The Kingsbury hotel is a massive unmistakable building if you’re driving by Galle Face – it’s one of the grander ones in the city, with an old Victorian theme (at least with the interior). The views from the hotel, especially from the rooftop bar, are pretty cool. And we thought the hotel deserved points for aesthetics, if the general vibe of extravagance doesn’t put you off.
When you approach the hotel, it’s all white arches and straight faced doormen in white uniforms; the lobby is a huge space, with mirrors and large leather chairs along the sides. It all feels pretty grandiose and sums up the whole old English theme that the Kingsbury is going for.
The Kingsbury pool is big and especially in the evenings, poolside is a nice place to relax. Earlier the edge of the pool seemed to beautifully blend into the sea, but the rocks being moved around for Colombo’s future Port City now block the direct view a little. It’s still a nice open space that makes use of the ocean view though. There’s also a Pool Cafe here that serves alright food for prices that aren’t too bad.
There’s a sort of continuity about Kingsbury’s outside space – you can wander from the big pool space, to the wooden deck where the Sports bar The Score is, and into the dining terrace area. The ambience of the ocean, though in some places interfered with by rocks or construction machines lately, is great when you’re chilling in any of these outdoor spots.
The rooms are thankfully minimal in tasteful mellow colours, despite the grandiosity of the lobby and exclusive Executive spaces. A basic Premium room would cost you around Rs. 20K a night, which is a lot for a room, but then this is a fancy hotel.
Again, you get a pleasant view from the room.
The bathrooms feel pretty fancy too, with cool checkered floors and – we were informed – fixtures imported from France.
The private ballrooms or boardrooms of the Kingsbury are known for their over-the-top Victorian style. They’ve got massive sparkling chandeliers, carved lattice doors and some of them a 180 degree view of the ocean. The Winchester is an especially private board room you need to enter by walking down a flight of stairs from the ground floor – it’s cocooned away from the sea and the busy Galle Face hub.
The Executive space which is more exclusive even has butlers, specially trained in poise and attitude, handy if you’re like me and fantasize about being Batman and want an Alfred.
We haven’t really eaten much at the Kingsbury restaurants or bars, except maybe at the Harbour Court and again at their Ifthar, both positive experiences. Besides the Harbour Court – that as the name suggests, has a cool view of the sea and harbour, they’ve also got a lobby bar with a big screen for watching matches, a very private Chinese restaurant Yue Chuan, a seafood restaurant The Ocean, a sports bar The Score, the Pool Cafe, the Sky Lounge bar on the rooftop, and The Cake near the lobby for high tea. High tea is every day from 3 to 6PM for Rs. 1700 per person and the size of the spread is decent and generally tasty.
Sky Lounge has got a superb view, on one end the Galle Face stretch and on the other the Harbour and the Sambodhi Chaithya. The deck is a big space of brown and white cane furniture. It’s got some good food but it’s expensive.
The Kingsbury is definitely one of the grander hotels in the city if you’re into that, and in a lot of ways, it’s quite aesthetically pleasing especially because of the views. In terms of rates it’s generally on par with other 5-star hotels. We can’t judge the service much because we haven’t stayed there. High tea is reasonable, the food in the Harbour Court is generally quite tasty, and the pool-side makes a beautiful hangout on a cool evening.