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“Wow! Pure luxury.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Fortress

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The Fortress
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Koggala | Habaraduwa, Koggala, Galle, Sri Lanka   |  
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Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Egremont, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Wow! Pure luxury.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2011

We stayed at the Fortress for 5 nights after 9 days touring Sri Lanka and after a night on safari in a tent, quite a contrast! When you enter the huge doors of the Fortress, nothing prepares you for what's inside, it really has the wow factor. We had been upgraded to an ocean room and it was fabulous with great views of the Indian ocean and beach, everything you could ask for in a 5 star hotel and serviced twice daily by the efficient cleaning staff. We really struggled to leave this paradise and apart from a stroll up the deserted beach and a tuk tuk to Galle we just enjoyed the r&r. OK the food and drink is pricey (by Sri Lankan standards) but comparable with the UK and all of the meals were excellent and couldn't be faulted. We found all of the staff throughout the hotel polite and super efficient.

Complaints? The only issue we had was that although smoking is banned in public places in Sri Lanka, this hotel does not discourage guests from smoking in the restaurant areas (albeit these are open air) and the smell of cigarettes/cigars is something we're obviously not used in the UK anymore. Also, we were surprised at the number of small children ie pre-school who were in the hotel, so don't expect this to be an adult only resort.

We couldn't recomend this hotel highly enough and would love to make a return visit.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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844 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (258)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2011

We went for a wedding which was beautiful. The hotel and staff were very kind and very attentive. They provided a few nice women for babysitting, mind you it would be helpful if they had been a little better with babies and toddlers...with jet lag... In any event, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would love a return trip.

Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2011

The Fortress hotel is one of the best hotels in Sri Lanka, with beautiful rooms (we stayed in one of the suites attached to a double room for my family), a great spot right on the water, and good location within a 15 minute drive of Galle Fort. For a family beach holiday, it is definitely better than the Amangalle, but the Amangalle could be more useful for a couple looking for the character of being inside the fort/the ability to walk around to nearby sights, retaurants, etc.

I went with my family (small children), who loved the pool, played on the beach (too rough for swimming, but good for running away from waves, etc.

There is only one restaurant, which is good and changes day to day, but may be limiting if you like a lot of variety - but you could always go to Galle for food if you want variety.

Sri Lanka as a whole lacks the polish of other parts of Asia in terms of service quality, but this is about as close as you'll get to Singapore/Thailand standards in resorts in the country. The spa, for example - is good, but not like what you'd get in Thailand, Bali, etc.... And the kids playroom is not up to scratch Expect some frustrations if you are a five-star hotel sort of person.

In short - a great place for a few days, great for a family, beautiful rooms and location, and one of the best hotels in Sri Lanka.

Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
68 hotel reviews
Reviews in 77 cities Reviews in 77 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2011

We spent a week at The Fortress in January 2011 for our wedding. Having read Tripadvisor reviews we were feeling pretty comfortable with our selection and thought we knew what to expect - nothing can prepare you for entering The Fortress; you need to see it to believe it!

Arriving at The Fortress after a 5 hour drive from Colombo, the imposing fortress walls were a little intimidating in the darkness. Stepping through the massive wooden gates, the hotel opens out on grass, gardens and a beautiful open air reception area overlooking the pool. Our luggage was quickly whisked away and large glasses of champagne delivered to us; what a great welcome.

We spent an amazing week combined with day trips to an elephant orphanage, tea plantation & factory, temples, Yala National Park safari (not to be missed), turtle hatchery, Galle and just plain relaxation at the hotel and plenty of beach walking. All of this while Gayani, our wedding planner sorted out the details for special day.

Getting married at The Fortress was an amazing experience. A low key affair, exactly what we wanted. The photographer took some lovely photos (something I had been a little worried about), the flowers were beautiful and the local lady who did my hair, made a superb job. There is nothing we would change about our wedding day and thank Gayani and the exceptional staff at The Fortress for helping make it happen and our week stay so enjoyable.

The exceptional service, the fantastic facilities and amazing views do come at a price to be expected of a 5 star hotel. We ate at the restaurant several nights due to many dinners being included; the food was fabulous - definitely try the local curry feast & any fresh fish on the menu. Alcohol is expensive, so we'd brought a couple of bottles of wine with us. Do eat outside of the resort - there are some great cheap restaurants at Unawatuna beach, with quite a lively night life.

I would without a doubt recommend The Fortress for a special occasion. Sri Lanka is an amazing destination and I look forward to returning.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toowoomba, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2011

This was our 2nd visit after our visit in 2008 for our 10th Wedding anniversary. This visit was for our friend's wedding on our recommendation and everyone (We had about 30 friends also there) loved the place. They treat you like family & they make sure they remember your name. The groom commented on the level of personal service they were receiving & rightly so for the amount of money they had paid - though I told him we received the same level 3 yrs ago - it doesn't matter how much money you spend you will be treated like royalty.
From the welcome drink and cool cloth to refresh you, the ultra cool rooms with oversized shower, spa bath tub, twin basins, super king size beds, corner lounge suite, flat screen tv, Nespresso coffee machine with coffee capsule selection box. Then you have the view, the largest infinity pool you have ever seen, turquoise ocean with the sound of the waves rolling onto the golden sandy beach, not forgetting the fantastic restaurant with something for everyone, this place has it all.
Some words of note though, this is 5 star, prices are Western prices - but the level of service & food quality deserve this. Organise own transfers, a transfer in a modern ac car from Colombo to Fortress (or vice versa) should only be about USD$70 - the Fortress quotes USD$250. If you want a Tuk Tuk, cross the road & negotiate a price you are happy with, remember these Tuk Tuk drivers are not millionaires so you are not giving your money to a multi-national company so don't lose sleep if you paid more then someone else - as long as you're happy with the price then all good!
So go, enjoy - you won't be disappointed...

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Bath
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2011

Excellent hotel in a wonderful location. It is a long journey from the airport on very bumpy, busy roads but once we entered the huge gate the journey was forgotten as we were greeted by the staff and saw the view through the foyer onto the swimming pool and ocean. Throughout our stay all the staff were helpful and attentive and made our holiday very enjoyable. As we were there to attend our son's wedding we would like to thank Gayani the wedding coordinator for making the day run so smoothly. We stayed in an Ocean View room which was spacious and well equipped and the housekeeping staff were very keen to please. We were on full board and found plenty of choice although the al a carte menu does not change. They were happy to provide us with packed lunches for the day we went to Yala National Park. All in all a beautiful hotel in a superb location. We had a great stay and would not hesitate to return.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2011

The Fortress is simply an incredible place to stay and I couldn’t recommend it enough having stayed there for 9 nights in Feb 2011. The rooms are enormous and immaculately kept with a twice daily service. The hotel building and grounds are stunning and the 50m infinity pool with sun beds overlooking the beach is fantastic. The restaurant offers a large range of different cuisines, the food is delicious and the staff are all extremely polite and well trained. The hotel never looked busy even though I am fairly sure all rooms were occupied and we were always able to use the facilities (spa etc) whenever we wanted.

Yes, some things can be (very) expensive (for Sri Lanka) but this is a 5 star hotel and you pay for the luxurious surroundings and service. Having said that, it’s still cheaper than other 5 star hotels that we’ve stayed at (bottle of beer was about £2.50, cocktail £4-£5, lunch £15 each). We went for half board as the hotel is not really in a location where you can just walk to local restaurants but the food there is divine; I thoroughly recommend the Peppered crab, the Devilled chicken and the Lagoon prawns which are each about as big as a large banana!

The only minor snags I can think of is that 1) the free WiFi was slow and unreliable, not really a problem when you only need to check the odd email but if you needed to do any work or download anything substantial you may want to bring a 3G enabled device. 2) the hotel is about a 4-5 hour drive from the airport, a long old haul especially after a lengthy flight, and 6-7 hours from the main sights around Kandy. I thoroughly recommend trying to arrange your flights so that they arrive/depart in the small hours as the local traffic is horrendous during the day. Neither of these should discourage you from staying at this wonderful hotel, though!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Fortress

Address: Koggala | Habaraduwa, Koggala, Galle, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle > Koggala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fortress 4*
Number of rooms: 53
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A luxury 53 room boutique resort located on the Southern shores of Sri Lanka. The Fortress has been styled after Galle’s powerful ancient Dutch Fort, blending the country’s Dutch and Portuguese influences with Sri Lankan motifs and indigenous furnishings to echo the historic days of Old Ceylon. This has been artfully and sensitively fused with innovative architecture, high design features, state-of-the-art technology, sensual living spaces with naturally modern design, and incredible gastronomic experiences, to stunning effect. The Fortress will offer unprecedented levels of service, extraordinary innovation, attention to detail and a unique blend of Old Ceylon with Modern Asia. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fortress Hotel Koggala
Fortress Hotel Galle
Fortress Galle
Fortress Sri Lanka

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