Taj Samudra is a fusion of traditional and modern characteristics, with beautifully landscaped gardens and views of the Indian Ocean.
Taj Samudra Colombo reopened in 2018 following a $20 million in-depth makeover. The hotel includes 300 rooms, of which 71 rooms and 15 suites have been renovated, and a new category of Taj Club rooms and a Tata Presidential Suite have also been added. One of Colombo’s oldest luxury hotels, the Taj Samudra is set in lush grounds and is well located for business travellers because it is close to the busy Galle Face Center Road in the affluent Colpetty business sector. It boasts excellent dining options and business amenities, in addition to its advantageous location, directly across the Galle Face Green. That also brings some classic luxury in terms of style.
Envision an ambience with marble, potted palms, and latticework arches all over. It’s not uncommon to spot Sri Lanka’s socialites and famous wandering the hallways or drinking a cocktail, so across the board, the ambience reflects the grandeur, exclusivity, and splendour associated with the Taj brand. The well-known oceanfront park and stretch of red sand beach with a few people lounging most of the day are just across the multilane highway. Flags blowing against the bustling road distinguish this enormous 300-room hotel from the street.
This late 1970s property is belted by eleven well-landscaped acres, representing the colonial era with influences from South Asian culture. With its high ceilings, marble flooring and columns, English colonial-style seating areas in lime tones, chandeliers, big stone vases, and elephant tusk door knobs, the foyer dazzles and impresses. Restaurants and stores are dotted across the grounds, along with conference spaces and offices. The pool, six restaurants, and the lobby bar are modern areas.
Luxury Ocean View Room
Having said that, my oceanview luxury room rather pleasantly surprised me with gentle furnishings in vibrant golden hues that I hadn’t anticipated before arrival. It goes without saying that all of the luxurious Taj Samudra accommodations take full advantage of the location, with views of the ocean providing a serene ambience within the room. The 35 sq. mt. Luxury Ocean View Room features a vintage design with elements like hardwood floors and carpets with abstract patterns, a stylish padded headboard, and warm wood furniture like side mirrors and tables.
In contrast to other Taj hotels, however, the walls in these rooms are typically plain, and there are no framed paintings. But the overall appearance of the luxurious room is completed by added golden pillows, ivory-coloured couches, modern air-conditioning controls, and drapes made of iridescent olive-coloured taffeta silk. As the sun sinks below the horizon and beams of amber light fill the space, it is stunning and instantly creates a sense of home. Bathrooms have basic tiling, large marble vanities, rain showers without bathtubs, complimentary premium toiletries, and other essentials such as a hair dryer.
The luxury rooms are perfect for business travellers with their ergonomic work chairs at the desk, international outlets, and bedside laptop and cell phone charging, but I wish they also had a private covered balcony. Besides that, the luxury room I stayed-in had a seating area, a huge flat-screen TV, an electronic safe, and an electric kettle with tea/coffee-making accompaniments. You may also request laundry and dry cleaning service and room service at an additional cost. Although the hotel offers complimentary Wi-Fi, it only works with two devices and is only valid for 24 hours. You can purchase premium plans for stays of one day or longer.
Room rent starts from $155 onwards
A’La Carte & More
Taj Samudra’s cuisine is exceptional and is a global showcase of culinary excellence. The cuisine spans from indigenous Sri Lankan hoppers for breakfast to a seafood feast lunch at its Crab bistro and Japanese sashimi for dinner at Yumi. All six restaurants take you on an unforgettable culinary tour with a fusion of Asian flavours, from traditional Indian to modern Japanese. The Taj’s primary restaurant, Ports Of Call, is situated halfway between the lobby and the swimming pool. On the buffet line, there is an area for local food in addition to serving international cuisine. A buffet, a la carte, and a full bar are available during lunch.
This restaurant quickly fills up for dinner as lines form around the live cooking stations. The restaurant has wood-panelled walls and beams with mosaic tiles in brass and gold as accents. The Golden Dragon, a contemporary Chinese a la carte restaurant that opened in 2014, is well-known for its all-you-can-eat dim sum brunch on Sundays. Japanese food is available at YUMI for other Asian alternatives. This modern restaurant offers a good bento box for lunch, a tiny sushi bar, and sleek orange leather chairs and stools. Yumi exclusively serves meals at lunch and evening. Crab Factory, they say, is Colombo’s most versatile seafood speciality bistro.
Additionally, there is a small area outdoors where you may sit and smoke by the pool. Other places to have evening bites include the Steak and Grill house, only available for dinner, and the Indian restaurant Navranta, open for lunch. Pebbles Cafe stays open late for lighter fare like sandwiches, pastries, and cookies. At Pebbles, there is also a bar where you can enjoy refreshments while playing pool. Lattice, the hotel’s lobby bar, is an elegant setting with live piano music, mirrored columns, white Victorian-style couches, and palm plants.
The name comes from the beautiful white wood carvings that decorate its high windows, and behind the counter hangs a sizeable modern metal sculpture. Lattice offers exquisite Sri Lankan teas and coffees as well as relaxing drinks in a relaxed, opulent setting. Yumi, however, is the best spot to get a drink after dark. The ambience is a mix of club and lounge. Pool Bar is a day-long, unassuming shed with a comprehensive drink menu with Lion and Carlsberg on tap.
Fitness, Pool, Travel and Shopping
The Taj Samudra’s eleven acres of exquisitely groomed grounds are a joy to behold, but the resort’s glittering pool area with lounge chairs is an oasis in the summer. Large covered tables and chairs for smokers, a small bar where you can get drinks, and a roomy semi-hot jetted tub with a fountain are all present on the surrounding deck and pool area. The hotel’s large fitness centre, which includes a contemporary gym with Lifestyle equipment, exercise balls, and yoga mats, is located right outside the pool area.
Backyard tennis courts are lit, and a squash court with stadium seating is underground. Off to the right of the entrance, the hotel also contains a shopping arcade. Along a covered outdoor walkway; there is a bookstore, tea shop, and jeweller. Plenty of free parking is available for those who have leased a car. Just past the hotel’s front doors, there is a tiny travel desk where you can ask for directions. Concierge assistance and bellhops are additional services.
Nearby Sightseeing Options
The National Museum, regarded as the best museum in Sri Lanka, is about five minutes away by car, as is the former Dutch Hospital, which has been recast into a shopping centre and restaurant space. The airport in Colombo is 45 minutes away from the Taj Samudra.