10 Church Street, Fort Galle, Sri Lanka
Buzz trips opinion
A chic, trendy, boutique hotel which exudes exclusivity and style, right in the heart of the Galle Fort. If you want to stay in an integral part of the city’s history and don’t mind paying for the privilege, the Amangalla won’t disappoint.
As you walk through the doors of this opulent palace, it’s hard to believe it’s the same New Oriental Hotel (NOH) who’s history reads like an epic drama series. From its Dutch fort origins in the 17th century, through drunken, brawling British seamen and landed European gentry in the mid-18th century to a 1961 visit from Yuri Gagarin, newly returned from space, the NOH was as much a part of Galle’s history as the rampart walls themselves.
When we first visited it, the NOH’s decadent state oozed character and history but its crumbling walls cried out for some TLC. Which is precisely what the Amanresorts group have supplied, providing the kind of cosmetic makeover that only money can buy, yet retaining all the hotel’s original features such as its polished, jack-wood floors and its 200 year old inner gardens.
From its standard double bedrooms which lead off from the reception in the main building, to its suites which occupy the Middle Street and Church Street wings, bedrooms are straight from the set of an Ivory Merchant film shoot. Style is kept simple in cool whites and the softest off-whites teamed with antique furnishings, jack-wood floors and four poster beds. En suite bathrooms include a free standing bath and separate shower. Garden Chambers have the addition of a balcony while the two storey Garden House has a private terrace, balcony and butler service.
Where once a small pool surrounded by old Singer sewing machine tables stood, today a 21 metre swimming pool with sun decking and loungers is ready for its Conde Nast photo shoot. Thankfully, the original 200 year old gardens remain, still exuding the scent of frangipani and orange blossom, as does the original barber shop who’s planter’s chair overlooks them. An elegant spa provides a range of treatments.
Prices range from €275 to €960 per night for room and breakfast.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+