THE INSIDERS I COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
SHOP: Cotton Collection This recently opened flagship store at Dharmapala Mawatha offers a fantastic range of clothing and accessories, which can be admired in comfortable surroundings; 143 Dhamapala Mawatha, Colombo 7. DAY OUT: The Old Dutch Hospital precinct This 17th-century hospital has been resurrected and redefined as a shopping and entertainment zone, with restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, tea shops, pubs, bars, spas and stores. It’s a great place to hang out in the evening or at weekends, when young musicians play in the courtyards, adding to the atmosphere. WALK: Independence Square Take advantage of the newly built walkways surrounding Colombo’s historic Independence Square. Other great locations for a stroll are by the new parliament at Diyawanna Lake, with its stunning green space and pavements, and at Galle Face Green, the 1.5km-long greensward facing the Indian Ocean; srilanka.travel. EAT: The Gallery Cafe Packed to capacity most nights, this al fresco diner recently entered the Sri Lanka Tourism Board Hall of Fame for winning its best restaurant award for three consecutive years; paradiseroad.lk.
GM, PARADISE ROAD TINTAGEL, COLOMBO Barefoot Founded by artist, writer and designer Barbara Sansoni 40 years ago, and now run by her son Dominic, the eclectic Barefoot stores have gorgeous handwoven fabrics, souvenirs, gifts and books; barefootceylon.com. Genelle A one-stop shop for all types of sandals and footwear, handcrafted in Sri Lanka. There are a few Genelle stores but my favourite is the showroom on Duplication Road, Kollupitiya, Colombo. Paradise Road For the best range of home accessories, crockery, cutlery, curios, local crafts, candles in all shapes and sizes, artefacts and beautiful furniture; paradiseroad.lk. Ministry of Crab The hottest ticket in town, located in the Old Dutch Hospital arcades and offering top-notch crabs in tangy sauces; ministryofcrab.com.