its neighbouring market, which sells a selection of Indian cottons
  • Go shopping - Colombo offers everything from colourful market stalls to designer shops and boutiques selling jewellery and handmade furniture
  • Take a trip to the coast - just 10 minutes away by tuk-tuk
  • Take a swim before breakfast or when you return home in the evening, or relax after the crowds of the city with a dip in the Jacuzzi

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures
  • Kids

    Children of all ages are welcome and those under 7 sleep free if sharing with parents. Extra beds are available for an additional cost and cots are also available and are free for under 2's but there are no babysitting services.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Double and Twin rooms can accommodate an extra bed. The Suites can accommodate 2 extra beds and a cot can replace the sofas in their living areas. Two interconnecting rooms are also available.

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    8/
    Rooms
    8/
    Food
    8/
    Service
    8/
    Value
    8/
    Overall

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