Hotel advertising postcards played an important role in the rise of the medium; they are often found in guest rooms today too, ready to send home and market the establishment where a loved one is staying. The Hotel Bristol in Colombo was no exception. The photograph on this postcard is said to have been made by A.W.A. Plate, an apothecary-turned-photographer who opened a studio here in 1890. He would later become Ceylon's [Sri Lanka's] finest and biggest postcard publisher. Mark Twain stayed here in 1896, and wrote in : "January 14. Hotel Bristol. Servant Brompy. Alert, gentle, smiling, winning young brown creature as ever was. Beautiful shining black hair combed back like a woman’s, and knotted at the back of his head – tortoise-shell comb in it, sign that he is a Singhalese; slender, shapely form; jacket; under it is a beltless and flowing white cotton gown – from neck straight to heel; he and his outfit quite unmasculine. It was an embarrassment to undress before him."
With thanks for the excerpt to Roger Williams Hotel Bristol Story 13, a fine tour of hotels of the same name around the world.