Galle, Sri Lanka

Fort Bazaar

Rates from (ex tax)$156.22

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD175.67), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Keeping it cool

Setting

Within these fort walls

Time travel to Galle’s colonial past while staying in one of its coolest contemporary hotels, Fort Bazaar. Once home to spice, tea and gem traders, the actual gems may be long gone from this stylish stay, but there are still many valuable treasures to discover. Take Sri Lankan tea in the colourful courtyard and be pampered from head-to-toe with Balinese remedies in the hotel’s restful spa. Set in the heart of the 17th-century Dutch-founded city Galle, the hotel’s in prime position for early-morning trips to the market, lazy strolls along the fort walls and sun-worshipping on Sri Lanka’s sandy shores.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A 15-minute head massage each for two

Facilities

Photos Fort Bazaar facilities

Need to know

Rooms

18, including three suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. You can keep your room till 6pm for 50 per cent of the room rate, and you can leave your luggage at reception and use the hotel facilities after check-out. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $156.22, excluding tax at 12.45 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD175.67), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include á la carte breakfast (pastries and breads, fresh fruit, yoghurt, eggs, and traditional Sri Lankan curries), afternoon tea and an evening 'mocktail'.

Also

Until 2006, the hotel’s site lay derelict; Teardrop hotels transformed the space with the help of Colombo’s PWA Architects, using more than 65 labourers (and three dogs, if you’re counting). Remnants of the ruin still remain; the bar at Church Street Social was once part of the rafters.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout the hotel. In rooms: a TV, a gym-bag with yoga mat, air-conditioning and fan, minibar with soft drinks and snacks, a Nespresso coffee machine and tea-making facilities.

Our favourite rooms

If size matters, choose one of the Upper Suites; at a spacious 75sq m, they have high ceilings, private balconies and an adjoining seating area in the bedroom. Families with small children should stay in the Upper Family Suite which has all the perks of the Upper Suites, plus an additional loft space for kids.

Spa

The Z Spa has three treatment rooms; two of which are kitted out with private steam showers. Treatments use tea-infused local products; enjoy a deep-tissue massage, a restful wrap or soothing facial to get that ‘yes, I’ve been on holiday’ glow.

Packing tips

It’s not about what you bring, but what you can take home: lots of spice jars and bags of locally grown tea from plantations and markets.

Children

Children of all ages are welcome. Interconnecting rooms and baby cots are available. Book a babysitter for US$10 an hour (a minimum four hours must be booked); request the service two days in advance. The restaurant has children’s menus and highchairs.

Food and Drink

Photos Fort Bazaar food and drink

Top Table

Set in the front rooms of the hotel, the indoor bar spills out onto the veranda and into the street, so your choice of seat will be determined by the city heat.

Dress Code

Stay cool with lightweight, laid-back leisurewear.

Hotel restaurant

From breakfast through to dinner, Church Street Social bustles with hotel guests and locals. The restaurant wholly embraces Fort Bazaar’s history, from the traditional picks on the menu to the decor. However, there’s a touch of modernity too; inside, the dining room is decorated with exposed industrial lighting and an embossed metal ceiling, plus, the bar top is made of reconstituted rafters from the original building. Inspired by Galle’s multicultural past, the restaurant serves a melting pot of cuisines; take your pick of burgers and fries, Moroccan lamb tagine, spicy Sri Lankan fish curries and Asian Malay chilli crab.

Hotel bar

Church Street Social is awaiting a liquor license; in the meantime pick up a bottle or two of your favourite tipple at duty-free to enjoy at the hotel.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 10.30am, lunch from 11am to 4pm and dinner from 7pm to 11pm (last order at 10pm); all meals are served in Church Street Social or can be taken on the veranda.

Room service

The full restaurant menu is available while the kitchen’s open.

Location

Photos Fort Bazaar location
Address
Fort Bazaar
26 Church Street
Galle
Galle
Sri Lanka

Planes

Bandaranaike International Airport is slightly under two-and-a-half hours away by car. Leave all your travel bits to our Smith24 Team (03334 145 550), who can organise both your flights and transfers to the hotel (US$125 each way).

Trains

A daily express train connects Colombo’s Fort Station to Galle; it’s a two-and-a-half-hour journey, but beautiful beach and jungle views will distract you as you chug along the coast. Our Smith24 Team can arrange tickets and transfers from Galle station.

Automobiles

Taxis, tuk tuks and hired drivers are a relatively cheap and easy way to explore the island, but if you want to discover it at your own speed, hire a car at Bandaranaike; our Smith24 team can help you to secure a set of wheels. You’ll need an International Driving Permit and a Sri Lankan recognition permit, which you can get at the AA in Colombo. There’s no parking at the hotel, so you’ll have to find a space in Galle’s narrow streets.

Worth getting out of bed for

With more than 400 years of heritage to uncover, there’s plenty to do in this Unesco World Heritage site. Your historic Galle hit-list includes the curious carvings on the tombstones in the Dutch Reformed Church, the lavish stained-glass windows of the Anglican Church, the old spice warehouses of the Maritime Archaeology Museum and the Historical Mansion Museum to see how the city’s other half (read, colonists) lived. The hotel’s staff can impart their expert local knowledge on a guided tour of the fort. Alternatively, escape the fort walls and bomb past the nearby paddy fields and tea plantations on a bike borrowed from the hotel, or head to Sri Lanka’s golden coastline for relaxing afternoons on Unawatuna beach, whale-watching in Mirissa, and snorkelling and scuba-diving around fish-filled coral reefs and centuries-old shipwrecks.

Local restaurants

From lobsters and jumbo prawns bought at that morning’s fish market, to rice grown on nearby paddies, and fruit and vegetables harvested at neighbouring farms, Galle Fort Hotel’s restaurant is all about fresh fare. Pop next door to try their varied menu that explores flavours from the old Spice Route. For a more formal dining experience, walk two minutes down Church Street to Amangalla. The indoor Dining Room has old-world charm and grandeur with antique furnishings, glittering chandeliers, elegant silverware and tall French windows that open onto a veranda. For a night to remember, ask our Smith24 Team to organise a private dinner in the hotel grounds; dine under the stars, serenaded by a local flautist or with a private fire-dance performance. Alternatively, experience a traditional Sri Lankan roti dinner in a private, thatch-roofed pavilion overlooking emerald rice paddies, and lit by hundreds of candles and flaming torches.

Local cafés

Pedlar’s Inn was the first coffee shop to open in Galle Fort in 2004, and the laid-back eatery is now a must for tourists and locals alike. Just as the 19th-century British post office that first occupied the building, the diner's menu offers dishes from near and far, with Sri Lankan fish curries, crispy pizzas, creamy carbonara and full-English breakfasts. Stop by their ice-cream shop at 61 Pedlar Street for gelato while exploring Galle. Royal Dutch Café’s (+94 (0)77 177 4949) owner, Fazal Badurdeen has more stories to tell of Galle than he does types of tea – and that’s a lot. Stop by for a home-made curry lunch or a nice cup of cinnamon- or cardamom-spiced milk tea (the list goes on and on) and let Fazal regale you with yarns about the fort’s former life.

Local bars

Sample the local brew or try an arrack sour at Amangalla’s rooftop bar, which overlooks the city and Galle bay beyond. Venture beyond the fort’s walls, to Dick’s Bar at the Sun House in central Galle to enjoy glasses, or pitchers, of Ginger Rogers rum cocktails: a moreish blend of ginger, lime cordial, soda water and the island's favourite spirit; we also recommend their Bloody Marys or another tot of arrack in their signature tipple, the Sun House Sundowner.

Reviews

Photos Fort Bazaar reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this coolly contemporary hotel in Galle and unpacked their fragrant jars of tea and spice pots, a full account of their coastal getaway in Sri Lanka’s south southern quarter will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Fort Bazaar in Galle…

Before you amble through the arched doorway of historic boutique hotel Fort Bazaar in Galle, you can hear the upbeat burble of diners chattering away on Church Street Social restaurant’s veranda and smell the heady scent of amply-spiced fish curries. The eatery is alive with local characters and relaxed guests, all searching for a taste of Sri Lanka. Beyond that, the hotel’s inner sanctum – rooms arranged around a calm courtyard – turns the volume all the way down. Simple, grey stone tiles are interspersed with charmingly mismatched, vibrantly-coloured decorative tiles and dark-stone benches with patterned pillows in exotic hues, adding a tropical touch to the hotel's simple, clean style. Trees line the courtyard, their branches spilling over onto the verandas and private balconies of the first-floor bedrooms. With exposed wooden ceilings and white walls, the airy rooms are filled with stylish, contemporary furnishings: understated Balinese four-poster beds, sleek sofas upholstered in bold geometric fabrics and colourful vintage-style posters. Throughout the property, Fort Bazaar embraces its colonial past and brings it into the 21st century.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Fort Bazaar’s Guestbook below.
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