The Fortress Resort and Spa on Sri Lanka’s south coast perfectly fuses the 16th–17th Century colonial motif of neighbouring Galle Fort with the best of what a modern luxury hotel and spa has to offer.
Rising above pristine sands on the eastern fringe of the renowned Koggala Beach, the hotel’s imposing walls and entrance gate hide a serene and tranquil oasis of luxury that belies its martial antecedents.
The gardens and water features within the walls create a secluded hideaway that buffers the bustle of the main Matara Road and entices guests to relax, chill out and enjoy the beachside facilities.
The impressive ‘fortress effect’—towering pillars, high ceilings, polished cement and darkwood floors—is softened by chic modern furnishings, co-ordinated colours, clever lighting and the merging of historic Dutch and Portuguese memes with Sri Lanka’s own cultural motifs.
The five distinct styles of bedrooms all have state-of-the-art entertainment systems—plasma-screen TVs, Bose DVD players and surround sound—espresso coffee makers, Jacuzzis, iPods and super-king-sized beds.
Fortress Rooms include a private courtyard or garden balcony, Beach Rooms have direct access to the gardens, swimming pool, beach and sea, while Ocean Rooms on the upper floors feature high-vaulted ceilings.
Ocean Lofts are on two floors, the ground floor being a living room, while Fortress Residences are the ultimate: two bedrooms, a separate living and entertainment area, outdoor dining deck, private pool—and, last but definitely not least, a 24-hour private butler!
Meanwhile, being a spa hotel, health and wellness are high on the agenda, with Sri Lanka’s ancient and traditional ayurveda therapies including an initial consultation to determine your body’s constitution (prakirthi), and mind-body type (dosha).
Among the treatments available are samvahana, a full-body massage using a blend of herbal oils; shirshabhyanga, head, neck and shoulder massage; padabhyanga, a soothing foot massage; and vashpasveda, a traditional herbal steam bath. Also available are herbal facial therapies and inhalations to relieve coughs and colds.
Star-quality cuisine, of course, is also essential for the full luxury-hotel experience, and The Fortress has three dining rooms offering food and ambience to suit the mood and the moment.
Heat, an al fresco restaurant shaded by canopies of trees, has great views of the Indian Ocean, where the menu includes Greek or Lebanese wraps, Sri Lankan curries and delicious savoury pizzas.
Pepper features authentic Sri Lankan food in a more elegantly formal indoor setting where the chefs showcase the culinary arts of Old Ceylon and modern Asia.
The Duo, meanwhile, with its mellow ambience and soft candlelight, is perfect for sampling the hotel’s selection of over 2,000 old- and new-world wines, from rare vintages to novel nouvelle classics.
Finally, guests anxious to explore some of Sri Lanka’s stunning southern countryside and attractions can call upon the Journey’s Concierge, who will help arrange itineraries, package tours and transport.