Hotel Nippon was one of the oldest first 5 hotels in Sri Lanka which is the main landmark of Slave Island; Colombo 2 is 130 years old.
Started as a mansion apartment complex during colonial era, Nippon is one of the oldest buildings in the vicinity is now open for business and has undergone a complete renovation, whilst maintaining the old exterior, the interior is all brand new, apart from a few ornamental and iconic pieces from its past.
Hotel Nippon has undergone a complete face-lift and change of Status. It has been given the care and attention that any Heritage property deserves. The investment towards its renovation has amounted close to Rs.400mn. this restoration of the building was not easy, it took 2 years, but it was worth the time and effort, as it has completely changed the status and standards of the Hotel.
The building was first built as Manning Mansions; apartments for the British during their rule. It was then converted to Hotel Polski briefly and then Hotel Nippon. Since the civil unrest in the 1980s and subsequent war that followed, the hotel had fallen into a state of dormancy and mismanagement. However, since the end of the war in 2009 and the following tourism boom, it was blatantly time to put in work to the once glorious Hotel Nippon and revive its true standards.
It is currently owned by 4 brothers; V.K. Chandrasena, V.K. Vasan, Dr. V.K. Valsan and the late V.K. Prasannan (all sons of the late Vethody Kumaran). Dr. V.K. Valsan spearheaded the renovation and refurbishment and has undergone more than a few sleepless nights in an effort to restore Hotel Nippon back to its former “glorious” standards.
The hotel aims to cater to a completely new demographic and is equipped and designed to receive guests with various needs, including medical tourists, budget travelers looking for a more sophisticated level of accommodation, the business tourist for location of the hotel is very central and 10-15 minutes away from the Central Business district and other major venues and institutions in the City and it has 49 bedrooms. They have maintained some key elements of the building’s history, like the 130-year-old Burma teak staircases that runs through two areas of the building and the 130-year-old antique Seth Thomas grandfather clock.
The iron beams that run through the skeletal structure of the building are all still in place since the time Nippon was first built as Manning Mansions and in fact have embossed seals on them that state their factory of origin - All from England during the mid-1800s (19th century). All though these are not visible right now, they are very much restored and still what keeps this magnificent building intact at its core. Even though a lot has changed since its inception, and even though the initial theme and food styles may have altered over time, there’s one thing that has remained rock solid and unchanged - the recipe of our Nippon rolls. Especially the Nippon mutton rolls. It has been overwhelming to hear the stories that have been relayed to me over the last couple of months. People get absolutely nostalgic and swear that the first bite of the mutton roll just takes them decades back into their past, to some of their fondest memories. Almost all the stories begin with “When I was a kid...” and end with “...I am so happy that these rolls are back.” I can’t describe how touching it is to hear these stories and how lucky I (and the rest of my family) feel to be a part of this legacy that my grandfather, the late Vethody Kumaran, left behind. It’s truly amazing.
At the kafé we want to focus on providing the best quality at the quoted price range. All our items (including our bread) are made in-house and we have 2 chefs from Kerala, who provide Kerala snacks and meals to our gradually expanding menu. It also is ideal for the executives and corporates working around the area as it hosts an executive lunch buffet throughout the work week and will have special promotions and deals from time-to-time.