This is the view from the tiny terrace of the Grand Oriental Hotel’s Harbour Room. It’s quite possibly the best view in Colombo. We can’t think of anything better. Galle Face Green at sunset is excellent… and that’s about it. Nothing captures the urbanity, history and seaside character of Colombo quite so well as this little perch right above the Ports Authority.
What’s interesting is that this view looks out towards Pettah (on the right) and even further afield – Kotahena, Mutwal, Mattakulliya. While the heart of the city was originally to this north (the original St. Thomas’s was in Mutwal, for example), the elites gradually moved south, making Kollupitiya the center of what many consider Colombo. Indeed, for many middle and upper class Colambars, to the north there be dragons.
As recently as five years ago the Grand Oriental Hotel was many checkpoints away and quite a hidden gem. Now the Fort area is opening up and there’s a new (rebranded) nightclub opening below. The Harbour Room, however, is still a quaint throwback. It’s huge, features cheesy music and has waiters and waitresses dressed as sailors. It’s not the cheapest place for a gin and lime soda (about Rs. 600 altogether), but it is quite possibly the best view in the city.