An oasis in the heart of Colombo.
Governor, a Hand-written Deed and Peppercorn
The year was 1892 and what was known as “Ceylon” was under British rule. Governor Havelock transferred the title to the land (on which the bungalows are built), by a hand-written deed to the Havelock Building Company on the payment of Rs. 1307/- and a Peppercorn. The present owners purchased the properties in the mid 1980’s and lived there. The Havelock Place Bungalow was first opened to guests in December 1999.
In the city, yet miles away…
To the casual passer-by, the Bungalow appears to be nothing more than an old colonial home. Only a plaque with the name ‘Havelock Place Bungalow’ engraved on it, indicates that they are open to guests. No wonder the Bungalow continues to be Colombo’s best kept secret! I’m thrilled to share it with you now!
It’s a jungle. But definitely not the concrete type…
Trees are an intrinsic part of the Havelock Place Bungalow experience. You can enjoy your breakfast while watching the garden come alive with a variety of birds and butterflies, or relax on a bench and gaze at the stars as night approaches. The surrounding foliage lends a quiet charm to every part of the Bungalow.
We arrived from Bangalore on a balmy Thursday night, just in time for a quick shower and ready for a dinner at the Dutch Hospital precinct. A cab ride from the bungalow to Dutch hospital is about ten minutes at night.
This serene oasis in the heart of Colombo is run by Seema Bharadia, originally from Leicester, in the UK. Right from our email exchanges before we arrived in Colombo, Seema has been nothing but helpful. If you’re keen to explore the town, or go shopping or have a good meal, ask Seema for a few insider tips – she’s the best guide for living like a local in Colombo. I will always remember her charming smile and soft demeanour.
The necessary details for your stay.
They have 7 types of rooms. NONE of the rooms are similar, so be sure to tell Seema your preference at the time of booking. Each one is warm, cosy, has a homely touch and has been thoughtfully curated keeping you in mind. The usual basics are there in every room – ac, phone, water, bathroom supplies etc. But make sure to cross check because the smallest room is without a closet but has a crazy large semi open air bathroom.
Each of the bedrooms opens to its own private patio or the garden. If you feel like starting your day with a swim, the pool is only a few feet away from each room.
The rooms are furnished with genuine antique furniture, specially selected for this Bungalow. Don’t expect anything fancy, but what you will get is a carefully selected and thoughtfully done up room. Each one of them.
Breakfast is normally included in your package. We enjoyed our lazy breakfasts amidst the chirping birds, rising sun and homemade ice cream for breakfast (win win win) in their garden cafe. The food is amazing, really exceeded our expectations. I enjoyed my pancakes with chunky pineapple and rum compote.
Pro tip: at snack time which is 3pm – 7pm, try their cheese toasts!
We didn’t stay long enough to try another meal but we did hear from other guests that they enjoyed the food very much – high on their recommendations were the local curries with rice.
Getting to the Bungalow:
The Bungalow is about 45 minutes – 60 minutes from Bandaranaike International airport.
Fort railway station is 8km from the Bungalow.
The Bungalow is 2.5 km away from Barefoot Gallery and 3km from the British Council. Sri Lanka National Museum. Colombo Town Hall is about 5 km away.
Although pre-paid cabs are easily available from the airport itself, if you’re landing at an unearthly hour ask Seema beforehand to make pick up arrangements.
Kangaroo Cabs are on call from the Bungalow. If you need to zip anywhere in town, they can come pick you up from the bungalow within five minutes. We found it really easy to get autos/tuk-tuks from outside the bungalow at most times of the day. Yes, they do go by the meter but it’s better to confirm before getting in. Spoken from experience.
Location of The Havelock Place Bungalow
Booking your stay:
Once again, be sure to choose your room.