Galle has been a magnet for traders and explorers for centuries. Galle’s tryst with Colonial powers began with the Portuguese who constructed the iconic Galle Fort in 1588. The Dutch wrested Galle from the Portuguese in the 17th Century. Galle’s historic fort area (that is now a UNESCO world heritage site) is not the only place where you will see strong Dutch influences. The post-modern, minimalist Jetwing Lighthouse evokes images of the 17th Dutch fort just a couple of kilometres away.
This is Galle’s most iconic resort and one of Geoffrey Bawa’s (Sri Lanka’s best-known architect) last projects, commissioned in the 1990s. The resort has just returned after an ambitious renovation project that retains all the original charm and the design vision of Geoffrey Bawa.
Dining options here lay a huge emphasis on locally sourced ingredients — Galle’s fresh catch of the day is top class and so are some of the western-style desserts that you can savour at Cardamom Café (their all-day diner). But it’s the Coat of Arms bar with its sweeping views of the ocean and old world charm that is our favourite space in the resort. You could spend the whole day by the beach or even head to the spa for rejuvenation. But most travellers usually head to the narrow streets full of eclectic cafes that flank Galle’s fort and beach. Bird watchers and photo enthusiasts usually go off the beaten track and take a cruise along the Mahamodara river. It takes you through a winding course through wilderness and farms and allows you to spot some of the country’s most exotic birds during your cruise.
The resort looks down on the ocean from atop a rocky promontory and the beach deck is easily one of the best spots to catch a typical Galle sunset. The hotel’s guest services team will tell you that each sunset is different with a whole new palette of colours and cloud patterns. It’s probably why guests keep coming back.
Where: 433 A, Dadella, Galle, Sri Lanka
Call: (+94) 114 709 400
Wallet: Rooms start at Rs 15,000 (double occupancy) excluding taxes