Majestic City.

Before

the Arcade

, before Crescat, there was Majestic City. The original (and super dodgy, not at all majestic) Colombo mall. The late ’90s kids who grew up here will remember a time when it was once

 the

 main shopping mall, alongside its contemporaries, Unity Plaza next-door, and Liberty Plaza in Kollupitiya – all really weird names if you think about it. 

Majestic City today, still looks the same as it always did from the outside: a big faded orange boxy building with weird font on it. But its insides have considerably decreased in dodgyness (Excel World currently holds the prize for Most Dodgy) and now includes not just several designer shops but some extremely useful and affordable stores. After all this time, you’ll still find people coming here just to sit down by the central courtyard and stare into space, or just to loiter about in little groups. 

We visited it recently and counted almost 140 different shops within the building (includes clothing, electronics, service shops and restaurants). Here’s a breakdown of what to get where at Majestic City. 


Shoes

MC has shops exclusively dedicated to shoes, and the prices you get them at are sometimes awesome. On the ground floor, you get Bata (which we recently discovered is originally a Swiss brand, not Sri Lankan – WHAT), Lakshmi and Burlington (which has a wide men’s formal collection). You get most shoe shops on the 1st floor, including Cool Foot, Shoes X, Raheem’s and Sinwa, while there’s also Temptations on the 2nd floor. 


Clothing & Accessories

For clothing, mostly stick to the ground floor – there’s El Club, Cotton Collection, ODEL, Triumph and Hameedia. There are also a lot of dress shops on the 1st floor (Smart Image, Shyamas, Dress Port, Pretty Things), but you might find them a little Pettah-ish (not counting those times you find a really good one hiding in a rack of ordinaries).

Also on the 1st floor are higher-end stores like Mondy and Field that have some designer clothes. MC is famous for its t-shirts featuring your favourite Western musicians and bands (Pink Floyd and Bob Marley are the most popular) – check out Elys on the 2nd floor and Rock Eagle on the 1st. The 1st floor also has Prasanna Batiks with a small batik collection and Rangoli and Saree Kingdom for saris.  

On the ground floor – you find a small collection of crystal and relatively affordable jewellery at Stone & String, a more expensive store called Gallery Jewellery, and a little Swarovski rack inside the perfume store Senses. There’s more on the 1st floor at Treasure Chest, Abdeen Jewellers, Majestic Jeweler and Mallika Hemachandra, and a few less popular ones on the 2nd floor.

Sunglasses and eye-glasses abound at MC for some reason – on the 2nd floor – Eye Guard and George Gooneratne being among them. 


Electronics


The most popular type of store at MC is probably electronics, though Unity Plaza next-door is more focused on electronics in general. For mobile phones and computer assistance go to the 2nd floor: there’s Huawei Mobiles, iMax, pc-land, Chelseylk.com, Digitalzone and Redline Technologies among others. Other general electronic shops here are Pyramid and Phillips. Of course Nastars which has been around since ever, is a popular option, on the 1st floor. Camera Zone on the 2nd floor and the small Digital Camera stall on the ground floor do cameras and camera equipment.


Bags, Watches, Perfumes & Gifts

Exclusive Lines on the ground floor is the most popular perfume store in the building, featuring designer perfume like DKNY and Ralph Lauren – and next to it is its contemporary The Parfumerie. The ground floor also has fragrances at Senses. Shop for watches at The Watchhouse and Best Buy on the 1st floor, and World of Watches and The Watch Center on the 2nd. Skyfi on the 2nd floor has bags, while there’s an even wider luggage collection at Samsonite on the 1st floor. 

MC is easy for trinket shopping – a mug, an ornament, a cheesy card, they’ve got it. Ground floor – Gift Gate Collection, 1st floor – the Pottery Shop, 2nd – House of Gifts. Ran Ruwan on the 2nd floor promises custom ornaments and custom jewellery. Book City on the 2nd floor comes under this section too, since their collection is pretty limited – mostly mainstream authors, self-help books and stationery, all gift-friendly. 


Movies & Movie Theatres

Yes, it’s the era of pirates, but still, MC’s DVD and CD shops remain in business somehow. I guess sometimes you just need to get the Blu-ray. Block Busters on the 2nd floor is one of the most popular movie shops, but there’s plenty others on the same floor as well. There’s even a music-CD shop on the 1st floor – Music Planet – with a decent range of very cheap music albums.  

MC has got four movie theatres – Platinum on the 3rd floor, and Superior, Gold and Ultra on the 4th. You can book tickets for the movies playing here at

TicketsLK


Food

The MC food court isn’t much – but it’ll do if you’re just after school or on a short work-break and want some vaguely satisfying fast food. Or when you and your friends sadly wind up here when you’re too broke to go anywhere else. The food court, which is below the ground floor, has got Magic Corn, Lil’ Orbits, Elephant House and Roots for snack-ey stuff, and for rice & curry – Thai Express, Mongolian BBQ, Spicy Chef, Malaysian Food, Vilasa Cottage and Great Lantern, for pizza – there’s Pizza Hut and Peppers, and also Star Hot Dogs and KFC. Just outside the food court is also PG Martin Wonderworld & Toyshop where you can leave your kids in a big, old fashioned, plastic-ey play pen. There’s also food on the ground floor – shorteats at The Fab, or sit in at the main KFC near the doors. 


Interesting Finds 

Kiddies Corner is not exactly an ‘interesting find’ since we’ve all known of its existence on MC’s ground floor for ages, but it’s still cool – you get a bunch of teddy bears, loads of dolls, some drones, a few interesting action figures and the occasional Batman mask here. Speaking of masks, we found quality Avengers masks like the Hulk and Iron Man at ChelseyLK.com on the 2nd floor. 

Dual Star on the 2nd floor has some beautiful artistic iPhone covers. There’s an unexpected art shop called Pen House Art Shop on the same floor, and a shop called BodyBuilding.LK that sells ‘weight gainers’ and similar packeted things for fitness buffs. Lavich on the 2nd floor is awesome – all kinds of bottled curries and sambols fill every rack in this store, from pork curry to maldive fish paste. Mister Mint on the 1st floor is an easy go-to-guy if you need to quickly get a key cut. Body shop products aren’t easily available in Colombo, but we found some at The Face Shop on the ground floor, and at Luv Essence on the 1st floor. If your phone is messed up – there’s a ‘Repairs & Unlocking’ mobile store in a corner on the 1st floor. 

There’s a shop just for all kinds of packeted tea called Tea Centre on the ground floor, and also crammed unexpectedly under the escalator, on the Kiddies Corner side of the ground floor, is a tiny Printing shop that does custom printing on t-shirts and mugs. 


Essentials 

There’s a massive Cargills Food City on the ground floor for groceries et al, and the washroom next to it is the closest washroom to MC’s entrance (in case you’re driving by and nature calls). There’s generally a washroom on each floor but you can get lost looking for it upstairs. There’s an ATM near the Stone & String stall on the ground floor, and a small Sampath Bank opposite KFC. We found just one money exchanger in the building – Niketh Money Exchanger on the 1st floor. If you feel like a haircut, there’s Salon Roots on the ground floor. 


Majestic City is as plebeian as it gets, but if you know where to get what it’s an extremely useful shopping center (same rule as for


Pettah

). The prices can swing both ways but it’s more affordable than not. Try to avoid the weekends to avoid the crowds. 

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