Amangalla, Galle Fort, Sri Lanka
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What is Chrissy’s Collection?With her lengthy travel background, Chrissy has years of experience assessing accommodation with quality and customer satisfaction firmly in mind. She was also a hands-on Director of an upmarket Kensington apartment-hotel for five years.
As our own Silver Travel Advisor we are delighted that Chrissy brings her experience and eye for stylish detail when she reviews Boutique and Country house hotels. Chrissy’s Collection are her personal recommendations of hotels with something extra that makes them stand out from the rest: discreet and exceptional levels of personal service; stylish, contemporary and comfortable interiors where relaxation is key; smaller, quirky or character properties; luxury hotels with super spa facilities, exquisite dining or amazing locations. In short, very special places.
For the beginning of my three week holiday in Sri Lanka a friend had recommended a small private villa in Galle Fort which fitted the bill perfectly for a lazy girlie stay with my best friend. By the end of the first day we had it all sorted – rise early and sunbathe on the rooftop for a few hours before it was too hot, explore the streets of Galle for a few hours, lazy lunch in a nice restaurant, a spot of retail therapy in the afternoon, back to the villa to crash with a good book, etc., – you get the picture.
It was during our first exploration of the town that we happened upon the Amangalla Hotel. A beautiful imposing building that harks back to Colonial days and recently restored to its former glory. Just stepping onto the open verandah for lunch was like being transported into another world. Within five minutes of sitting on that terrace I was making enquiries at the desk about room availability for a stay with my husband when he arrived later in the month. A guided tour of the hotel clinched the deal and I duly cancelled the hotel I had pre-booked from the UK.
Several weeks later as we pulled up outside the hotel in our Tuktuk my husband nodded in appreciation at the building. Walking through the lounge and reception rooms on highly polished floors under gently whooshing large ceiling fans, with smiling staff in traditional dress, I knew this was going to be the pinnacle of our stay on this trip.
The hotel has been refurbished to a very high standard but hasn’t lost any of its charm or colonial heritage. The 300 year old floors are highly polished teak throughout and the furniture a blend of antique and reproduction that is very stylish and pleasing to the eye. There are several areas to sit and relax as well as dine, most of which have open aspects to the gardens or the street which gives a natural gentle breeze and sense of calm. This is further enhanced at night when all the walkways through the gardens and stairwells leading to the reception rooms are lit by candles.
All the bedrooms are elegant simplicity with white linen, dark wood and rattan furniture. The bathrooms are similarly pleasing with high quality fittings. Our spacious bedroom overlooked the lush gardens and was close to the swimming pool. Unlike most pools the tile base was a tranquil pale green that blended beautifully with the tropical greenery of the surrounding palm-treed gardens to create an extremely relaxing space, made even more blissful with shaded rest pavilions. Idyllic.
The food was a mixture of Sri Lankan fare as well as European and was good. Breakfast, in particular, was excellent. Wine was expensive, but it was everywhere.
Being Sri Lanka, natural Ayurveda treatments to balance the body are available in the ‘baths’, the hotel spa. The treatment chambers, relaxation rooms and hydrotherapy pools are pure indulgence. We both had a couple of treatments which were very relaxing and the masseurs extremely good. By this time we are so laid back, we want to stay forever.
Needless to say the service was impeccable. The staff were effortlessly polite, always smiling and clearly enjoyed being of service to their guests. The hotel manager, an English women who has lived in Galle for some years, made a point of meeting all her guests and taking time to chat to them at some point during their stay. Nice touch.
The Amangalla is located within the preserved Dutch Fort of Galle which is a fascinating town and well worth a visit. There are several options for accommodation with a couple of small boutique type hotels, private villas and more basic, but perfectly fine, places. However, if you want to indulge and stay somewhere truly special for an unforgettable experience, the Amangalla is the place in town.
Galle Fort, Sri Lanka
Other properties from Chrissy's Collection:
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