Review: Clock Inn Colombo
When your hostel feels home…
For Nathan, it was a year and a half ago, he discovered Clock Inn Colombo. When he returned from Singapore to the boutique business hotel in Colombo he last stayed for nearly two months – Ivy Lane Colombo – run by the same owner, it was overbooked and they transformed him to their partner hostel, Clock Inn Colombo. After months of solo-traveling and staying in both luxury and budget hotels in Sri Lanka, he made Clock Inn Colombo his home for next eight months. For Nathan, quitting his Masters and leaving Australia behind everyone’s back was never easy – he sure needed good one year to himself. For those of you don’t know, Nathan has an inspiring story to tell. But that’s for another day.
While for Zin, it was her friend, Marissa, with funky red hair who first talked of Clock Inn Colombo. When Meghna, their friend – the Indian girl who loved England cricket a tad too much and secretly adored George Bailey’s smile – came to Sri Lanka after backpacking over a year in thirteen counties, Clock Inn Colombo was where she chose to stay. In fact, it was where Marissa told her to. Later, Zin came there for her Sunday classes and stayed over to watch cricket in pretty grounds.
And that, Clock Inn Colombo, was, where we met. Where we fell in love. And last but most importantly, where it feels home.
Clock Inn Colombo, surely is not a party hostel. We doubt if there’s any party hostel in Colombo, yet. But it’s a great place to meet new souls and make friends – specially with their colorful and cheerful lobby area. And with a large TV in the middle, the lobby makes a good movie spot as well as a weekend-night sport spot.
Zin, when she came to Clock Inn during the weekends, met an old guy from Pakistan who came over to Sri Lanka for cricket, and shared stories with everyone in the hostel. For Zin, he was like an uncle. She called her ‘mamu’ (means ‘uncle’ in Urdu) and he, who now she terribly misses, used to show her short movie clips and shared his experiences of travelling to 40 something countries.
Over the months, we made so many friends in Clock Inn Colombo. Some, even after a year still remain friends and will do so for life. Some of them, like us, were locals and some, were foreigners whom we shared travel tips with.
The lobby area is also a good place to get some work done and relax for a bit. If meeting new people isn’t your thing, the large comfy cushions, bright windows and good air condition make it a perfect place to curl up in a corner with a good book.
Although they are not always chatty, and broadly smiling, the staff here are pretty helpful. Expect for Mohan, who’s REALLY VERY friendly, quite helpful to others, and our favourite at Clock Inn Colombo. He lately left Clock Inn to teach Tamil to little kids in Idalgashinna and we think we’re going to miss him big times. So will Clock Inn?
The Room (s)
Zin’s stayed in Clock Inn Colombo during weekends a number of times she no longer can count but never had she stayed in a private room. But, Nathan has. And both of us, always loved the dormitories more. Clock Inn Colombo has 6-bed and 4-bed mixed dorms with shared bathrooms with enough shower cubicles so you don’t need to stay in line for your chance. The showers and toilets are mostly always clean and come up with warm water.
Each dorm-bed comes up with a bed-light and a power socket. Each guest here also has access to his/her own private locker with a key-lock.
If you need more privacy, Clock Inn Colombo has private single and double rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Each private room here has a TV, too. All rooms, including dormitories, are air-conditioned for a cozy, comfortable good night’s sleep.
Clock Inn Colombo has free Wi-Fi, 24/7, all throughout the property. But in some of the dorms we stayed, the Wi-Fi was quite slow and you’ll always have to run downstairs to upload your funky photos on Instagram.
What we mostly love is, they have a breakfast buffet – including toast, cereals, eggs and sausages, fruits such as watermelon and bananas coupled with tea, coffee and fresh juice. And everything is unlimited. Yes, that’s right! You can have ten eggs for brekkie if you need.
This cute hostel in Colombo also offers free coffee and tea throughout the day with fresh milk. We think fresh milk is a good alternative to milk powder you find in other hostels in Colombo.
6-bed dorms here cost $14 while the 4-bed dorms cost $16. Private single rooms are priced at $50 while the double room charges you $55 per night. This comes up with breakfast included and we think that’s good value for money.
And if you plan to visit Colombo, we suggest you book directly through their website.
The Location (No. 457 Galle Rd, Colombo 03)
Clock Inn Colombo is right in the middle of the city. Although it may not be the nearest place to all guide-book attractions, it’s still close to many must-visit places. It’s nearly 6km from the Fort Railway Station. If you are not carrying a huge backpack, jump onto a bus (bus number 100, 101) from Pettah and Fort Railway Station, and it will only cost you Rs.15. If you take a tuk tuk, it will cost you Rs.300.
The hostel is about 400m from Bambalapitiya junction and Majestic City. It’s just a few steps away from many popular restaurants including Bubblelement, Paan Paan, Queens Café, Green Cabin, Acropol and The Gallery Café. The last one though – will cost you around Rs.4000 for a complete meal. For a budget Sri Lankan meal, Green Cabin is a good option while the Majestic City food court does a fair job, too.
Tuk tuks are a great way to get around the city while you’re based in Clock Inn Colombo. But remember to always get onto a tuk with a meter.
It’s been over 4 years since Clock Inn Colombo was established. They are still running quite well and one of the pioneers in Colombo’s budget lodging scene. (Read what we think are the six best hostels in Colombo, here.) But we think some places of the hostel, i.e. showers, common areas, doors need a re-do and to be glad, we heard that they’re soon going to refurbish the hostel. Yay!
Clock Inn Colombo intensely focuses on comfort, charm and family-like atmosphere. And, this to us feels home in our own country.
Zin would like to thank Clock Inn Colombo for sponsoring her stay with them, but as always opinions are honest and entirely her own. Well we meant, the number of times we paid and stayed in this beautiful hostel is uncountable and we think it’s our HOME.