Sri Lanka’s hotel scene has been buzzing lately, with the arrival of several splashy beachside resorts from international luxury brands. Now, one such name, Hong Kong’s distinguished Shangri-La—which opened a golf and spa getaway along the island’s southern coast in 2016—is turning its sights on Colombo, launching the capital city’s first new luxury hotel in 30 years.
Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo opens today on the iconic Galle Face Green coastal promenade, affording most of its 500 rooms and suites uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. A specially-commissioned metal sculpture of a baby elephant by the Chinese artist Man Fung-Yi graces the lobby, setting the tone for a design that reinterprets traditional Sri Lankan motifs with a modern twist. Materials like silk, marble, and light woods give the oversize a bright and airy feel, while suites are upgraded with butler service and access to the well-stocked Horizon Club lounge.
Whether in town for business or as a bookend to other Sri Lankan adventures, guests will find plenty to enjoy at the hotel, which is part of a 10-acre complex that’s also home to residential and office towers and a high-end shopping mall. Get active at the 24-hour gym, soak up the urban oasis vibe at the outdoor pool and bar—both of which overlook the ocean—or relax at the seven-room CHI Spa, where treatments feature techniques and products from all over Asia, with a focus on those indigenous to Sri Lanka.
Most notable are the dining options—six restaurants, bars, and lounges in total—that offer a mix of local and international cuisine, al fresco seating, and live entertainment to help take Colombo’s already-vibrant food scene to the next level. Along with an authentic Chinese restaurant (a Shangri-La signature), the upscale options will include Kaema Sutra, developed in partnership with the city’s hottest dining duo, chef/restauranteur Dharshan Munidasa and his partner, actress Jacqueline Fernandez. Creator of the much-lauded Ministry of Crab and the Japanese-flavored Nihonbashi (number 29 and 49, respectively, on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017), Chef Munidasa’s new spot will celebrate his love of seafood, while also highlighting Sri Lanka’s rich culinary traditions, varied influences, and wealth of locally-sourced ingredients. Even the cocktail menu will put a contemporary spin on classic Sri Lankan elements.