High Tea and Bagpipes at the Galle Face Hotel

Swapping European winter weather for sunny Sri Lankan days was the best decision ever.  The historic Galle Face Hotel is the prime location in Colombo to enjoy tropical breezes and Indian Ocean views in January.  Built in 1864, the heritage hotel just oozes colonial charm.  Bagpipes don’t usually come to mind when one thinks of Sri Lanka, but high tea and bagpipes at the Galle Face Hotel are afternoon rituals here.

Galle Face Tea

I love indulging in a good high tea service in between sightseeing.  In the case of the Galle Face Hotel, my friend and I abandoned all sightseeing plans to spend the entire afternoon sipping our drinks under the fans in The Verandah.  We did not hesitate to return for a second trip the next day.  The Verandah offers tea service from 4 to 6 pm for 1500 Sri Lankan Rupees (about $10) — a steal just for the sunset views at dusk.

High Tea

Traditional South Asian music provides the perfect ambiance.  There is also full bar service poolside with the same amazing views.

High Tea Sitar


The tea service actually starts off with an iced coffee drink.  While I am not a coffee drinker, my friend enjoyed starting with a cold drink to begin with.  According to the hotel, the tea it serves is sourced from the world famous Sri Lankan tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya.


The afternoon tea is accompanied by a traditional English three-tier stand filled with tea sandwiches, savories, scones, and sweets.

High Tea-4


The scones with passionfruit jam were the best!

High Tea -3

Right at sunset, the sound of waves crashing against the shore is interrupted as a bagpiper appears on the Verandah to perform the daily flag lowering ceremony.


I couldn’t get the full history behind the tradition of high tea and bagpipes at the Galle Face Hotel.  Just speculation that the owner had an affinity for bagpipes, but a staff member was sent to Scotland to learn how to play bagpipes.

High Tea Ocean

Will miss this incredible view!