Life & Style | Travel

Global hangout: Amangalla, Galle Fort

A 400-year-old hotel in Sri Lanka that oozes charm and style

  • By Nyree McFarlane, Deputy Editor, Scene magazine
  • Published: 11:40 July 31, 2012
  • Scene

Amangalla, Galle Fort, Sri Lanka
  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • Amangalla, Galle Fort, Sri Lanka. The 400-year-old building takes you back in time.
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Amangalla, Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Most flights from Dubai to Colombo arrive in the wee hours of the morning, but book a stay at Amangalla and you can be picked up from the airport, given a blanket to snuggle under on the 90-minute, hassle-free drive (there’s now a motorway straight to Galle) and then be greeted with cold towels and warm smiles when you arrive at the majestic, Dutch colonial hotel. The 400-year-old building takes you back in time.

Ceiling fans whir excitedly above, as you sip on a long-fruity drink on the large, beautifully tiled terrace; lively instrumental jazz greets you as you step into your high-ceilinged room, and almost every piece of furniture is genuinely antique. From 1863-2005, the building was the New Oriental Hotel, lovingly run by a family, and catering to Dutch army commanders and the like; and, refreshingly, Amangalla pays constant homage to this past – with pictures of the old family dotted throughout, historical albums to flick through in the library and a decor – we want the timber floors in our home – that has updated the look rather than completely bulldozed it.

You’ll be tempted to stay inside the beautiful walls for your entire break, as the staff are genuine and lovely, the food – from eggs bene breakfasts to feasts of curry for dinner – is delicious, the terrace is a great place to watch Galle go by from and there’s a great Ayurvedic spa and leafy pool area. But do take a jaunt around the winding streets and dramatic ocean promenade at Galle Fort.

First built in 1588 by the Portuguese, then fortified by the Dutch from 1649, it’s a Unesco World Heritage site that, uniquely, is still part of a functioning town. There are cute boutiques, rooftop restaurants, plenty of jewellers selling sapphires – and, above all else, a lovely, laid-back vibe. So, for a chance to experience another era but still enjoy all the luxuries of the modern day (and then some – Aman resorts are some of the best in the world), this is the spot for you. Eid break alert!

Inside info

Related Links

Book an Ayurvedic package to relax and revive. The three-day Ayurvedic taster package will be on offer from November and includes all meals on an Ayurvedic diet, a daily Hatha yoga class, a daily Ayurvedic treatment, a herbal bath, use of the steam room and hydrotherapy spa, a daily tonic and a consultation from an Ayurvedic doctor.
It costs from Dh7,000 per person.

Details

Rooms from Dh1,800 per night | 10 Church Street, Fort Galle | +94 91 223 3388 |
amanresorts.com

Britomart Country Club, Auckland, New Zealand
This inventive party space is actually just a few shipping containers plopped on a
car park, but step on to its putting green, have a go on the petanque court, eat a gourmet pizza while sitting on antique furniture, or order a drink from the marble bar, and you’ll be amazed at how luxe it feels. +64 9 303 2541 | britomart.org

The Bar with no name, London, UK
From the outside, this Angel bar – which is often also referred to by its address – 69 Colebrooke Row – is a nondescript brick building with no signage, so yes, you’d be forgiven for just walking past. But, do stop and go inside, because the year-old haunt has quickly become the city’s most talked about cocktail bar, thanks to its famously creative mixology. The interior is small, the soundtrack is almost always jazz, the crowds are usually big – so call ahead and book a table so you can sit down and chill – and the drinks inventive (think mixes incorporating – wait for it – horseradish, green tea and miso). +44 754 052 8593 | 69colebrookerow.com

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