A cannonball misfired during an artillery practice in 1845 and crashed into the Galle Face Hotel, at that time a boarding house. Today, that cannonball is part of the hotel's on-site museum.
Historical immersion and British vibes are just part of the allure of the 152-year-old Galle Face Hotel in the heart of Colombo, which proudly identifies as "the oldest hotel east of the Suez still in operation today", and has just completed the most extensive renovation in its long history including its North Wing's 72 rooms and suites, restaurants and bars, lobby, executive lounge and a new conservatory with towering arched doors linking the hotel's Grand and Jubilee ballrooms.
The historic hotel is no stranger to heads of state and royalty, many of whom have graced the premises. Nor is it a stranger to incentive groups. One of its highlights is the bespoke activities offered by the hotel.
"We have quite a few novel activities here at the hotel - we can organise a croquet tournament on our dedicated croquet lawn that overlooks the Indian Ocean. We also have history tours that we launched in December that are proving extremely popular. Being over 150 years old, there's a lot of heritage to share," says Antony Paton, Galle Face Hotel's GM, who lists other activities such as cooking competitions, sunset sea walks and cultural performances as customisations which can be arranged by the hotel's new expeditions office.
Seven dedicated meeting rooms can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 500 individuals, as well as two new ballrooms completed as a result of the restoration - the Grand Ballroom accommodates up to 500 delegates and the Jubilee Ballroom up to 300.
The hotel also offers a "Meet…Discuss…Succeed" package, which includes an energy booster drink upon arrival, tea and coffee breaks, gourmet lunch or dinner at one of the hotel's legendary restaurants, in-room refreshments, and a dedicated Conference Concierge assigned to each meeting.