Awful: 150+ Dead After Hotel & Church Explosions In Sri Lanka

Filed Under: Hotels, Travel

This is heartbreaking. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with incredible people, so to see the news of the Easter attack in the country today is just awful.

While some of the details are still emerging, 150+ people are dead and 500+ people are injured after there were at least seven explosions across the country (primarily in Colombo), including at three churches and four hotels.

Obviously the attacks on churches are every bit as tragic as the attacks on hotels (if not more tragic, given what they stand for), though since this is a travel blog, I’m focusing more on the hotels here. The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, and Cinnamon Grand, in Colombo, all experienced explosions today.

It appears that a majority of the 150+ person death toll comes from explosions at churches rather than hotels, though there are also casualties at hotels.

I’m seeing the following videos of the Shangri-La, for example:

Then here are some pictures of the Kingsbury:

I won’t even share the pictures I’m seeing online of the churches, which make my stomach turn (like seeing statues with blood splattered all over them).

I had the chance to spend a week in Sri Lanka earlier this year, and had an incredible time. For that matter I’ve been to Colombo several times, and even stayed at the Shangri-La last year, and found it to be a great hotel. It was brand new at the time, and everyone working there was incredibly kind and proud, as it was the new flagship hotel of the city.

What a sad turn of events all of this is, given the trajectory Sri Lanka was on. The country is trying to greatly increase tourism, and was even about to relax visa requirements for visitors.

I remember the first time I visited Sri Lanka about a decade ago, right towards the end of their civil war. As it impacts aviation, there was a period where many airlines stopped flying to Colombo, as there were rebels trying to shoot down planes.

The country has come a long way in the past decade, so to see something like this again just makes me sick.

My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted (and the entire country, for that matter). If you have any travel planned to & from Sri Lanka, you may want to reconsider for now…

  1. So sad, I was actually planning a trip there last couple of days and then ultimately decided last night on other plans before hearing this news. Wishing those injured a speedy recovery and my condolences to those lost.

  2. What a terrible terrible tragedy. My thoughts and prayers with all those affected and their families. RIP

    Love from India

  3. Horrible. I have regular business trips to CMB and have stayed in the 3 hotels. I just don’t get the kind of ‘people’ committing these crimes. Only sick minds come up with this.
    It is very sad for all involved.

  4. I also visited Sri-Lanka a few years ago, and had the best time.
    So sad to read about the tragedy.

  5. Very nasty business, indeed. Colombo was a stop for my 2017 Year-end Asian Escapade(tm), and I enjoyed the place thoroughly. It had an indescribable charm about it, with vestiges of colonial British influence here and there.

    It was also great to see that the place was thriving after it’d been torn apart for years by a senseless civil war, which I remember vividly for having worked at the time with someone from Colombo who became and remains a close friend.

    Thoughts and prayers.

  6. It is quite sad. I am in the process of planning a return trip for next March. And don’t expect to alter those plans for now. I agree that it has been trying hard to emerge from the decades of war. The people there just want to live in peace like everywhere else. Definitely thinking of my SL friends.

  7. One aspect of my Colombo trip that was a big and delightful surprise was the absolutely HUGE and gorgeous suite that I stayed in on points at Hilton Colombo Residences. I mean truly huge and gorgeous. I took 360 photos of it that you can see

    with view from the bedroom of the brand new “Lotus Tower” that was nearing completion and was to serve multiple purposes (shopping, TV tower; restaurants); it was also slated to be the tallest structure in SE Asia:

    I hope it was not one of the targets!

  8. Happy Easter/Pesach to all & thoughts and prayers to the people of Sri Lanka!

    Unacceptable atrocity designed to divide good people of all faiths.

  9. As someone of Sri Lankan origin, I sincerely thank you Ben and all the others for the kind thoughts. This atrocity does not make sense. There was minor tension between extremist Buddhists (a tiny minority) and some Muslims who were seen as getting increasingly radicalized in the madrassas fuelled by Saudi money. Sri Lankan Muslims are mostly the thoroughly relaxed sort but over the last few years I have seen them getting increasingly reserved. Where Muslim women used to wear shorts (most do, even today) there is an increasing number wearing hijabs and burqas in public. And many men now wear white robes and are far more ascetic and religious. This is not unlike Muslim populations in the West that are increasingly conservative.

    But were Muslim extremists responsible for the coordinated attacks? This resembles an attack in Pakistan some time ago when extremists bombed several churches on Easter Sunday. The coordination also points to an al-Qaeda type organization. Three Muslim men have been arrested as far as I know and I saw on TV two women being led away from their residence. But who knows why? Semblance aside, it does not make sense. Why attack Catholic churches and 5-star hotels when their argument in Sri Lanka was with Buddhist radicals? The Catholics had no dogs in that fight. It is possible that these may be resurgent Tamil Tigers who accumulated a lot of money overseas during their reign of terror. But they never attacked Christian sites and coordinated attacks were not their style. There was recent bust of Sri Lankan drug kingpins in the UAE and all were deported to Sri Lanka and jailed. Was this payback? Very doubtful. Anyway, these terrorists will be brought to book.

    And I hope tourists do not give up on the island. This kind of madness can happen anywhere in the world these days. The West has been pressuring Sri Lanka to relax security measures and it did. This shows that you need to be always vigilant.

  10. It had been confirmed by Sri Lankan government that the terror attack was conducted by a Mus1im group, National Thowheed Jamath.

    Political correctness can’t change the facts.

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