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Places to Chill in Galle This GLF

The much anticipated Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2017 will commence on the 11th of January, which is this Wednesday. Galle is indeed one of the best locations to visit in Sri Lanka and is absolutely perfect for a tropical getaway. So to make your lives a little easier, here’s a quick list of places you can stay or chill in Galle this GLF.

1. Jetwing Lighthouse

On the fringe of the former Dutch Colonial town of Galle stands Jetwing Lighthouse, a testament to the iconic work of the Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. This elegant hotel is the ultimate tropical retreat amidst the sun, sea and sands of the southern coast.

Jetwing Lighthouse exudes an old world charm of elegance and minimalism that is combined with fantastic service, scrumptious cuisine and a wide selection of facilities and activities. The hotel terrace is ideal for a drink and a chat while overlooking a spectacular Sri Lankan sunset.

2. Tamarind Hill by Asia Leisure

Tamarind Hill by Asia Leisure is a manor house in Galle that was built over 250 years ago by Don Johannes Amarasiri,a wealthy Sri Lankan aristocrat.This home gained most prominence when it was subsequently the official residence of the British Admiral of the Peninsular and Orient Steam Navigation Company – the famed ‘P&O Line’. Through the years Tamarind Hill has stood as a symbol of nobility.

Today, Tamarind Hill is a colonial style luxury boutique hotel. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Galle has many historical buildings,yet Tamarind Hill shines as one of the most illustrious and romantic of its time. A resort close to the Galle Fort, it is an ideal place from which to explore this city too.

3. The Fort Bazaar

The Fort Bazaar is located along Church Street, one of the fort’s most visually appealing thoroughfares. The front part of the hotel was formerly the home of a merchant who dealt in spices and gems, and dates back to the 1800s; the thick walls and graceful arches pay homage to the craftsmen of the time. When they began renovating the property it was in a terrible condition, however they managed to rescue some of the original teak rafters and used them to make our bar and for the cinema room.

Located in the heart of Galle Fort, the Fort Bazaar is perfect for guests that are looking to soak up the Fort’s legendary atmosphere, a spot of gem shopping or walking the walls of the Forts 300 year old walls.

5. Taru Villas – Lighthouse Street

Built in the 1800s for a Dutch merchant and his wife, this classically restored boutique hotel is sure to get under your skin and crawl into your heart. Its eclectic mix of traditional features, antique furnishings, and a clean modern aesthetic does everything to surround you with the best of today, all the while doing nothing to take away from a space that is steeped in rich history and quaint charm.

Located in the heart of Galle’s towering trademark, 42 Lighthouse Street is a respectful celebration of this UNESCO Heritage Site, providing convenient access (never more than a 10 minute walk) to the full panoply of surrounding sights and sounds this town has to offer. Whether you choose to take in the multi-sensory experience that is a walk around the Fort and the greater township, or decide to spend a day on the silky sands, 42 Lighthouse Street is the perfect place to relax and restore your energies without ever losing touch with the heart of this very special place. Enjoy the luxurious colonial comforts of its classy interior, or ascend to the skies where the bijou roof terrace effortlessly serves up sunsets of blue and orange against the ubiquitous Fort Skyline, the imposing Ramparts, and the endless Indian Ocean.

6. Taru Villas – Rampart Street

This villa in Galle was the first to be bought by a foreigner in the post-colonial era and one of the very first to be styled and restored into the sort of intimate, luxurious villa that Sri Lanka’s most discerning travelers have come to expect from hotels in Galle Fort.

Most recently restored by Taru Villas, this exotic location is an elegant combination of colonial charm and modern amenities. A powerful design aesthetic weaves together the spirit of the old world, the magic of nature and the comforts of today. ‘Taru Villas – Rampart Street’ is also one of the few properties within the entirety of the Galle Fort that provides the luxury of a private swimming pool.

7. Kahanda Kanda

This boutique hotel in Sri Lanka offers 10 individually designed villas (3 with private pools) to relax and unwind, just a short tuk-tuk ride from Galle Fort.

Their villas are inspired by local culture, featuring elegant art and antiques within each of the spacious rooms and gardens – a sanctuary where guests can indulge in serenity, privacy and personalised five-star service.

KK is fifteen minutes inland from the south coast of Sri Lanka, so ideal for exploring the nearby beaches or visiting Galle Fort or some of the many other activities available. They offer a large variety of facilities including a swimming pool, exercise and home cinema area, a spa, a cookery class, private dining, and yoga.

8. Galle Fort Hotel

One of the grand mansions of the fort, this iconic building has been many things to many people; a former gem merchants mansion, RAF barracks, a post office, bakery, lapidary and even a pitch for the forts juvenile cricketers.

In the decade following its brilliant restoration, this 14 suite boutique hotel has gained an impeccable reputation for offering a singular experience; paying deep homage to Galle’s rich cultural and aesthetic values, while combining luxurious surroundings and delectable cuisine with the highest standards of service excellence.

The perfect mix of culture, class and comfort, the Galle Fort Hotel is not to be missed; not just because it’s one of the best hotels in Galle, but because it is simply one of the best holiday experiences.

9. Owl and The Pussycat Hotel

This hotel is a beautiful place that most definitely needs to be on your travel bucket list. The vibes and everything about this place screams R & R! The small, luxury hotel sits at the water’s edge with 16 suites. OTP Hotel is a simple, fun and unpretentious place… with a sense of romance, food and dancing in the moonlight.

Their restaurant, The Runcible Spoon, is set on an elegant dining terrace with superb wines and light, fresh food, including Sri Lankan specialities. The vibrant beach shack will let you enjoy delicately-spiced cocktails at the bar next to the waves, tropical birdsong in the trees and live jazz at weekends.

The hotel’s garden, a 17 meter pool looks out onto the ocean and they additionally have a small gym and a yoga platform for early sun salutes. Their sumptuously-appointed Edward Lear Drawing room is also a place that leaves you awe-struck. 

They also have a special GLF package;

10. Galle Heritage Villa by Jetwing

Enter the serene world of a villa surrounded by walled courtyards and lush greenery; Galle Heritage Villa is a beautifully restored family home which contains the stylish blend of modern comforts and classical antiquity located within a living UNESCO World Heritage site. Four lavishly furnished deluxe bedrooms offer you every modern convenience you could ever wish for. Comfortable seats and wide open spaces are the ideal setting for rest and relaxation which you are free to indulge in wherever and whenever you please.

11. Lady Hill

Nestled atop the highest point of the ancient port city of Galle sits the Lady Hill Hotel, where you will be overwhelmed by the breathtaking and panoramic “Bird’s Eye View” of the lush green countryside stretching  from the tea covered slopes of the Southern foothills all the way down to merge with the brilliant blue waters of the Indian Ocean. 

Located in close proximity to the city’s pulsating heart and to some of the best beaches in the Island, yet secluded enough to offer a measure of tranquility and serenity, that the discerning traveler eagerly looks forward to after a weary bout of sightseeing and exploration. 

Entering the portals of the Lady Hill, one is treated to an architectural edifice, echoing the legacy of the ancient Colonial Dutch period, from the imposing entrance archway, down to the natural cobblestone floor. 

The rustic granite stone stairway, flanked by a strip of fresh water fish ponds are sights that take you back in time. The rooms are furnished with ultra modern futuristic style décor and posses state of the art facilities and amenities. 

12. Amangalla

The enchanting grounds of Amangalla are spread across nearly 9,000 square metres on the Galle peninsula, defined by the 400-year-old fort. With decor and architecture that echo the past, Amangalla is a hotel you should definitely stop by. 

13. Fortaleza

Although their address is Church Cross Street, the main entrance, pictured right, lies on Lighthouse Street. Fortaleza was opened in 2012 and offers four, beautifully furnished, air conditioned en-suite bedrooms. In the adjoining courtyard, you will find their stunning Restaurant and Bar with its impressive exposed coral walls.

The main facade on Lighthouse Street is fronted by tall, fine timber columns, headed with carved, floral motifs. Careful attention to the renovations is reflected in all parts of the building.

Originally, a spice warehouse built by a Dutch merchant around 1700, this was our first building in the Fort and we were enthused by the scope for a small boutique hotel and restaurant, in certainly one of the most elegant buildings within the Fort.

The Restaurant & Bar is open all day from breakfast through to the evening, offering food of an eclectic mix of western and Asian dishes, although their aim is to apparently take advantage of the very best local ingredients.