Bang in the heart of the throbbing capital of Sri Lanka, MövenpickHotel Colombo is the last word in luxury. By Sushmita Srivastav
People usually head to Colombo for some beach fun, to stroll through its palmy-shaded parks and colonial-era churches, to marvel at its streets that often transform into open-air art galleries, or to delve into its rich Dutch history. But as I drove along the sprawling Galle Face Green, I knew I wouldn’t be doing any of these on my maiden visit. The change of plans wasn’t my idea, though.
The dramatic sky and rain clouds hinted that my weekend was most likely to be a relaxing staycation with very limited jaunts in the Sri Lankan capital. By the time I checked into the stylish Mövenpick Hotel Colombo, more murky clouds loomed above. Dispirited, I headed to the Junior Suite on the 22nd floor, my home in Colombo for the next few days. Located in Kollupitiya in central Colombo, the 24-storeyed Mövenpick Hotel Colombo stands tall between the city’s two main thoroughfares, Galle Face and Duplication Road.
The plush, well-lit room at the hotel instantly lifted my mood with its contemporary design and upbeat vibe. Picture this: artworks hanging on bright walls, king-size bed with fluffy feather-soft duvets, a separate sitting area with lounge chairs and a huge flat-screen TV, a spacious en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower, a fully-stocked mini bar, floor-to-ceiling
glass windows offering beautiful city views, and a huge whirlpool tub in the hall. The loud
rumble of the clouds wasn’t audible anymore, and all the gloom faded behind the glass frames. I pulled open the drapes to find the blue of Indian Ocean melting into the purple-grey sky. Soon, it began to pour. I picked a table by the window at the Robata Grill and Lounge, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant on the second floor, for a curated Teppanyaki dinner. I watched on with fascination as Chef Subramanyam played with open flames and a hot iron griddle. Soon enough, my table was filled with Teppanyaki grills of salmon steak, giant prawns, garlic rice, and stir-fried vegetables. After the hearty meal, I retreated to my
room and settled in a hot bubble bath, with a glass of wine and the view of the city’s glistening skyline.
I woke up the next day to find the azure ocean turn into liquid gold under the warm sun. Post a healthy breakfast of watermelon and feta salad, blueberry chia pudding, and some freshly squeezed juice at AYU, the all-day diner, I decided to take a tour of the hotel. With the famous shopping arcade Liberty Plaza, the National Museum, and the holy site of Gangaramaya Temple, all a short walk away, the lavish business hotel dons modern interiors instead of the common traditional Lankan designs, and features 214 luxe rooms and suites, a dedicated executive floor, spacious meeting halls, a fitness centre, the famous Spa Ceylon, a nail and beauty salon, and an infinity pool on the rooftop.
Though the sun didn’t shine for too long, I managed to squeeze in a tuk-tuk
trip to the handicraft store of Urban Island for some souvenir shopping, and the nearby Fashion Market LK that sells locally-inspired designs of native artists. A quick walk around the store was followed by a fun, Sri Lankan-style sarong draping session with the head
stylist, after which I headed to the beach and sampled street-side staples of isso vadei (spicy prawn cakes) and tangy mango achcharu.
I just couldn’t get enough of the bursting flavours of the zesty achcharu mix. So, soon after my therapeutic session at the Spa Ceylon at the hotel, I went to the rooftop Vistas Bar, and ordered a glass of their signature Achcharu Cocktail. Sipping on my new favourite tipple, I sat next to the infinity pool and watched the setting sun.
Though painted in different colours than I had hoped for, Colombo had won my