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Casa Colombo - Colombo, Sri Lanka | Hotel Review

Bold, Beautiful, but Bland Service


Casa Colombo, a retro-chic boutique hotel, is located in Bambalapitiya, the heart of Colombo. This hotel is housed in a restored 200 year old Moorish mansion. Casa Colombo is situated about an hour away (depending on traffic) from Bandaranayake International airport.

Casa Colombo was restored by its owner Lalin Jinasena who has custom designed almost everything at this hotel right from the cutlery and crockery to the furniture and even the fabrics. This hotel combines contemporary design styles with old world charm. Casa Colombo offers 12 unique suites with distinct color hues and layout.

First Impression/Lobby: Casa Colombo is a gorgeous and extremely trendy hotel that still retains many of its original features such as mosaic floors, carved arches, molded ceilings and Moorish style balconies.

We were met by a small throng of trendily dressed young men who quickly gathered our luggage from the car and welcomed us to the hotel. It was 2:30 by the time we reached Casa Colombo. Though check in time was 2:00 pm, we still had to wait a good 30 minutes as our suite was not ready.

Reception: Our registration was handled in the lobby of the hotel by our casa domo. A casa domo is similar to a butler and was essentially a man assigned to look after us during the course of our stay. An interesting point to note is that this hotel does not have the customary reception desk.

The Suite: Trendy music was playing when we entered our Royal Suite. The bathroom had a mildew smell to it but other than that the suite was very clean and of course uber trendy. My favorite part of the royal suite was the double sized luxury bathtub located in a gorgeous setting in the bedroom. The bedroom also featured a king size bed with custom designed linens.

LCD televisions and a High Fidelity sound system were some of the high-tech features. A music selector played 6 genres of music and also allowed us to set the tunes according to our mood. A work desk equipped with a personal laptop, fax, photocopier, complimentary Wi-Fi and printer was also available.

The bathroom featured twin sinks, a large shower stall and an equally large private toilet stall. The private patio balcony was furnished with a Jacuzzi and a lounge seat. The balcony overlooked ZaZa and T Republic, the hotel’s outdoor restaurants. One huge minus point is that the music and talking from these restaurants could be easily heard in the suite at night.

Room Service: The room service menu was quite limited, but when we asked our domo if we could order off the main menu he gladly allowed us to do so. We ordered calamari and spaghetti with a mushroom and beef sauce for a late lunch. Both the dishes were average tasting at best.

Since we were leaving early the next morning, we asked for breakfast to go. While we were giving the breakfast order to our domo, he kept saying, “yes, yes, I have the order, don’t worry”. Not feeling 100% sure that he had our order right, we reconfirmed everything with him later in the evening. It was quite funny; he acted as if this was the first time he had heard our order!

The next morning, I was not at all surprised to find that our order was almost 100% wrong! Moreover, the presentation was horrible to say the least. One thing boutique hotels tend to get right is the presentation. However, at Casa Colombo, they failed miserably. While our domo was pleasant and said “yes” quite often, he just failed to perform his duties.

Housekeeping: Since we were at Casa Colombo for just one night, we did not get to experience their daily service, other than what we saw on our arrival. The room was very clean and appeared to be well maintained. However, they did not do turndown service, a big negative at a small boutique hotel like this.

Concierge: Our domo was our contact for any concierge related queries. Other than our inquiry about a car transfer (which he never followed up with us as promised) to the airport the next day, we did not check anything else with our domo.

Restaurant: Casa Colombo offers three eateries, the HVN in the grand hall of the mansion; ZaZa, an outdoor restaurant, and T-Republic, an outdoor restaurant facing the front facade of the mansion. HVN, the main restaurant, serves a fusion menu of western and Sri Lankan cuisine. Though we did not visit the restaurants at this hotel, we had lunch off their menu delivered to our room. After a few bites, it was quite obvious why the restaurants were all empty when we were there.

Pool/Spa/Activities: The swimming pool at Casa Colombo is bubblegum pink due to its pink mosaic tiles. Designer glass and cement canopied day beds beside the pool were equipped with two tune selectors, headphones and a telephone. Cool looking lounge chairs on cement bases made for a trendy look, but the lounge chairs were not all that functional.

Spa Ceylon, the hotel’s spa offers traditional Sri Lankan spa treatments and luxury Ayurveda. A fully equipped gym was also available. Complimentary Wi-Fi was available throughout the library, spa and gym.

Check-Out: We arranged for a 5:30 AM wake up call, as we had an early flight. Our wake-up call came at 5:44. When I inquired about the late call, our domo had no response. My guess is that he was the one that needed the wake up call. Checkout was handled in our suite.

Overall Impression: Overall, Casa Colombo is a beautiful boutique hotel. However, it is the personalized service and unique setting that attracts guests to a boutique hotel. At Casa Colombo, the setting was gorgeous. Sadly, the service didn’t quite match up to the beauty of this hotel. Our rating for Casa Colombo is Between Bombastic and Not.

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