Well-heeled Globetrotters, Epicureans and Imperialists
PRICE: Worth maxing out for
RATING: Out of this world
If you’ve yet to sample the Aman experience, you’re in for a very special treat at Amangalla. Formerly the fabled New Oriental Hotel in historic Galle, Sri Lanka, it’s now an Aman hotel. What more is there to say? A Yonder favourite, the Amangalla Galle has the period charm of a bygone era. Built in 1684, the historic edifice retains its heritage in every architectural and decorative detail.
And after you’ve passed through the thick entrance arch to Galle fort, and bumped along the cobbles for a minute or two, you’ll be overawed by the grandeur of what you find before you.
Today, the Amangalla hotel is exceptional: polished, crisp and sumptuous. The gardens and pool are a true oasis at the beating heart of a bustling city.
Restored with care and brought to life by antique furnishings and decorations, the 30 rooms and suites are connected by a two-storey Garden House. The suites are magnificent. The service is flawless. The décor throughout is a delicate blend of colonial opulence with contemporary minimalism. Polished teak floorboards date back to the building’s origins, and the interiors are decorated with antiques that span centuries. The windows look out over the fort or the property’s mature gardens.
Have a late morning treatment at the indulgent spa. Afternoon tea and scones in the library, flicking through the scrapbooks of a bygone era is a treat. Sip mango Bellinis overlooking the old city rooftops from the sunset balcony. And when the next morning comes, ask your butler to give you a private guided tour of the old town.
There’s so much to talk about after just a couple of nights here. And if you encounter other people who have stayed, they will almost certainly want to compare notes.
An afternoon relaxing by the pool is heavenly, even better if combined with a little lunch first. We recommend the gazpacho, followed by the Sri Lankan marinated chicken. Retire after to the ambalamas for a snooze.
On your doorstep
Galle fort is a treasure trove. The antique shop on Ley Baan Street is just a few minutes’ walk and once there you’ll be excitedly planning to ship home crates of beautiful furniture.
Thoughts on a postcard
Yassi, in his stiff white tunic, served our high tea whilst we sat back in cane planters chairs at the heart of this stately grande dame, the Amangalla Galle, our imaginations drifting back to colonial times gone by.
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The Fort Bazaar is refreshing in every sense, from the waiters wearing Converse shoes to the air-conditioned restaurant, (a rarity in Galle). Decor draws influences from the Middle East. The superbly designed rooms have four-poster beds and beautiful bathrooms.
A true boutique hotel oozing charm. As it says on the tin, formerly a printing house (originally a private house, it has also been a school and a bank) it has been converted to provide elegant accommodation in the heart of the old city of Galle, Sri Lanka. Your driver will deliver you to the door, winding through the maze of narrow chequerboard streets, until you reach the trademark old Morris Minor that sits at the hotel’s entrance.
Occupying one of the best spots on Thalpe beach, on SL’s South Coast, with a seascape to die for. Sleek and minimalist interiors and just nine suites with four-posters and rich linens. Amazing fusion food completes a formula that oozes quality.
Occupying a hillside tea plantation of 12 acres with stunning views, Suites are a striking blend of antiques, contemporary fashion and custom-designed fabrics. The Kahanda Kanda resort restaurant is amongst the best on the South Coast.