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“Wedding and Honeymoon in Paradise! x” 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
Doha, Qatar (UK Originally)
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Wedding and Honeymoon in Paradise! x”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2010

We had our wedding at the Fortress in October there. To sum it up it was an unreal experience and the whole trip an absolute dream. We stayed for two weeks (our family came out in week 1 and we stayed on for another week for our Honeymoon) We were upgraded on arrival to an ocean view room which was excellent. It was modern, lush and a few steps from the gorgeous, turquoise Indian Ocean. We came from the Middle East so it was a shorter journey for us. The 4 hour drive from Colombo didn't really affect us but when our parents came from the UK, the found it quite a treck but agreed that it was well worth the last push to get there. They agreed it would not put them off coming back, so please dont let that put you off either!!! If you are thinking of having your wedding in Sri Lanka, we could not recommend the Fortress HIGHLY enough! They made everything so easy from initial booking to wedding itself such as flowers, menu, cake etc through to all the legal arrangements and the day was fab! The Buddhist blessing, elephant, cake, champers, photographer etc was all spot on and everything went without a hitch, exceeding our expectations. The other thing to write home about is the feel of the place as a whole. It is a peaceful, luxury resort, without a doubt. Very relaxing with a stunning pool and views to the ocean. The staff are very considerate and never intrusive, always smiling and willing to help! Gayanni in particular handled our wedding and she was a wee dream. She went above what we would expect any wedding coordinator at a hotel to do - whilst doing her other duties too, it seemed! 10/10. The only critical thing I would say about the hotel is that beer and wine is very expensive. We took a few bottles of bubbly and spirits with us from the airport and glad we did! We also went out a few afternoons to nearby Unawantuna beach (about 15min tuk-tuk ride) for cheap food and beers, and had a great time. The Paradise bar had particularly cheap and tasty food, beers etc. We had our own Tuk-tuk driver the whole two weeks we were there (the hotel drivers are very expensive so walk about 100 yards turning left out of the hotel and you will find lots of good drivers that will look after you during your stay. They will give their mobile no and will be ready when you need them) Our guy was called 'Lal'. He was really sweet, knowledgable and trustworthy and we went on various trips, including to Yala safari for example, in a mini bus he had organised for half the price of the hotel trip!!! It was a bit further away than we originally expected but worth every second of the drive. The plethora of animals and wildlife was astonishing, we even sat less than 2mtrs away from a wild family of elephants, so rare nowadays. Here is Lal's mobile no: Lal: 0776150390 and AJ (Lals Brother who concentrates on the diving trips): 0777284178. Aja's email is ajanthask@yahoo.com and website www.ajanthatrip.com. Seriously would go back to Sri Lanka in a heartbeat - the humble people, rich colours, culture and wildlife is captivating....and The Fortress would be without doubt the resort of choice! Go for it and have fun! Mr and Mrs Prior xxx

  • Stayed October 2010, 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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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
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Somerset
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2010

This hotel is really a resort as it does not offer support for business or informed help with travel. The ocean rooms are excellent with great views, lots of space, great beds and well designed bathrooms. The staff are unfailingly friendly and gracious. The main issue with this resort is the very poor value for money offered by the food, the drinks and the spa. These are all grotesquely over priced to the extent that there was a widespread feeling amongst guests when we were there that we were being ripped off. This is a shame as the quality of the staff and the rooms is so good. This could easily be an excellent resort but is let down by the owners pricing strategy.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2010

I have just visited The Fortress with my wife and 2 young children aged 6 and 18 months.
Our expectations were high after just visitng the Kuramathi in the Maldives to were we had a very enjoyable stay.

After arriving in Colombo via the short Sri Lankan airways fllight from Male, we had to endure a very scenic but never the less 4 hour journey to Galle. It then hits home who much devastation the Sri lankans had to endure during the tsunami. Our driver was knowledgable and friendly.

On arriving we entered through the large gates into what is a different world. we were offered ice tea and then shown to our upgraded ocean view room on the 1st floor. we entered to a lovely cinammon scented room. The room was large and bed was very large and extremely comforatble. They had made a sofa bed for my 6 yer old and that too was very coforatble. The rooms have a rain shower and jacuzzi. The surround system was a BOSE 3-2-1 system and although packed a punch was not as good as tthe LG system at the Kuramathi. ther is an ipod conecter if anyone decides to take ther ipod with them. The only gripe we had with the room was that we had to call the technicians out twicw as the Bose had been wired up incorectly. Small problem and fixed instantly. there is a small library were you can borrow DVD's and Book's. 2 bottles of water and milk is free the rest you pay for.

The resort is contemporary designed it is something that we liked.

The weather was brilliant apart from one day were there was atorrential downpour in the afternoon. we thought the heavens had really opened but the next morning was beautifull and bright.

We were staying on a half-board basis and i would strongly recommend this as the food bills can add up. breakfasts were a range of omelettes hoppers and delicious fruit and breads. The fruit juices being freshly squuezed. the jams and marmalade all home made and delicious. lunches were generally a light afair being just a pizza to share (they have there own wood burning oven). Dinners were truly amazing and the highlight being the seafood buffet. Prawns, Lobster, Crabs and an array of fishes all would not be out of place in a fine dining restaurant. the staff in particular Sugath and Asela were outstanding, my wife being vegetarian had a wide selection of food but the staff would often suggest something that may not be on the menu and ask the chefs to cook it fresh for her. The sri lankan night also excellent with local dancers at the end. The rest of the nights we were there was all a-la-carte and very good the lagoon prawns my favourite and the Thai Green Vegie Curry my wifes. the cocktails are excellent at the bar the beers also good anchor beer my favourite, you get 20% off all drinks between 6-7.

The beaches are brilliant and sand lovely and soft whilst going for a watch do not be afraid of the beach people they are friendly and often just trying to make a little money. Beware of the strong currents if you go into the sea.

My wife and 6 year old ventured into Galle and said there was nothing to write home about, though you have to barter hard with the tuktuk drivers outside. We had not decided to do any of the excursions as we had an 18 month old. But a lot of other guests highly recomended the trpi to Yala.

The pool was good and clean and were my daughter spent all most all of the daylight hours! There is also a very good spa sauna jacuzzi section.

OK The small niggles, the DVD problem mentioned above. Remember to were plent of Mosquito repellent especially after rain (hope you do not get any though) the childrens club is just a room with some tous and a playstation.

This in no way spoilt our holiday and can truly recommend to any one to stay at, whilst walking you will see some of the other resorts and will be glad that you are staying at probably the finest resort in Sri Lanka.

I would also suggest to anyone that they do the souvenir shopping in Galle, the shops for souvenirs at the airport are a rip off $20 for a fridge magnet!

I WILL GO BACK!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with family
    • 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.
Surrey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2010

The Fortress is a luxury hotel in a beautiful setting, ideal for relaxing and sun-worshipping, which was the idea of our stay in September 2010. Yes, the transfer from Columbo takes a long time due to the traffic, but we'd not visited Sri Lanka before, so on the outward journey there's loads to see, and on the way back we left at the crack of dawn, so snoozed all the way. On arrival at the hotel, we were greeted with some iced tea, and shown to our (upgraded) beach room, which was modern, clean, and very well-appointed, with a giant bed and jacuzzi bath tub. We spent a few days just chilling around the pool (weather was great, really sunny all day, apart from a 15 minute torrential downpour at around lunchtime most days-the rest of the rain fell at night). Have to say the service at the hotel was amazing-the staff knew our names within a couple of days (the hotel was pretty quiet) and couldn't do enough to help. Our complimentary back massage was lovely, the steam room, sauna and showers in the spa are all free to use, and we even used the very modern gym a couple of times. It does seem that a lot of couples stop at the Fortress at the end of their holiday/honeymoon, having toured the rest of Sri Lanka (guess that could be due to the transfer, but the government are building a new airport in the south of the island). Then decided to explore a bit, and met Mahesh the tuk tuk driver on the beach (contact me for his details). I'm always wary of local touts, but have to say he was absolutely brilliant-he'd bring us fresh coconuts from his garden each morning if we fancied one, and was happy to arrange excursions when and if we wanted them (no hard sell). Spent a full day (12 hours end to end) visiting Yala National Park, via a giant Buddha temple, which is thoroughly recommended (great photos of elephants, crocs, monkeys etc) for a lot cheaper than the hotel was asking. He'd even take us down the road to Unawatana free of charge for dinner if we fancied a bit of a change from the hotel (although the Fortress food was excellent). A trip to one of the many turtle sanctuaries is a must, too. And to top it all off, the bill for food and drink was around half what we expected to pay for a ten day stay, given the quality of the hotel.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 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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Bucks, UK
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2010

The hotel rooms are beautiful, we had an upstairs ocean room, with fabulous views of the ocean. Excellent bose/ipod music in the room. A huge very comfortable bed with a different motif in flower petals every evening. The food was excellent, service was excellent, although our room often wasn't made up until quite late in the day.
The hotel is a LONG way from the airport. Travelling takes a lot longer than you think in Sri Lanka. We stayed in a Colombo hotel for 1 night on the way back to the airport and I was glad we did as we didn't have to worry about meeting a flight deadline on the long drive.
The sea was quite rough with undercurrents when we were there so not for swimming in, but the local teenagers swam in a rock enclosure (a bit like a pool in the sea) at certain stages of the tide, and the turtles came here too to feed. Also there are beaches further along the coast that are more sheltered. We were not bothered at all by beach vendors here as can be the case at some other hotels.
There is free internet in the guest office, but the evening is a popular time and often we had to wait to use it. Always free first thing in the morning.
Laundry is expensive.
We had a fab time here and would thoroughly recommend the hotel.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Guildford, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2010

Visited The Fortress this summer for my honeymoon and all I can say is we have the most wonderful time and couldn't ask for more. The hotel tries hard to ensure you have top class service and it succeeds at that.

When we got off our 11 hour flight we had to board a 5 hour transfer to the hotel. I would say this is the only downside of the hotel but all is forgiven as soon as you enter the hotel grounds. We were welcomed with champaign upon arrival (I believe as were on honeymoon) they also upgraded our rooms. We had an ocean loft I believe and it was highly specced. The rainfall shower was great and so was the bath. The bed was very comfortable and we had an amazing view out to sea. The TV was good and the ipod and bose system a nice touch. There was plenty of space to move around in the room.

There isn't much to do outside of the hotel but the hotel amenities are enough if you are looking for a relaxed luxurious holiday. I would suggest trying the spa and the free jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room.

The infinity pool was great and you could also take a walk on the beach just in front. You are not allowed to swim in the sea but as I'm not really a swimmer this didn't bother me much. You do get the local beach boys trying to tout for business but they are not much bother.

The hotel is expensive though for its exertions so we decided to go with one of the tuk tuk drivers / beach boys. He took us to Galle one day and took us to Yala national park another with a few stop offs at a Buddhist temple and a Blow Hole. We paid about $250 in the end not including tips but this was well worth it as we saw and experienced a lot which includes elephants and the elusive leopard - a young leopard strolled across in front of our jeep, a rear sight indeed. We would never have experienced that for that price with the hotel. Bear in mind that to get to Yala is another 3 hour drive from the hotel. Our driver was a guy called Manju he really looked after us. Even took us to his house to meet his family. This is probably standard treatment to make you feel comfortable but he was still a very nice guy who provided us with a lot of information. He was just as excited as we were at seeing the leopard, even the jeep driver and the park guide got excited, rear to see a leopard so close.

The dinner service was fantastic and top class. The food was great and we enjoyed the various theme nights that were had especially the Sri Lankan night. We also had the special wall dinner that the lay on for guests at extra cost (it is expensive). We had a 5 course meal but instead of having it at the star lit pool we had it on our balcony in complete privacy because of the chance of rain. Getting caught out in the rain would have ruined the dinner (although it didn't rain that night). They delivered each course to our room taking the previous whilst still providing a high level of service.

We were on half board basis so didn't really feel the expense at dinner each night (we were upgraded from bed and breakfast as they had the offer on when we booked) but it did look a touch expensive. The food was great though so we didn't have to venture out for food.

All in all I would totally recommend this hotel and stay there again the next time I get a chance. Hopefully they would have sorted out a highway in Sri Lanka (i believe this is under construction now) which would mean transfer times were a lot shorter or they start running the sea plane again. That said the transfer still wouldn't put me off going again. We both loved it.

  • Stayed July 2010
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Armagh, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2010

The Fortress is a stunning hotel, in a very quiet locatioin. It is more expensive to eat in than restaurants in the surrounding area, however the food is of a much better quality in the hotel. We stayed for two weeks and never had a bad meal. The service was excellent and the staff were very friendly. I would highly recommend this hotel even though it is quite a drive from the airport approx 5 hours.

  • Stayed July 2010, 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 1
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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