Asia / Pic of the Week / Sri Lanka

“Pic of the Week”, July 13, 2018: The Galle Face Hotel Library and Museum

07bGalle Face Hotel tour (48)

I’ve previously shared a post about one of my favorite hotels, namely Colombo’s Galle Face Hotel.  Today I’d like to highlight two areas hotel guests can explore which were new to the hotel since I’d last stayed here.  These were added during the hotels recent upgrades and renovations.

The hotel now has a very fine Library.  A multi-room quiet place with very comfortable arm chairs and sofas, I spent some time here looking around and taking in the framed historic documents, illustrations and maps, and coffee-table books.  I love libraries and had never been to one so sumptuous and inviting in a hotel before.

It was in the library that I discovered where the bust of Sir Arthur C. Clarke had been moved to after the hotel’s remodel, from its former home in the lobby.  The bust was commissioned by hotel management in the late 20th century to commemorate Sir Arthur having written the final book in his Odyssey series (3001: The Final Odyssey) during a several week stay at the Galle Face.  Hands down this hotel was Arthur’s favorite place in Colombo; he loved to sit on the verandah at sunset, sipping a drink or enjoying a meal, and taking in the changing light, crashing surf and pleasant breeze.  And the Galle Face loved him and appreciated his loyalty.

An even greater surprise than the Library was the hotel’s Museum.  I also think this was a first for me — a hotel with its own spacious Museum.  The highlight of the Museum’s collection is Prince Phillip’s old car which he used while stationed in Sri Lanka during WWII.  The car is a 1935 Standard Nine and is a beautifully preserved machine, elegantly displayed in softly diffused sunlight from its own skylight.

The museum also has a number of historic exhibits, like displays of old china and silverware used at the Galle Face Hotel during the past 150 years.  There is an extensive framed display, complete with photos and biographies, of dozens of famous guests who have stayed at the Galle Face, ranging from movie stars to American Presidents.  As with the library, the museum had spacious places to sit and relax.  The Hotel is apparently uses the museum to host special gatherings, for which it is a great venue!

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