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Hilton Hotel Colombo, Sri Lanka

I have stayed at this hotel many times in the 6 years, It is true that it is not the best Hilton property in the world, mainly because the room fit out is very old and desperately in need of refurbishment (as of May 2013).

However, there are some excellent features of this hotel that more than make of for the shortcomings.

First of all, the staff, trained to Hilton standards, are the best of any '5 star' hotel in Colombo. I know, because I have stayed at them all, and none come close to the competence of the Hilton staff. My guess is that the Hilton management maybe also treats their staff better, because they certainly seem happier than at other hotels.

Like any Hilton property, the food is great. The buffet restaurant offers a wide range of local, regional and international choices, and caters to just about any dietary/religious requirement.

The seafood market and traditional Sri Lankan clay pot restaurant is a must try, especially for the local King Crab delicacy.

There is also good Japanese/sushi and Chinese. A bar with reasonable 'pub grub', and a nice lounge bar area with interesting an unique teas available throughout the day, and becomes a cocktail bar in the evening.

It is also worth mentioning that the 'pub' has an outstanding selection of single malt Scotch.

A poolside Italian restaurant and a western style dining restaurant complete the ensemble. But in the case of the last two, they are ok, but not great.

Despite the age and wear, the rooms are immaculate, and everything is in good working order. Linen is fresh and the beds are comfortable.

But again I come back to the staff, that really make this hotel a great place to stay. Sri Lankans are a friendly lot anyway, but the staff here just go above and beyond to make you feel welcome. The only other hotel I have stayed at equal to this is the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, and I can't think of a higher standard than that.

The big, genuine, smile on the greet-and-seat girls at breakfast; "Hello Mr Steve, how are you today?". The doorman who sees you come in late in the evening and presses the lift button in anticipation "Good evening Sir, nice to see you again". Just makes the stay that much nicer.

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