We are all aware of the awful incident that befell Sri Lanka in April 2019.

We were fortunate, however, to work with the Shangri-La Hotel Colombo on a major conference event late 2018, and have no hesitation about working with the property and brilliant team again.

You can see the reasons why in our event report below.

We were delighted to receive this message from the hotel’s Vice President & General Manager, Timothy Wright:

“Our heartfelt sympathies and support continue to be with the families and loved-ones of those affected by the incidents in Sri Lanka on 21 April 2019. They will always be remembered. I am pleased to announce that Shangri-La Hotel Colombo is now ready to welcome guests. Our team’s passion for service remains undiminished, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the hotel.”

If you’d like to know more about our Shangri-La Hotel Colombo experience, please let me know.

Sharon Levingston
Head of Events
The Events Authority

The Events Authority had the very great pleasure and responsibility of delivering a four-day conference in Sri Lanka in late 2018 for a client with a global footprint in the Educational Services sector.

Some 200 delegates flew into Sri Lanka from all corners of the globe for interactive workshop sessions, business partner training, and panel discussions that addressed the changing needs of the global education market.

This annual event has traditionally been held in Asian capitals, but ventured to the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.  The conference was staged at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo.

The venue has only been operating since 2017, but certainly delivered the highest levels of Shangri-La service and experience, setting—we believe—new benchmarks for the region.

The meeting spaces are across two floors, both of which are easily accessible by dedicated escalators and lifts. The Grand Ballroom—on the higher of the two floors—can be split into three zones. We used Ballroom B/C for the conference plenary session, and Ballroom A for lunch.  The pre-function foyer is spacious (see header image), with the added bonus of high ceilings and gorgeous natural light.

Shangri-La Ballroom Convention set up.

The floor below the Grand Ballroom is home to another bank of eight meeting rooms with a common foyer. The Spice Ballroom here offers a single space that can be divided into four, all with natural light.  The second Ballroom also breaks into four spaces.  Each of these rooms is perfect for breakout and smaller groups, the majority of them having inbuilt screens and ceiling projection.

We found all Shangri-La staff—without exception—an absolute pleasure and delight to work with.  Being a new property, there were some very minor training issues that require attention.  There was always a member of the banquets team on standby to assist our operating team, and I can genuinely say that the level of service we received from the banqueting team was about as good as we’ve seen anywhere.

The quality of the F&B was very high, and there was plenty of food for everyone.  All dietary requirements were catered for without the slightest issue.

We had a lot of moving parts—props and backdrops to shift from rooms—yet after a morning briefing each day this was completed smoothly and seamlessly.

A fabulous feature of the hotel is its outdoor deck area which is covered by a permanent marquee.  As event managers, we love being able to offer our clients outdoor networking solutions that are not weather dependent, and the back-up of returning to a Ballroom if required.  We commend the hotel for its forward-thinking approach by installing a permanent marquee over this space with removable sides.

An innovative feature of the Grand Ballroom is the ability to use the inbuilt lighting for the stage wash and spots.  By being creative with the lighting, we were able to save our client the cost of added rigging of lights for the event.

Horizon Club Lounge.

The Horizon Club was ideal for our senior executives, with the added advantage of hourly complimentary rental of the smaller meeting spaces for our ad hoc briefing meetings.  One suggestion that the hotel might consider is to extend the evening cocktail service operating hour, or offer a paid service for later in the night.

Capital Bar & Grill.The Capital Bar & Grill was hugely popular each night with our delegates regularly kicking on until the wee hours of the morning.  There’s live entertainment here, Monday to Saturday, from 8.30 pm.

Whilst there are offsite locations available, these are limited and some do involve a bit of travel time.  The waterfront Galle Face Hotel is just a five-minute walk from the Shangri-La, and was the perfect setting for our delegates for an offsite dinner.  Pre-Dinner drinks were served out on the Terrace at sunset with an added touch of the lowering of the flag to the sounds of the bagpipes.

There are a number of event spaces at the Galle Face Hotel that can be used for groups, we used the Grand Ballroom and held a very casual group dinner with Bollywood entertainment to add colour and movement to the room.

Colombo is definitely worth considering for residential conferences for up to 300. With facilities and services available at the Shangri-La, Colombo is now an excellent alternative to Asian capital cities.

Contact:  Sharon Levingston