Written by Heather, who stayed here with her husband during a trip to Sri Lanka
Elegant contemporary townhouse with spacious rooms, gourmet cuisine, right in the heart of the action
When we travel we always look for authentic accommodation that reflects the history of the area in which we're staying, but at the same time we don't like to compromise on luxury and modern amenities. Which made the Fort Bazaar an obvious choice. Once a 17th century merchant's townhouse, it's now a contemporary boutique hotel with stylish interiors that have a bit of a Middle Eastern vibe. We loved the Moorish floor tiles, mosaic cushions and lanterns that were straight out of 1001 nights.
There are 15 courtyard facing rooms and 3 upper suites, all with gorgeous Balinese four-poster beds. We stayed in one of the upper suites, which have terraces overlooking Church Street and the rooftops of Galle, as well as spacious open plan living areas and very swish bathrooms. There's also a family suite which has a cool mezzanine with twin beds for children.
Galle can be a very hot place, and if you're not used to the temperature it will take a little while to acclimatise. This was the first stop on our Sri Lanka holiday so we were incredibly thankful for the air conditioning at Fort Bazaar, both in the rooms and the restaurant - a serene and cool retreat from the bustle of the streets.
The restaurant - Church Street Social - is known as being one of the best in the region, and has a relaxing and convivial vibe during the evenings. Inspiration for dishes is taken from traditional Sri Lankan, Moroccan, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine, as well as Asian fusion - it's a very inventive menu, with everything from black pork curry and lagoon crab salad, to peking duck rolls and coconut lime éclairs! We also enjoyed tucking into tapas sharing platters at lunch, full of cold meats, cheeses, breads and dips. Just what the doctor ordered on a hot day! After exploring the historic fort town and walking around the walls, the best way to relax is in the Fort Bazaar spa. It offers a wide range of treatments and all their products are based on the therapeutic benefits of red, green, black and even pink tea. This is Sri Lanka after all!
We felt really well looked after during our stay, from the moment we arrived at midnight (thanks to our delayed flight) to a welcome of refreshing wet face towels and cool drinks, right through to when we departed to continue on our travels up the coast to go whale watching in Mirissa. Staff are friendly but unobtrusive, and ready to help with any little request no matter how silly it may seem. Next time we're in Sri Lanka, we'll definitely be back!
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