Overlooking Galle’s inner harbour from the eastern ramparts of the ancient Dutch Fort, the Amangalla Hotel is an exotic neo-colonial travellers’ haven that exudes its romantic past. After the Dutch colonised the fort in 1640 from the Portuguese, Amangalla was initially built as two houses and became the Dutch Military Officers headquarters. After the British colonisation, it became a British garrison, housing the soldiers of the 83rd regiment.

In 1863, the hotel was bought by a group of English businessmen and transformed into what became a thriving haven for business, leisure and culture. The Amangalla Hotel opened in late 2004, refurbished with special care and sensitivity to its colonial heritage, and today this luxurious retreat attracts cultured comfort-seekers with its blend of nostalgic fittings, centuries-old charm, luxurious comforts and modern flourishes.

Kasun De Silva
Kasun De Silva

A brief background on yourself? I enjoy working in concierge as this is the way I get to engage with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds, share a bit about my wondrous island, Sri Lanka, and at the same time ensure that our guests are well taken care of.

Why is Fort Galle so enchanting? Walking inside the Unesco World Heritage Galle Fort takes you on a time travel back to the 16th century; the rich history, the architecture and art are astounding.

Unmissable places of interest? A fort tour to see the colonial buildings and stores that have now been converted into boutique hotels, shops or private villas. For most, the view from the western ramparts at sunset is very romantic. The Japanese Peace Pagoda temple is a sight to relish your eyes on and is a place of spiritual healing. Time in the sun on the beach at the stunning Unawatuna beach is relaxing for all, and the daily fish market just outside the fort walls is also interesting to foodies.

Amangalla Lighthouse
Amangalla Lighthouse

The best shopping in the fort? Laksala gift and souvenir boutique, JOJO Antiques and Vintage, The Mansion House, Barefoot for unique Sri Lankan local design, KK Collection for art, Southern Antiques and the Saskia Gallery gift shop.

Best eateries and why? The Fort Printers for Sri Lankan, North African and Mediterranean cuisines. Why Beach for genuine Italian food and Talpe Beach Club for modern European food.

Any new restaurants one should visit? The Tuna and the Crab for fabulous Japanese and Western seafood.

Buildings of architectural and historical interest? The Old Spice Warehouse, completed in 1668 to store spices before shipment to Holland. The Old Dutch Reformed Church, built in 1752 and the All Saints church for the stained glass windows.

Best sunset view? The western fort ramparts along Rampart Road and the Amangalla Sunset Balcony on the fourth floor, with snacks and drinks afterwards.

Galle Fort
Galle Fort

Best meeting place? Amangalla Zaal, or the hotel lobby verandah. Best place for tea? High tea at Amangalla, with a variety of teas, sandwiches and sweet items.

Any day excursions you could recommend? The paddy island cooking class with Amangalla, whale-watching, temple tours and a tea plantation visit.

Any specific guide one should consult for a tour? Our butlers, such as the knowledgeable Yasith, who are Fort Galle locals, are the best guides. They know all the secret, hidden corners of the fort. aman.com/resorts/amangalla

Crab Curry
Crab Curry
© Wanted 2016 - If you would like to reproduce this article please email us.