Words: Kirsten Durward Photos: Monica Tindall
Swirl up to the colonial columns of Residence by Uga Escapes in leafy Park Street and be welcomed into a sanctuary of serenity within the bustling hub of Colombo. This is one of those hotels you want to stay at, where the hotel is the point of the stay (not solely the sites that surround it). The property oozes Victorian appeal, and it’s said that the original owner, the wealthy barrister Sheikh Salehboy Moosajee hosted the cream of colonial society, including maharajas and European nobility within these very walls.
Having changed hands several times over the century, Residence is now a unique eleven-suite luxury boutique hotel in Colombo, one of the jewels in the Uga Escapes collection. The shady colonnades around the central pool, the red tiled roofs, and the whitewashed walls all combine to create a whimsical reference to days gone by, but now we also have the benefit of modern highlights such as a small but well equipped gym.
On arrival we are welcomed with a chilled glass of aromatic cinnamon tea, then quickly settled into our spacious Park Suite. Elegantly furnished with an understated opulence, creating a classical ambience, each suite also boasts the modern accouterments of 42” flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, mini-bar and a delightful selection of Sri Lankan teas and espresso style coffees. Double doors lead through into the vast bathroom with ceiling top rain shower and oversized double vanity console.
24-hour room service is standard at the Residence, and the extensive restaurant menu is fully available. The staff will be happy to serve you anything from breakfast in bed up to and including a full five-course dinner. However the light is so beautiful in the lobby lounge and the shady beds by the pool so appealing that I find it hard to spend much time in our capacious suite. Whether you prefer the sultry natural air or the cool of air conditioning, the Residence offers plenty of places to relax, read or sip from one of their signature cocktails.
With its exposed brickwork, wooden floors, comfortable leather and discreet overhead lighting, the Residence’s bar feels like a modern style gentleman’s club. The bar boasts an enviable collection of liquors, including an extensive range of Sri Lanka’s signature; Arrack. Monica and Caning have tasted most of what is on offer on a previous stay, so for this visit we sample a few Martinis created for a special Ladies’ Night. We’re ladies, it’s night, so it seems rude not to!
Rare at Residence has a well-deserved reputation for fresh innovative fusion cuisine. The Yum List has now visited twice, which shows how much we like it and this time sampled several lunch and dinner dishes, being particularly impressed by the vegetarian options on the menu. Breakfast almost overwhelms us with choices and we’d have to stay for a week to try everything on the menu. The presentations are perfection. The juices are fresh; I love the beetroot juice with mint and apple, but I do recommend asking for no sugar. The choices of homemade jam are delectable, the pancakes fluffy, and the granola nutty-crunchy just how Monica likes it.
Superbly located, it’s easy walking distance from the Residence to several of Colombo’s signature heritage sites; the Buddhist shrine Sri Gangarama Viharee, the beautiful Seema Malakaya meditation centre, Colombo Town Hall, and the gorgeous Dewataga Mosque. Anyone in need of a little shopping stimulation can meander into two of Colombo’s well known upmarket outlets, the clothing heaven that is Cotton Collection, and Paradise Road famed for beautiful natural household items. The Residence provides a signature guide, Insight Colombo which details attractions, which are a little further away in the city, Colombo Fort being notable amongst these. However, do be sure to leave plenty of time to enjoy the restful environs of the courtyard pool and the delightful offerings of Rare at Residence along with the bar.
Reasons to visit: central location; colonial elegance.; fantastic food and beverage; wonderful service.
Residence by Uga Escapes
20 Park Street
+94 (0) 11567300