By Shanelle Bandara
Nestled in the heart of Galle lies Le Grand Hotel, which offers an out-of-this-world experience with its majestic architecture, amazing facilities, and undeniably expert service. This hotel was birthed through the partnership of Belluna Co. Ltd. and Asia Capital PLC.
Belluna is a listed company in the Tokyo Stock Exchange worth over $ 1 billion. Giving a bit of background information on this was Asia Capital PLC Executive Director Stefan Abeysinghe. “This is one of the largest companies we have brought into Sri Lanka for investments,” he stated ardently. Le Grand was one of their first and smallest projects in which they invested a sum of $ 23 million in equity. Through this investment, they were able to create close to 120 new jobs and thereby feed 120 families. They are confident that Le Grand will generate good returns for their investors while performing well for the country by butting heads with the Maldives.
Introducing this “grand” hotel was Le Grand Resident Manger Lahiru Silva who explained that the hotel is technically referred to as a full-service resort property. He went on to say that Le Grand is unique in terms of its concept, service, and location. The concept is a resort in the city, Silva elaborated. “We are so close to the city, but still create and give an experience to the customers of a resort.”
As we went on to explore the area, we noticed the unique architecture of the property which sported tonnes of ancient looking carvings. The décor is inspired by the cultural heritage of the Dutch, but this is not all. It is a combination of both history and modernism; on the exterior when you enter, you will see Dutch-inspired décor but as you enter the rooms, you will be presented with modern amenities. This factor gives Le Grand its own unique identity.
Next on our list to explore were the rooms of Le Grand Galle. They have 50 luxury rooms and seven grand suites. There are five different room categories: Plungepool Suite, Jacuzzi Suite, Premium Room, Super Deluxe Room, and Deluxe Room.
The Plungepool Suite stands as the highest category room at Le Grand, and with a very good reason. It contains a private plunge pool as well as a courtyard and provides all imaginable services to the room itself, such as in-room check-in, spa treatments, cooking facilities, etc. The suite was based around the idea of privacy. It basically acts as a second home in which you can stay in the whole day without having to go out anywhere. Another interesting fact that we noticed about the room was that all the containers were biodegradable. The room satisfies all your wildest desires whilst also being environmentally friendly; it is a “suite” deal!
Next up was the Jacuzzi Suite which obviously, as its name suggests, had a fully electronic in-room jacuzzi! This is not the only thing we got excited by. As they pulled apart the curtains, we were blown away by the astounding panoramic view of the deep blue ocean as well as the majestic Galle Fort. These suites are designed to embody luxury mashed up with a contemporary style.
Super Deluxe Room
The Super Deluxe Room, in contrast to the Plungepool Suite, has more of an open nature rather than a reserved one. If you are an individual craving an open room to experience nature around you, this room will be perfect for you. The room has open bathrooms (which you can of course close the blinds of). It is an ideal space to savour indulgence and breathe in the salty sea air and even enjoy a spa-like experience with select Ayurveda amenities in the bathtub.
The Deluxe Room is your family-friendly, interconnected room. One room is a twin and the other is a double. This room also provides direct access to the pool where you can bask in the sun or even chill out in your own open veranda.
The Premium Room is the epitome of refined luxury. It offers a fantastic view of the Galle Fort and the Indian Ocean.
It even has its very own jacuzzi in which you can relax and unwind. You could even enjoy your favourite book on the terrace as the ocean breeze blows through your hair.
As we entered the Le Grand Spa, the aroma of lemongrass wafted towards us, making us relax almost immediately.
The ground was laid out with white pebbles, giving it a rather exotic vibe. The spa contains three treatment rooms; two doubles and a single which are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
If you are a fitness freak and are worried about putting on weight after binge eating at the hotel’s restaurants, worry not! The Le Grand also has a great gym. The gym is open 24 hours and contains all-American equipment.
The DIP is a one-of-a-kind poolside bar which offers a variety of cocktail concoctions and has a live-action cooking station.
Last but not least, with hungry rumbling stomachs, we headed off to the hotel’s two restaurants named Taste and Blue to get a good look and taste of their delectable menus.
Taste, which is an all-day dining restaurant, has the ambience of a modern bistro and food which is reminiscent of home.
Blue, which is the speciality seafood restaurant, sports an open kitchen and has a lovely view of the electric blue Indian Ocean. The meals which are prepared using seafood are delivered daily by local fishermen. One can enjoy the view whilst enjoying a truly mouth-watering meal.
Saying goodbye to Le Grand was hard on all of us. For the little time we were there, we felt like we were transported into a whole other realm which was both comforting and exciting at the same time. As we finally did say our goodbyes, we left joyfully and thoroughly satisfied, hoping to visit Le Grand once again.
Photos Krishan Kariyawasam