YWCA National Headquarters is a nostalgic building in which your grandma might have stayed when she was a teenager. It's got rattan chairs, a big balcony, a long piece of rope in your room that you can pull to call for service (we didn’t try that), and mosquito nets.
Conveniently located near Colombo’s Galle Face Green and South Beira Lake, it is within walking distance (around forty-five minutes) to the National Museum, Old Town Hall (White House), Dewata-Gaha Mosque, Cinnamon Gardens Baptist Church, and the air conditioned Odel shopping mall. Within 5 minutes’ walk from YWCA is Crescat, an air-conditioned shopping mall, food court, and supermarket that opens till late at night. It is in a very safe location with embassies nearby and army check points at both ends of the street during our stay. On entering the building, there is a watchman and cheerful sitting area. There is no lift, so you have to carry all your luggage up. Fortunately it is only two stories high.
Rooms and Bathrooms
Dorm rooms and private rooms are available. They are very basic and worn down. There are ceiling fans but no air conditioner, and it’s hot in Colombo. The big windows and door to the balcony can be opened to let air in. The hot water showers are good, but we would prefer a cold shower. Towels are included and a sumptuous breakfast as well.
There is no luggage storage room, but you can leave your luggage at the sitting area near the receptionist. There is also a huge dining room for meals, again without air conditioner. Anyway it is cooler in the morning and if you can get used to the heat -- that is not a problem.
The place is quiet and tranquil with a small garden in the middle. The staff are helpful and friendly and can give you advice on where to visit and book the airport express car for you. All in all, YWCA is extremely inexpensive despite its location near more posh accommodations. If you are a budget traveler looking for a place to stay for the night without the luxuries of a hotel, YWCA is good value for money.