Events The Galle Face Hotel doorman clocks 50 years of service

The Galle Face Hotel doorman clocks 50 years of service

2016 Jul 21

One of the world’s oldest hotels honors one of the world’s longest-serving hotel employees

MONDAY, 18th JULY 2016, COLOMBO;It has been 50 years since Mr. Banda lugged his first barrel of beer into the tap room at the Galle Face Hotel. Now – at 71 years old – the loyal employee is still earning his keep at Sri Lanka’s oldest and most fabled property.

Rathnayake Mudiyanselage Punchi Banda, Adressing the Gathering

Rathnayaka Mudiyanselage Punchi Banda was barely out of his teens when he began work at the property on July 17, 1966. By then the hotel, which opened in 1864, was already more than 100 years old. In his first ten years, he worked his way from bar labourer to security guard. Forty years ago, he began greeting guests as a doorman, a task he still performs admirably today.

“Mr. Banda is more than just a doorman. He is the face of the property,” said Sanjeev Gardiner, chairman of the Galle Face Hotel. “He’s the first person guests see when they arrive and often the last person from the hotel they see as they depart. In his role he embodies the hotel’s grace and charm. His in-depth knowledge of the property and surrounding areas and his willingness to go the extra mile for a guest has been invaluable.”

Speaking about his passion for the job Mr. Banda said, “I like to talk and the fact that I get to smile with people, really makes my day as well as theirs. I want everyone to be happy. It is important to be passionate about your job and to treat people with sincerity and respect and this is what I have practiced all these years.”

Over the years he has welcomed many famous guests including Indira Gandhi, Marshal Tito, Fidel Castro, and Yuri Gagarin. He’s greeted many former Sri Lankan presidents and prime ministers and once, he held an umbrella for Arthur C. Clark, author of 3001: The Final Odyssey (which was penned at the hotel).

Rathnayaka trained under the watchful eye of Kottarappu Chattu Kuttan, Sri Lanka’s most famous doorman who worked at the hotel until his passing in 2014. At the time of his death Mr.Kuttan had served at the hotel for 72 years and was one of the oldest hotel employees in the world – at 94 years of age. Mr. Banda plans to follow in his mentor’s footsteps by continuing to work at the hotel for many years to come.

During the glamorous event organized to felicitate Mr. Banda for his invaluable contribution to the Hotel, Mr. Gardiner handed him with an award to commemorate the long service he has solidified towards the prestigious property.

Rathnayake Mudiyanselage Punchi Banda, holding the award to commemorate the long service at the Galle Face Hotel


About the Galle Face Hotel

South Asia’s leading Grande Dame, the Galle Face Hotel is testimony to both Sri Lanka’s colonial past and its independent present. Celebrated within the hospitality world, it blends historical splendour with crafted modernity to form a new model for heritage properties. International guests are immersed in the Galle Face Hotel’s rich traditions and compelling stories, while Colombo society perceive the hotel as the most prestigious, desirable destination in the city for memorable dining and special events. Whether at the hotel for dinner or for a month-long stay, an experience of the Galle Face Hotel is one of timeless grandeur and exceptional hospitality.

Celebrating 150 years, the Galle Face Hotel is one of the landmarks in Asia and was acclaimed as one of the best heritage Hotels in Sri Lanka in 2012. Further it is the first Hotel in the country to be featured on a postage stamp.

About the Galle Face Hotel Group

The Galle Face Hotel Group manages the hotel and leisure interest of Galle Face Hotel, Kandy Hotels PLC & Ceylon Hotels Corporation PLC.

Under this banner are 3 distinct portfolios of businesses.

The Deluxe Heritage Hotels Collection

Galle Face Hotel in Colombo and Hotel Suisse & Queens Hotel in Kandy.

Each hotel is a connected to Sri Lanka’s history, imbibed with the splendour of yesteryear while continuing to serve visitors, foreign and domestic is gracious surrounds.

The Resorts Collection

4 hotels routed in some of Sri Lanka’s most special areas offer a modern facility with outstanding vista & access to experience this great country.

The Lake Hotel Polonnaruwa, The Surf Hotel Bentota, The Safari Hotel Thissamaharama and The Lake House Polonnaruwa.

Each of these recently refurbished hotels offers traditional Sri Lankan hospitality to visitors.