Overflowing with colonial landmarks, in the heart of a 17th century Dutch fort, rests a peaceful, and immaculately restored historic hotel, Amangalla. Galle Fort, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, houses the most charming and characteristic buildings in the ancient trading port of Galle. In the 19th century horse drawn carriages delivered parasol-bearing gentry to the famous doors of the, then New Oriental Hotel. Today, the hotel portrays the complex patina of its past in an exemplary setting, surrounded by the rich colonial tapestry of Sri Lankaâ€™s exceptional Dutch fortress.
Amangalla provides a tranquil and period styled base from which to explore the fascinating culture and tumultuous history of Galle Fort and Galle, the capital of the Southern Province. Galle is acclaimed for its Dutch Fort, intricate Galle lace, ebony, woodcarvings and polished gems. Persians, Arabs, Chinese, Malays, South Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and English appear to have stamped their mark on Galle, deeming this historical and multi-cultured melting pot one of the world’s remaining historical treasures.
Amangalla’s history is born out of the early Dutch colonial period, and is located right in the heart of the preserved Dutch fort, offering guests a memorable and appropriately stylish stay in architectural splendour. It is surrounded by antiques, old prints, polished aged-floors, crisp white linen, pristine walls, rich mahogany, wood and rattan planters together with a gracious, welcoming and warm staff.
Gentle strolls directly from the hotel unravel the unique history of this magnificent 36-hectare hexagonal stone fort, revealing colonial buildings still in use today, bustling narrow streets proffering the crafts of many generations, and the ramparts and seawall, where locals and visitors gather alike to fly kites, play cricket or simply inhale the wonders of its maritime legacy.
The suites are decorated in tasteful colonial style with glorious antiques, from Para Mara four-poster beds to pettagama chests, and high quality reproductions on polished Burma teak floorboards that shine on after 300 years. The bedrooms, chambers and suites offer a variety of views from Galle Fort itself to the hotel’s mature gardens. The bathrooms, in hardwood and white, are genteel and comfortable, with an ample armoire, twin vanities beneath large wooden mirrors, free-standing bathtubs and shower rooms. The two-storey Garden House, situated within the lush frangipani scented gardens, is filtered with natural sunlight and features a collection of the original antiques.
A large swimming pool, surrounded by palms, is centred within the resort’s established gardens; a cool respite from exploring, the pool courtyard has several wooden sun loungers and five serene shaded ambalamas, or rest pavilions. The classical hotel also offers remedial pleasures from ‘The Baths’, the resort’s relaxing, holistic, and traditionally inspired Spa, which creates bespoke programmes for guests, while hydrotherapy pools, saunas, steam rooms and a cold plunge pool, provide a sanctum for whole body rejuvenation.
The Zaal – the Great Hall – as it was known in Dutch times, is the entry point to the resort and has a wonderful colonial feel with high ceilings, overhead fans and chandeliers. There is relaxed seating within as well as on the veranda facing the tree-lined street. The menu provides light meals and snacks in the morning and afternoon tea is served daily. The veranda is the ideal place to escape the heat of the day, enjoy a tall drink and watch the world pass by. Adjacent is The Dining Room that provides an intimate setting for dining with a colonial accent. The Dining Room is furnished with period chairs and tables, crisp white linen and antique silverware, with many of the original pieces being returned to their rightful place in the room. The Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and provides a choice of traditional Sri Lankan curry and home-cooked dishes.