Hong Kong Tatler writer Madeleine Ross raves about the delights of the “spectacular, UNESCO World Heritage-listed fort city of Galle” just two hours drive of the capital Colombo.
She reports that “this former colonial outpost is a living, breathing museum”, which today “is a melting pot of cultures and religions, evidenced in its food, architecture and local community.
“Thankfully, its moss-dappled stone ramparts saved the city’s historic monuments and picturesque streets from the devastation experienced by neighbouring villages when the Boxing Day Tsunami struck in 2004.”
Where to stay
Look no further than Amangalla. History, privacy and luxury fuse in this sanctuary. Originally constructed by the Dutch as the headquarters for commanders and their staff, the building dates back to 1684 and has been operating as a hotel since 1865.”
What to see
A sunset walk around the fort’s ramparts is a must—not just because the setting Sri Lankan sun is dreamy, but also because any other time of day, bar dawn, is too hot.”
Where to eat
Poonie’s Kitchen is located in the whimsical courtyard of clothing boutique Mimimango, and decked out in shades of aqua and pink. This casual café serves technicolour plates of salad thali, squash fritters with beetroot relish and an out-of-this-world prawn, pumpkin and coconut soup. Lunch only.
Where to drink
Be transported back to the 1800s in Amangalla Terrace, the outdoor dining room of the historic hotel, with its antique silverware, period furniture and tiled floors. Whether you opt for Sri-Lankan fare or Western classics, there is no going wrong. Service is excellent. Be sure to savour a gin and tonic for the full experience.
Where to shop
Mimimango is the ticket for chic, hand-beaded silk and cotton kaftans, dresses and sleepwear, as well as funky clutches and scarves. The products are refined, beautiful and have prices to match. At Stick No Bills, lovers of vintage posters will swoon over prints of retro ads for Ceylon and its exotic lures.
Where to re-energise
If you’re staying at the Amangalla, join the daily 9am yoga classes in the outdoor pavilion. These are challenging, so prepare to sweat.
Where to take a day trip
If the fort gets claustrophobic (we doubt it will, but just in case) venture to one of the numerous beaches and restaurants nearby. Talpe Beach Club is the perfect spot to watch the waves roll in, cocktail in hand.
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