Suisse Hotel has an envied position alongside the lake in the middle of Kandy, Sri Lanka's hill country capital. For those intent upon a sense of old colonial, Suisse Hotel may fit the bill. It might not quite match the elegance of, say, Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, but it is of similar vintage. Dark wooden panelling, polished parquet or tiled floors, pictures of royalty and VIPs of yesteryear and creaking antique furniture predominate in a traditional hotel that slows your step and transports you back in time. Structural changes cannot be made to the hotel - the flagship of the Ceylon Hotels Corporation - without permission from Sri Lanka's cultural ministry, and anybody who happened to have stayed here 50 years ago in the hotel's heyday, when prime ministers and princes might be among the guests, would find that little has changed. These enduring qualities will delight many, but there are drawbacks: low-grade lighting and limited TV channels are also part of the ancient colonial experience and the restaurant menu has been largely untouched by modern trends. Foodies beware! Queen’s Hotel, Ceylon Hotel Corporation's second Kandy property, is also upgrading to good effect on the other, busier, side of the lake, and is worth consideration for those yearning for a sense of history.
Suisse has 90 colonial-style a/c rooms: 56 Standard Rooms, 25 Deluxe Rooms, two Superior Rooms and seven Suites. All rooms look out either onto Kandy Lake or a quiet central courtyard. In room facilities include: a/c and ceiling fan, shower or bath with shower, phone, radio, TV (with local channels only) and minibar. Flooring is either polished parquet or tiles. The suites also have a living area and a balcony with views over Kandy Lake, as well as an interconnecting door.
A lounge bar and traditional Sri Lankan restaurant offer Western and Eastern cuisine, either a buffet or set menu. There is also the Coffee Shop and BBQ facilities. There is room service, but it is not 24 hours. There is also a swimming pool complete with toddler’s pool, pool bar and sun deck, set in a lawned area with great views of Kandy Lake, and a spa offering Ayurvedic treatments. There is a floodlit clay tennis court, a pool table, dart board and the usual collection of indoor games. The excellent snooker room, with attendant, is another prized colonial staple. There are laundry facilities and money exchange. At the entrance to the hotel is a small row of shopping outlets, predominantly gem shops, souvenirs and antiques and a hair and beauty salon, small shopping arcade, and helipad. Free Wi-Fi is available in all public areas.
Why We Like It
One of Sri Lanka's most historic hotels has a great location next to Kandy lake and changes ever so reluctantly
Kandy's delightful lakeside setting and cultural heritage make it an essential part of the Sri Lankan experience. Kandy is about 3.5 hours from Colombo's International Airport.