Urban Safaris at the Shangri-La Colombo, Sri Lanka

Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo announces its urban safari experiences, curated for guests who wish to go off the beaten track and uncover the metropole’s hidden gems. From an exhilarating tuk tuk ride through Colombo’s lesser known streets to an afternoon selecting precious gems with a local expert, the concierge team at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo offers guests unparalleled access to a bespoke collection of cultural and historical experiences.

Tuk Tuk Safari
Guests are invited to zip around the lively streets of the city in true Sri Lankan style. Colourful and characterful, the classic tuk tuks draw up right outside the hotel to take guests on an exploration of the city’s best local sites from the bustling outdoor bazaar of Pettah to impressive colonial buildings, army barracks and military lookouts still intact from the Civil War. Tuk tuks are the most popular mode of transport in Sri Lanka and this special urban tour ensures guests have the opportunity to feel totally immersed in the city’s culture.

Temple Trail
The well-informed concierge at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo is on hand to design a curated tour of the city’s traditional temples. Guests are able to experience an inspiring and bespoke visit to four prominent Buddhist temples in and around Colombo – Gangaramaya, Abhayasinharamaya, Vidyodoya Pirivena and Paramananda Purana Viharaya. The trail allows guests to marvel at the Gangaramaya Buddhist temple’s eclectic mix of Asian architecture as well as observe a fascinating range of religious statues and artefacts. During the trip, guests will also have the chance to see famed architect Geoffrey Bawa’s beautifully sculpted Buddha statues at the Seema Malakaya set against a beautiful lake background – a perfect spot to reflect and relax.

The Gem Aficionado
In celebration of the country’s affectionate nickname ‘Gem Island’, the concierge at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo can arrange a Sri Lankan gemstones session with a local expert in order for guests to gain a unique insight into the precious gems of Sri Lanka. From colonial times, traders have travelled to Sri Lanka in search of the most exquisite pieces. This unique experience informs guests of how the island became famous for mining and faceting gems. Further to this, the hotel can organise visits to a range of gem shops and workshops with the most delicate and stunning jewellery. This will give guests the opportunity to choose precious gems and have them individually crafted whilst in the city. Local jewellers in Sri Lanka are often involved in all aspects of the process including the mining, cutting, manufacture and design of the end piece, thereby creating a very special and bespoke experience for those purchasing the jewels.

The Gem Aficionado experience can be completed by the most luxurious and exclusive afternoon tea in the city at the hotel’s Sapphyr Lounge which boasts innovative gem themed intricacies such as sugar sapphires and custom made edible chocolate jewellery (the first of its kind in Colombo) presented in elegant mother of pearl jewellery boxes.

Sunset Colombo City Walks
Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo also offers guests the opportunity to take their urban safari by foot with hosted sunset city walking tours. The two-hour walking tour includes visits to prominent historical spots as well as the most hidden and discreet gems of Colombo. Whilst on the walk, guests will undoubtedly spot colonial landmarks such as the Old Colombo Lighthouse among other grand buildings all of which are all the more spectacular against the warm hues of the setting sun. The group leaders are enthusiastic and engaging with a true passion for telling Colombo’s story thereby making the city walks more than just a tour but a memorable and inspiring experience for all those involved.

The Art Lover
Colombo is well known for its art scene with the city’s famed “Art Street” bordering the scenically landscaped Viharamadevi Park. The “Art Street” comes alive on weekends with talented artists lining the streets showcasing their paintings of various styles and tastes ranging from traditional to contemporary. The hotel’s concierge will guide guests to the famous street and organise a stopover at the city’s iconic park. Not to mention, the city also hosts many art exhibitions which the concierge will also alert guests to.

In addition to offering one-of-a-kind urban safari experiences, Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo also provides an unrivalled social and dining scene in the city with five restaurants, bars and lounges offering an extensive selection of local and international cuisine, al fresco dining, daily live entertainment and innovative menus. For those seeking serenity and the opportunity to unwind after their city adventures, CHI, The Spa is a welcoming sanctuary with seven treatment rooms, a 24-hour fitness centre, and a swimming pool and pool bar overlooking Galle Face Green and the Indian Ocean.

Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo’s offer, Discover Colombo, includes a Sunset Heritage City Walk to explore the colonial charm of the historic Colombo Fort, or a tuk tuk safari of street shopping for hidden gems, dining on native cuisine and more. Priced from US$245 per room per night, the package includes daily breakfast, a dinner for two at the local specialty restaurant, 20 per cent off on food and beverages, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

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