Ultimate Vintage Luxury – The Galle Fort Hotel

Louvered windows, a sloping terra-cotta roof and soaring potted palms – the Galle Fort hotel had already made an impression on us the minute we turned onto Church Street and set eyes on her.

The entrance to the Galle Fort Hotel

From its outward appearance the building would deceive anyone into believing that it was just a small house, but once you enter, the sheer size of it was unbelievable, making you gasp and setting the tone for the rest to come! The air pregnant with a rich sandalwood incense saturated our senses, as we sat completing our check-in formalities in a small room near the entrance. Courteous and efficient Sri Lankan women in-charge of the reception ensured that our check-in was a breeze.



A gorgeous verandah perfect for a glass of wine & some good conversation maybe!

As we were ushered to our room towards the back of the house through the living room and restaurant, we couldn’t but be distracted by all the prettiness around us. Twenty feet high ceilings with wooden beams, thick teak wood doors, sofas that you could sink into, cabinets with exquisite blue china and coffee table books that you could loose yourself in, complete the living room. But the heart of the hotel is the dining area out on the porch, overlooking the swimming pool. The hotel is touted to be an one of a kind experience and it was slowly sinking in why!


We had chosen to stay in a garden room, which was a little pocket of vintage luxury. A beautiful four poster bed was the highlight of the room, complete with crisp white linen ensconced in delicate nets that instantly took us back to the days of yore, where living in a tropical country meant dealing with mosquitoes year round. A gorgeous wooden full length mirror leaned against the wall on one side, while a high sofa which was almost like a day bed, sat wedged between two old almirahs (cupboards). Like the reception and entrance areas, the room had its own distinct smell that was fragrant and soothing.



A breakfast treat – Buffalo curd with treacle


As we sat sipping on a icy cold drink,  waiting for our lunch to be served in the restaurant out on the porch,  it was not hard to imagine as if we had traveled back in time. We were being pampered with such style and elegance Dressed in shorts and collared half sleeve t-shirts young local men made sure we were comfortable and spoilt. Except for a dull whirring of the ceiling fans above us, and murmurs of conversation around, life seemed to have slowed down and changed. Pink frangipani trees flanked a row of steps that lead to the swimming pool towards the back of the central courtyard and a few flowers floated on the calm surface of the water like strewn confetti

Apart from the gorgeous settings in which we had our meals, the food itself was sublime. Known for a exciting menu of Pan Asian fusion cuisine, the restaurant at the hotel is a popular draw with visitors to the Fort and it wasn’t hard to imagine why!


The mouthwatering Pan Asian spread at the hotel


A must have – Sri Lankan curry & rice

Of the many hotels that I have stayed in, the Galle Fort Hotel was the hardest to leave, even to go out and explore the Fort, but we had to do what we had to do. When we did come back at night our beds had been made and frangipanis had been carefully arranged on the linen making it such a beautiful and welcoming sight. The Galle Fort Hotel’s charm lies in the details and everything comes together so seamlessly, whisking you back in time to another era.


Its all about the details


All lit up at night

History and architecture of the hotel

An erstwhile Dutch mansion and warehouse, and with foundations that date back over three centuries, the building had fallen into disarray until it was bought in 2003 and painstakingly restored. In 2007, the hotel was awarded the Asia Pacific Heritage Award of Distinction by UNESCO for the magnificent effort put into restoring it. As of today, the hotel is a collection of buildings that date back to different periods. During the days of the British, the building was the home of Maccan Markars, a renowned family of gem merchants.

Suites such as the Admiral Cheng Ho Suite, Library Suite and Grand Apartment Suite are all architectural and design marvels besides offering the ultimate vintage luxury experience to guests. Named after Admiral Cheng Ho who visited Galle in 1406, the two-storey suite with 20-feet high ceilings is decorated with antiques from across South East Asia – the centre piece being an Chinese opium bed.

The highlight of the hotel is the Grand Apartment, a room that occupies an entire floor – a whole 1900 square feet of space.  The room enjoys the distinction of being the largest hotel suite on the whole island, complete with 17th century art works, antique chests and cabinets. 


  • Reply
    Jatin Adlakha
    November 25, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    An apt title for a beautiful place, Chaitali! Wow.

  • Reply
    Arun Prasadh
    November 26, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Beautiful pics.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 4:15 am

    WOW! WOW! WOW!
    I want to stay there! What a grand ambiance! Fantastic shots!

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 4:19 am

    That is some luxury I would like to enjoy!
    And your shots have made it more beautiful. :)

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    November 26, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Thanks Jatin! It was one of the hardest pieces I have written, as every time I thought about the hotel and Galle, I would just start going back and losing myself in that world!

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    November 26, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Thanks Arun!

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    November 26, 2015 at 4:47 am

    :) It was sooo amazing Indrani! I hope you go there someday!

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    November 26, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Thanks Nisha! :) I would go back there in a heartbeat!

  • Reply
    R Niranjan Das
    November 26, 2015 at 5:46 am

    Absolutely charming!!

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Hotel looks so inviting … food looks delicious :)

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    The place looks smashing. Can I ask the rate! It looks like it would break by bank balance 😀

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    November 27, 2015 at 4:47 am

    It totally is! :)

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    November 27, 2015 at 4:48 am

    The food was fabulous… the curry and rice was comparable to what we ate in many other smaller places known for their food!

  • Reply
    Chaitali Patel
    November 27, 2015 at 4:50 am

    It broke our bank too, but was totally worth it! We just walked in asked if they had availability and negotiated a bit… but I think we still paid $200 a night! Once we saw it we just had to stay there… feeling sheepish about our indulgence as I write this. :)

  • Reply
    Leena Walawalkar
    November 27, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Looks like an interesting place! You must've had a fun trip :)

  • Reply
    November 27, 2015 at 10:08 am

    It is good to indulge once in a while 😀

  • Reply
    Prasad Np
    November 30, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Such a beautiful place..and wonderful combo of history and luxury …

  • Reply
    Nikki - Notes of Life
    June 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Wow, what a wonderful place to stay in! :)

  • Reply
    Agness of Fit Travelling
    August 28, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    This really seems like a lovely and cozy hotel! Excellent post and review!

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