The Dutch Hospital
Colombo 1

Very few places actually live up to their given name, and if you’re in Colombo, driving away from the financial district and turning at the Galleface Green, then this is the perfect spot for you. It is renowned as the oldest building in the Colombo Fort Area to date. The Old Dutch Hospital truly was a hospital for seafarers during the days of the Dutch East India Company but today, history dating back over three to four centuries, mingles with the comforts and sophistication of the modern day in this unique favorite among the urban youth. Stepping into the building is like stepping back in time, with the five wings and the two spacious, rectangular courtyards at its epicenter.

Perhaps the virtue of this shopping precinct is that it’s never truly crowded, with just enough space between seating areas to allow for brisk movements. It i s one of the best places to visit in Colombo if you want to experience a mix of both modern and ancient architecture in one place.

In today’s lingo, it’s a “hangout spot” and the very spaciousness of the complex is easily felt when marine winds blow in from the coast, washing over the spirits of whoever is seated around the courtyard. This very atmosphere of peace is coupled with a perfect dining experience to taste some food of Sri Lanka. A particularly filling dish of fish and chips can be paired with a refreshing Shirley Temple or to those that care about their waists, a delicious cup of tea from Heladiv. Or for those that enjoy the succulence of ice cream, Carino’s is the place for you.

It’s all part of the official menu.

Part of the allure of the Old Dutch Hospital comes with the excitement of discovery. You never know whom you may encounter. It is a perfect spot for the new and emerging culture of coffeehouse writers and poets. While their haunt is usually in the artistic districts of Colombo, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, the fresh air and openness prompts their kind to practice their arts here.  Another exciting facet is one of the many restaurants nestled into the niches of the building.

Want seafood? Try Ministry of Crab, where the Sri Lankan jumbo crabs make their daily appearance a treat for all sea food lovers. The Taphouse is arguably among the best-known watering holes in the precinct, a perfect place to let cares go away as you lose your sorrows in the world of beverages. Step into Dutch Hospital if you truly want your cares to vanish on the incoming ocean breezes of the western coast.

Written by Vasika Udurawane for

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