Located in the coastal town of Mount Lavinia, which is just 12 kilometres south of the City of Colombo and 54 kilometres from the Bandaranaike International Airport, the hotel is easy to reach, yet away from the congestion of the capital. It is situated atop a rock and looks over the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. The hotel allows direct access to the beach.
The town of Mount Lavinia was originally known as Galkissa in Sinhala. It's said to have acquired the latter name in memory of 'Lady Lovinia'.
The Governor''s Palace
In the year 1805, Sir Thomas Maitland, a gallant military General, sailed to the island of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was known at that time) to assume duties as the second British Governor. He was better known by the sobriquet ''King Tom''.
King Tom had the desire to build a grand country mansion for himself, as he was very dissatisfied with the accommodation provided to him on arrival, which he regarded as hardly fitting for a man of his rank and stature. On his travels around the island he discovered the perfect location for a stately house, on a promontory overlooking the sea in the village of Galkissa, not too far from the capital, Colombo.
It was in the year 1806 that King Tom built his new residence, a symbol of the power and authority vested in him, as His Majesty''s Governor of the island of Ceylon. Indeed King Tom built a house fit for a king, wherein he fulfilled his greatest desire of creating a pleasure-dome filled with excitement and entertainment to escape the inevitable pressures upon his freedom as Governor, within a rigidly circumscribed colonial English society.
Here within the portals of this house, King Tom first set eyes on a beautiful mestizo dancer, Lovina Aponsuwa, the half Portuguese and half Sinhalese lead dancer of her father''s dancing troupe. As she danced before him, enticing him with her long flowing jet black tresses and fixing his attention with her large, expressive, hazel brown eyes, King Tom was mesmerised. He fell instantly in love with Lovina, for nowhere had he seen such perfection, such beauty, and such grace. Lovina and her dance troupe became regular performers at the Governor''s house. Flattered by the attentions of this high-ranking official, Lovina, the lowly dancer was further elated when, as a token of his growing affection, she learned that he was to name his grand country mansion Mount Lavinia, after her.
Before long, King Tom and Lovina were engaged in a clandestine romance, their deep passion for one another flourishing in secret, away from the disapproving eyes of the English society in Colombo, and the moral imperatives of such a closed community.
Lovina''s life could not have been more different from that of her exalted paramour. She was from the lowest caste among the Sinhalese, the Rodiya community, looked down upon by the higher castes. She lived in humble dwellings a short distance from the Governor''s grand mansion. An underground tunnel allowed the Governor and his beloved to keep their trysts secret. The mouth of this tunnel was a disused well near Lovina''s dwelling place, and the underground passage led to the cellars of the Governor''s House. Their romance continued for six years with Lovina a regular visitor at King Tom''s private residence.
The duties of conscientious Governorship soon took their toll on King Tom, however, and poor health forced him to leave the island of Ceylon and his adored Lovina. The Governor, an honourable man, who wanted to do the very best for Lovina within the social mores of the time, presented her with a parting gift: a large piece of land in Attidiya, a village some distance away from Galkissa.
Although the departure of King Tom was to naturally seal the end of their love affair, Lovina''s name is remembered as providing the inspiration in naming the Governor''s house. Indeed, it is believed that her descendants still live in the vicinity of Mount Lavinia. The legend is the story of Lovina, how she fervently held the attention, and captured the heart of a distinguished British Governor of Ceylon.
To this day, the secret tunnel remains, keeping alive the memory and spirit of the beautiful mestizo dancer, elevated in the popular imagination to ''Lady Lavinia''.
The premier restaurant of the hotel provides an ambiance of old world charm. Enjoy the ambiance of a colonial era Ceylonese style restaurant, with a creative blend of regional and continental specialties. The Governor's Restaurant can comfortably seat up to 200 people. A La Carte is served at lunch and dinner. Dress up and go to the Governor's for an evening of elegance and sophistication.
Designated by Newsweek magazine as one of the "World's best gathering places", this is one of the most sought after dining locations for both national and international clients in Colombo. Enjoy the enchanting experience of dining under the stars, seduced by a soft tropical breeze, while lounging by the pool. The bright pinks, oranges and purples of the sky as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean will mesmerise you while you enjoy your meal or sip a tropical cocktail. You can dine to the soothing sounds of live music over a gourmet dinner; on Sunday a live jazz band plays while you enjoy our brunch. The Terrace features daily international lunch buffets and a world of themed nightly buffets that takes you on a gastronomical journey, while A La Carte is served daily from 9.00am to 1.00am. Walk in for breakfast and lunch in casual wear, or take out an elegant dress for dinner.
Sea food cove
Enjoy the magic and romance of the Seafood Cove, with a table set right on the beach, candle light, the warm ocean breeze and the surf breaking softly just a few feet away. Watch the flickering illumination of hurricane lamps throw shadows of history on the soft sand underfoot. It is designed to make your heart skip a beat: a rustic island style Cadjan-thatched gazebo that shades you from the sun and shelters you from the rain, perched on the pristine sands of the paradise beach overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is a quaint yet stylish venue with the ambiance signifying the natural aesthetic beauty with a setting that is nothing short of picture perfect. The cool night breeze will caress you while waiters in ethnic island style attire cosset you. Freshly caught seafood straight from the Indian Ocean is on display on a massive ice filled basket, to be cooked just the way you want it, grilled, sautéed, devilled, poached, fried or in any other style that you prefer. Enjoy the rustic setting and live calypso band that plays during dinner while you tuck into your lobster, jumbo prawns, cuttlefish, squid or fish. So pay us a visit on a starry night to the superlative Seafood Cove. You don't even need to dress up to dine on the finest cuisine at the Seafood Cove - come as you are.
Lobby lounge and bar
Relax and enjoy the magnificent view of the Indian Ocean while you sip a tropical cocktail and munch on your favourite snack. The Lobby Lounge is open 24 hours a day and the bar is open till midnight. Reserve a cocktail dress or smart shirt especially for an evening at the Lobby Lounge.
* No alcoholic beverages are served in any of the bars on Poya days and religious holidays.
Fish tale bar
The bar designed in the style of a Cajun beach tavern is where you can savour traditional blues as well as the world's finest alcoholic beverages. Located on the golden beach, this is the place to find a bit of shade and sip a cool beer or cocktail after enjoying a spell in the sun. The Beach Bar is an extension of the Seafood Cove and is open from eight in the morning to midnight. You don't need to dress up to enjoy a drink here. The Beach Bar can comfortably accommodate up to 30 guests.
In room amenities
Amenities and Services Featured in all Rooms
Air conditioning with individual temperature control
International Direct Dialing (IDD)
WiFi facility available in all rooms (Free Internet)
24-hour house keeping with daily evening turn-down service
Satellite television with international & local channels
Tea and coffee making facility
All bathrooms are supplied with luxury bathroom amenities, hair dryer and 24-hour hot and cold running water.
The following amenities are also available for guests on request.
Iron and ironing board
Bathrobe and slippers
Toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.), shoe polish, sewing kit
Personal wake-up call service (through the hotel operator)
Extra storage-safe facilities are available at the Front Office
3 room types
Direct ocean view rooms
Ocean view rooms
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"We had a trip planned with Cyril just when international travel closed down due to Covid. Cyril was great in planning a trip with me that had a great deal of flexibility and tailored to visit the places we wanted to seeUnfortunately we were unable to take the trip. Cyril's response to that was great, he dealt with everything for us in terms of cancellationsHe has kept in touch with us since then and has already contacted me with a revised plan for our trip to Sri Lanka. Which we will book with h..." Brian O: Keefe - Perth - Australia
"Cyril Tours is a very good agency. Because we did use it from 01st of March to 14 March 2013. From the start till end of our emails, he has (Mr.Cyril) given all required details. Also he send us very detailed itinerary with pictures. Actually no need guide after go through it.Cyril Tours is not a big agency. He was a guide in Sri Lanka more than 26 years. Many clients recommend him to their friends and to relatives who want to visit Sri Lanka.They asked from him to travel, that is why he be..." John and Mary from Canada
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"(10 days). Before the trip I did a lot of research here on the site and other sites on the tour options and after checking in we decided to go with a guide attached. Choice in was not easy and I started Travels "correspondence with more than ten guides to staying with the" chosen ". No doubt it was an excellent choice! Before Asbury on our guide, I wanted to note that after the visit, I understand the importance of taking guide (driver) suite. Roads and driving in Sri Lanka ..." Corey