It’s not Vesak, but the whole of Colombo really lights up during the Christmas season, from the malls to the hotels. Suddenly there’s cotton-snow, brown men in white beards, and pine trees everywhere. It’s an interesting sight in the evenings, so we’ve done a round-up of Colombo’s Christmas decor, to guide you if you choose to drive around and see the lights.
1. Cinnamon Lakeside
Cinnamon Lakeside has what we’d call a candy-crush theme to their decor.
They use a lot of tropical colors and the focus is on light more than anything.
We rather like this, Sri Lanka is a tropical country after all.
2. Independence Arcade
Independence Arcade is lit up on a normal day, but during Christmas even more so. What’s a bit odd is that they seem to have the exact same circular lights and trees as the Cinnamon Grand.
It works well though. Looks like someone scribbled in light.
Arcade also has built-in light awesomeness, like their fountains and the glass walkway with fish underneath.
Also, they have choirs singing out back for basically the whole Christmas season.
3. Cinnamon Grand
The Cinnamon Grand has a big old tree.
And the same circular theme going outside.
The lights here were the most out there of all the hotel Christmas decorations. Purple and blue spheres floating all over the place we couldn’t decide whether it was tacky or kind of magical from a distance. The lobby was surprisingly simple though, with just a classic tinsel-covered pine tree in the far corner.
OZO has rather limited decorations going on, but we like the style.
Circles again. Seems to be a theme this year. Or someone in Pettah got a bunch of circle lights down.
5. Hilton Colombo Residence
The Hilton Residence’s decorations are really quite simple and there weren’t many of them, but we liked them. They stuck the closest to a rustic, natural theme and felt the most warm somehow.
Note that we heard the main Hilton’s decor was quite nice, but we didn’t check that out, because, well, we went to a lot of places.
People expect a lot from ODEL around Christmas but they honestly haven’t decorated much. They do have a Santa.
Balls again. ODEL features actual disco balls as well.
7. Mount Lavinia Hotel
Mount Lavinia Hotel hews to a more traditional Christmas style, with reindeer and angels and the like.
The decor at Mount was actually kind of nice. We liked the buildup canopy of lights down the road that leads to the hotel, and besides some litup angels outside and reindeer indoors, it was pretty simple and minimal.
8. Dutch Hospital
Besides some super tall cones, not much going on here.
9. The Kingsbury
We were expecting Kingsbury to do something really over the top, since the hotel itself is a little on the ostentatious side. But they just had a tree in the lobby and boughs of holly on the window panes.
But then they threw us off with this sudden house smack in the middle of the lobby, with sweets inside and fake cotton snow on its roof. Was Santa inside? The curtains were drawn close so I thought it would be rude to check. The plot thickens.
10. Crescat Mall
Crescat’s stuff seemed more like an obstacle course than decor. The entrance was flanked by gigantic scary solid gift boxes on both sides, and then the center of the corridor had a line of typical pine trees.
11. Majestic City
Majestic City was kind of the opposite of Mount, in typical Majestic City fashion. Besides the big lit-up tree on the front, the walls featured giant cakes with candles on them.
12. Waters Edge
Waters Edge was pretty beautiful outside, with their entire driveway lit up in blue lights. On the rainy day that we were there it made for a magical sight with the lights reflecting off the puddles.
[EDITOR’s NOTE: Shifani says Waters Edge was really nice, but only took this one dark photo. You’ll have to use your imagination.]
13. The Taj
Taj was either going for a classic look or they just couldn’t be bothered just yellow fairy lights thrown over all the trees and hedges, and a little tree at the center of the lobby.
So that’s our coverage of Christmas in Colombo. If you recommend any other places, please comment below.
Wherever and however you celebrate the season, we hope it’s full of light and hope and joy. Merry Christmas!