Galle, Sri Lanka

Fort Bazaar

Price per night from$166.89

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 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD166.89), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Keeping it cool


Within these fort walls

Immerse yourself in coastal city Galle’s past: stay at former spice, tea and gem trading-post turned luxury hotel, Fort Bazaar. The actual gems were likely pillaged a few centuries ago, but this stylish stay has many a valuable treasure to be discovered; unwind in the hotel’s Bali-inspired spa, dine on black pork curry and lagoon crab at Church Street Social and get some shut-eye in a comfy four-poster bed. Set in the heart of 17th-century, colonial-Dutch city Galle, the hotel’s in prime position for early-morning trips to the market, whale-watching from the fort walls and sun-worshipping on Sri Lanka’s sandy beaches.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A 15-minute head massage each for two


Photos Fort Bazaar facilities

Need to know


18, including three suites.


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.


Double rooms from £178.74 ($222), including tax at 33.12 per cent.

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'.


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

Yoga mats, and free WiFi throughout the hotel. In rooms: a TV, air-conditioning and fan, minibar with soft drinks and snacks, a Nespresso coffee machine (suites only) 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.


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 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

Lined with cushion-topped sofas and manicured trees, the hotel's courtyard looks as if it were made for sundowners. Have one of the barmen mix you a G&T with Colombo Gin, a London dry made with four botanicals native to Sri Lanka (which were originally grown in the capital's Cinammon Gardens). Complimentary tea and coffee is served between 3.30pm and 4.30pm; if you fancy something stronger, the hotel hosts a 'Social Hour' from 5pm to 6pm, serving complimentary house G&Ts, a cocktail of the day and local beer (except during Sri Lanka's dry dates, when spirits aren't served). 


Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 10.30am, lunch from 12pm to 5pm and dinner from 6pm to 10pm (last order at 9.30pm); all meals are served in Church Street Social or can be taken on the veranda. The bar is open from 10am to 10pm.

Room service

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


Photos Fort Bazaar location
Fort Bazaar
26 Church Street
Sri Lanka

Historic Galle Fort was once an outpost for Dutch maritime trade in the Indian Ocean. Now the streets of this 17th-century port are lined with beautifully preserved, grand colonial buildings, such as the one housing elegant boutique stay Fort Bazaar.


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).


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.


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 for two at Amangalla for US$285.​

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.


Photos Fort Bazaar reviews
Alison King

Anonymous review

By Alison King, Journeying journalist

Founded by the Portuguese in the 16th-century, the sturdy ramparts and enchanting colonial-era streets of Unesco World Heritage-listed Galle Fort is a Sri Lankan must-see. In its heart, you’ll find Fort Bazaar: a former merchant’s mansion that has been renovated beautifully over a substantial 11-year project.

Arriving on a damp November afternoon, Mr Smith and I are welcomed into the open, airy foyer with cool towels and refreshing mango smoothies. Its stripped-back chic takes inspiration from the building’s 17th-century roots – a building that comes complete with an open courtyard, an adjoining restaurant, a ‘Z spa’ and a cosy, fully stocked library. 

Large whirring fans hum around you and the smell of jasmine wafts through a spacious courtyard perfect for relaxing on plump cushions and enjoying cake-abetted afternoon teas.

Throughout, the furnishings nods to its heritage: woven Sri Lankan fabrics, vintage prints, pale wood, hand-painted ceramic tiles… Our room at the end of the courtyard’s balcony, next to a Banyan tree, is adequately sized and has all the essentials; some luxuries too. The bed, for one, deserves honourable mention for sheer comfiness. With the room’s unobtrusive lighting, cooling fan and balcony, it makes for a calm hideaway for the final days of our Sri Lankan adventure.

The service is friendly and relaxed yet completely efficient. The staff seem genuinely interested in making your stay a happy one and on more than one occasion we ask for advice, directions and requests – all are met and offered with a smile.

Though the swimming pool is not yet built (it will be by May 2018 we’re told), the hotel is happy to offer trips to the seductive beaches in reach at Talpe, Dalawella and Unawatuna. They also offer free tuk-tuk rides to and from the famous Geoffrey Bawa-designed Jetwing lighthouse (just 10 minutes away) in order to use their vast swimming pool and beachside facilities.

On our first night, Mr Smith and I dine at the hotel’s adjoining restaurant, the Church Street Social. There’s no alcohol license yet (they’re mid-application) but guests are free to buy alcohol elsewhere and drink it in the restaurant where you can choose from a vast range of Sri Lankan and global dishes. We share the sesame-seared kingfish carpaccio with jalapeños, ginger and soy: a simple, elegant and a delightfully fresh starter. After eating hearty curries almost every night since our arrival, we opt for comforting Western mains: Mr Smith goes for a Australian rump steak; I opt for a grilled chicken and avocado burger. No complaints here, only compliments.

After a quiet, balmy stroll through the small, beautiful fort, we retire for a wonderfully peaceful night’s sleep, awoken only by birdsong the next morning. 

Come breakfast time, the restaurant is awash with platters of Sri Lankan fruits, buttery pastries, teas, coffees, yogurt, granola, jams and toasts. Having ogled another guest enjoying some good-looking eggs benedict, I save myself for that. It’s everything I imagined and more, adding bacon and avocado into the mix, with eggs oozing onto a thick toasted slice of challah bread all soundtracked by some soothing Debussy, Massive Attack and Miles Davis. I haven’t stopped dreaming about it since. 

On our second afternoon we take a stroll along the fort walls and discover more of its history. We visit the National Maritime Museum and the Historical Mansion Museum. The latter is impressive for its sheer magnitude: a cornucopia of collections ranging from pottery to jewellery; embroidery to metal work. Artists still work here in the courtyard but be warned: they really want you to buy their wares.

Early evening we indulge ourselves at Fort Bazaar’s tranquil spa. We both go for the signature 90-minute ‘Z massage’. It’s not just massages on offer, though: you can unwind with facials, body scrubs and detox wraps that all use notable Spa Ceylon products.

Ravenously hungry after our heavenly interlude we return to Church Street Kitchen for a traditional Sri Lankan crab curry. (Hint: Prepare to get mucky and/or have claws flung into your face.)

With its attention to detail, ideal location, soothing spa and guaranteed good nights’ sleeps, Fort Bazaar is the perfect place to unwind. This was our last stop in Sri Lanka, but given how welcome we felt, we could’ve started all over again.

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Price per night from $166.89