The Colombo Racecourse is a beautiful restored building in Colombo 7 which houses a somewhat mediocre mall. They’ve now extended the building into what we’re calling the Dutch Hospital 2, but the shopping options are not much improved.
The Colombo Racecourse as opened in 1893 was for horse racing. It was converted to an airfield during World War 2. It went back to horse racing for a while but that stopped and it was really neglected and kinda scary until refurbishment began in 2011. Now the second phase is almost complete, making it a huge and beautiful mall.
And the space is beautiful. The halls are wide, the walls and doors are lovely, it’s a lovely building.
Around back there’s a huge and well-maintained rugby field and step seating for lots and lots of people. There’s the National Archives on one side, the Chinese restaurant Fortune Boat nearby and it’s walking distance from Independence Square.
Racecourse 2 has a range of shops. The ones we saw open were Abstract (clothing), VisionCare (glasses/contacts), Abans (TVs, computers, electronics), Amante (lingerie), and Tea Breeze (tea lounge). There’s a KFC coming and there’s still plenty of room upstairs.
Abstract is Abans clothing line and they have some pretty decent women’s stuff at relatively affordable prices – Rs. 2,000 up for most items of clothing. They have handbags, accessories and some facial products as well.
Abans itself has Macs and speakers and stuff. They’re OK to deal with though these are expensive items.
VisionCare has a good selection of branded glasses and sunglasses, but they’re quite expensive. Rs. 20,000 up for a frame and then Rs. 14,000 up for the lenses we looked at (for my somewhat random prescription, and anti-reflective). We didn’t buy them btw.
Amante is a nice lingerie store with MAS’s own range of ladies underthings. I found it a bit bright and terrifying but I’m a man, I’m sure for ladies it’s a nice shopping experience.
The Tea Breeze outlet here (they have another one near Gangarama) looks quite huge but we discovered that’s partly a trick of the mirror inside. It’s impressively decorated but not really active yet.
The KFC and other shops are yet to come online.
The Racecourse 2 is a wonderful physical addition to the space but, like Racecourse 1, the shops are somewhat underwhelming. Many are quite expensive and without the KFC there isn’t much foot traffic going through the place yet. It’s a nice place to visit but not yet a compelling place to hang out or shop. It’s getting there.