Josh and I have never been travellers that spend hundreds on hotel rooms a night. In fact, I think our upper limit in Sri Lanka was a cool $25 a night. We figure that hotels are just for sleeping, right?
The very first hotel we went to in Colombo was the Metro City Hotel. We chose this particular hotel because of its central location, the fact that it had 24/7 front desk (we arrived early in the morning) and the price.
And oh GOD, were we in for a treat!
We headed to Metro City Hotel straight from the airport. Our flight was delayed. Our luggage was delayed. Then we noticed our luggage was broken – great. It took us quite a while before we were able to actually leave the airport.
We bought a HUTCH card, switched our Christmas British Pounds into Rupees and ordered an Uber to the hotel.
The hotel was quiet.
In fact – we were scared nobody was actually there. The front desk looked abandoned…
Until a good 6 or 7 minutes later – I was already looking for the phone number – something behind the counter stirred. The night guard was sleeping on the floor and me trying to lift my broken case onto the entryway of the hotel obviously had not woken him.
We were used to staff sleeping in reception. We have seen it a few times in Kathmandu; I feel for these people. But I guess sleeping in reception is better than staying awake all night in reception.
Anyway, the man checked us in. He was friendly and showed us to our room.
Our Metro City Hotel Room
The hotel room was… dirty? Old? Stained from top to bottom?
I remember still being a bit drunk on airplane drinks and just whipping out my GoPro for a laugh. There was no window, the chairs were downright dirty, the water in the sink did not work – nor did the water from the bidet and the the toilet paper had nice brown ‘’water’’ stains on the white paper.
I mean – sure. You can say that we did indeed choose a cheap hotel. Except that it wasn’t all that cheap to start with. $30 is the lower end of mid-range in Colombo, and we had the choice between Metro City Hotel or paying at least $50 because we booked the whole trip not 24 hours before leaving. True story.
For a mere $5 extra a night you can stay in the luxurious ME Colombo – a hotel where Josh and I have been staying at for the last few weeks during the Colombo COVID19 curfew.
All in all the bed was comfortable. There was no middle ground between baking hot (no aircon) and freezing cold (any aircon). The little window in the room was perfectly placed to be absolutely useless for any sunlight or fresh air but did provide us with the most amazing acoustics of the city. Yes, you read that sarcasm right. Morning prayers, tuk tuks, busses – 4 am was a very busy hour in Colombo!
We had no idea there was breakfast
I remember descending via the awkwardly placed elevator when we saw the little sign. We were stressing about check out as we had a train to Hikkaduwa to catch.
‘’Complimentary breakfast will be served on the fifth floor.’’
Yeah we did not see that before we literally stood there bags in hand, ready to leave Colombo.
Because of this I cannot comment on the quality of the breakfast – I never even saw the breakfast hall.
Metro City Hotel Location
Metro City Hotel was located right in the busy centre of Colombo. The station was a mere 15-minute walk away, the Colombo City Centre mall was a 10-minute walk in the other direction. Here you could find a food court with most well-known fast food brands, a very clean supermarket, and even a cinema.
It was never hard to find a tuk tuk or to get an uber to drop you somewhere. Overall there were good transport links, and I would say that the hotel’s location was one of it’s main (only) characteristics.
Food choices in the vicinity of the hotel
As I mentioned before: Metro City Hotel is located in the centre of Colombo. This means there are a large number of restaurants and markets to choose from.
- Fazly’s Halal Refreshment
This little hamburger joint was just across the street from our hotel. We mainly chose it because of the many great reviews and the silly name.
Josh and I both had a hamburger and it was amazing! 5/5
- Okra Kitchen By Ravi & Sepali
Okra Kitchen is located in the food court of Colombo City Centre Mall. It mainly serves traditional Sri Lankan food and offers a nice rice and curry buffet. We paid 800 rupees for the buffet with a chicken curry included. The food was good and a great way to have your very first Sri Lankan rice and curry.
- Night market on Justice Akbar Mawatha
When eating at Fazly’s we noticed there was a lot going on on Justice Akbar Mawatha. This big street was teeming with locals. We had a small look and noticed that people were waiting for their food on this little (maybe even improvised) street food market. The rice and curries looked great, as did the fruit salads and the aromatic barbecues.
The view from the little window in the hallway.
Alternative hotels to Colombo Metro City Hotel
As mentioned before: for not too much more you can stay in better hotels. These alternative hotels are definitely worth a look at.
Renuka City is a modern hotel with beautiful sea views. The hotel is located in the middle of the city near the coastline. It has a large gym and a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Check prices and availability here.
We actually booked this hotel for when we would come back to Colombo to catch our flight. Faith would have it that the booking I was trying to make via Agoda actually did go through. I had to cancel my stay at Tilhara Days Inn as the Agoda one was non-refundable. Tilhara Days in looks very clean, very modern – and the room actually has a window! Check prices and availability here.
I will write an in-depth review about ME Colombo very soon (it became our home in Sri Lanka while being stuck due to Covid) but I want to mention the hotel because of its great service, the absolutely beautiful rooms, the amazing pool and high quality food! Check prices and availability here.