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“an historical gem with stylish rooms, great food and service” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Fort Printers

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The Fort Printers
4.0 of 5 Small Hotel   |   39 Pedlar St | Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #18 of 160 Galle B&B and Inns
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“an historical gem with stylish rooms, great food and service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2009

Our recent travels in Asia evoked memories of our wonderful stay at this renovated gem located right in the middle of a living fort, Galle Fort. We stayed twice at this place during our long trip to Sri Lanka, first with our family from the UK and then again alone on our return trip from the highlands. Both stays were quite memorable. The rooms are huge with polished floorboards and antique ceiling beams and beautifully furnished with colorful silks and crisp sheets. It has a small pool which is good for cooling off but not really for swimming. For swimming and a proper pool, they will organise Tuk Tuk to take you to the beach place that they own which is a short distance away and located on a private beach.
It is centrally located in the fort for town and other galleries and cafes in the fort and for beaches nearby. We had use of the stunning Frangipani beach hotel which is owned by the same people and which is the subject of another review here.
The food is wonderfully fresh and served in generous portions and very reasonably priced considering that you can have jumbo prawns and local lobster. The curries are authentic and without any concession to the foreign palate. So if you cant eat hot food, you have to warn the kitchen in advance!!!
The staff is very kind and personable. All in all a very personal experience. It is the kind of place we all dream of finding and always seem to fall short. We absolutely recommend it. Forgot to say. The place is also a popular venue for the top local artists' exhibition (there was a huge exhibition on during our stay and we were VIP guests as we had booked the whole place).

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 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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279 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 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 (88)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2008

This place was what one can only dream a Home can feel like. The delicacy in the surroundings is tingling to the soul. The beautifully decorated spacious rooms, the pool, the temple flowers, the birds, the Exquisite dinning (My best complements to the chef), the serenity and the absolute privacy make this stay an unforgettable experience. The staff is very hospitable and professional; they ensure you have everything you need and more.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed December 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2008

When I first arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. The images on the website do not the hotel justice. I simply fell in love with the place, the atmosphere, the staff, the swimming pool, the birds...The chef is another story and worth traveling all the distance for his exotic and unique meals. The staff will do absolutely anything for you(well, you do have to be a bit reasonable). The rooms or suites to be more correct are spacious and beautifully designed, just like every room in the Fort Printers. If you are looking for a quality quite time, do not miss this hotel. It is absolutely worth it.

  • Liked — everything
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed December 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2008

My girlfriend and I spent a wonderful 24 hours at the Fort Printers. Very reasonably priced by western standards, with an immaculately restored gleaming black morris minor parked outside. As soon as we walked into the place we realised this place was something special. A former school with vaulted ceilings, huge open spaces for relaxing and enjoying a cocktail and a single lane plunge pool on the terrace. The standard of food rates among the two best restaurants in Galle. But the real treat was the room itself. We stayed in the Headmaster's suite - a huge area with wall to wall windows overlooking the pool and a fabulous copper enclosed rain shower. The perfect place to take in the faded colonial splendour of Galle itself and witness the call to prayer of its small muslim population. We stayed at the Kandalama - much more pricey - and i have to say the Fort Printers gets my vote for my favourite Sri Lankan hotel. Personal service, great artwork and interior design that just blew me away.
If only all hotels were this good.

Stayed February 2008
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2008

We booked the Fort and Beach promotion and stayed for one night. Fort Printers is an old Dutch building which has been renovated as a 5 room boutique hotel. As you enter the place, as we did from a long drive and the eerily quiet streets of the fort in early hours of the morning, it feels like you have entered an oasis. The building is beautifully furnished with Chinese antique cupboards, designer couches and contemporary chairs. The grand entrance hall houses an antique printing machine which we were told was used at the building when it was a printing press. The courtyard has a small pool which adds color to the place especially at night. We kept comparing it to Moroccan riads with just the right lighting and greenish-blue color.
We stayed in Headmaster's room which is a two room suite with a raised platform bed and looks out to the lighthouse and the harbour. It is a beautiful room but one has to be careful in tacking the steps from the raised platform area especially in the middle of the night!!!
We stayed most of our holiday at the related property, The Frangipani, but went for dinner to Fort Printers for 3 nights. The food is fabulous. The chef, who is also the chef for The Frangipani, is amazing in use of spices and creates easily some of the best food even by Australian standards. We had Sri Lankan curries, grilled prawns, fresh tuna, butter fish and chilli crabs. We dined at Amangalla and Fortress but concluded that Fort Printers had the best food on the island and thereafter had all our meals there or at The Frangipani.
The staff are extremely gracious and friendly and soon became our friends. We would highly recommend Fort Printers to all our friends.

Stayed August 2008
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Bristol, UK
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2008

Stayed for just one night but was fabulous. Lovely and tranquil and with a delicious breakfast - great coffee and fresh bread.

The pool is just big enough for a cooling dip and the reception area has sink into sofas which are great for chilling.

Would recommend the Headmasters Suite which has rooftop views over the Fort (think most of the other rooms face onto a corridor).

Top marks for the staff who were helpful, welcoming and extremely accommodating.

Stayed April 2008
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2008

We stayed at the Fort Printers for one night and a day in September 2007. This was a terrible mistake.

The Fort Printers did not have, and still lacks, a back-up power generator. Power cuts happen reasonably often in Galle, and no decent boutqiue/better guest house or hotel would be without a generator.

When the power failed in the night, and for most of the day, we naturally had no a/c, fans or light. But we also had no water at all, as this relied on electric pumps to the Suite in which we were staying, and therefore had no wash basin, lavatory facilities etc.

This was all well below what one would expect from a guest house in Galle at the price charged. There was a long list of other, inexcusable, problems. The lock to our Suite did not work and without a bolt, we had no security for our room, accepting that the guest house itself was secured. When the staff later locked the door they then found it would not open and had to break into the room to retrieve our luggage.

On arrival at the Fort Printers at around 9.30pm, the secutiry guard showed us to our room and then locked the building and switched out the lights. We were apparently locked-in, which was disturbing and a little disappointing, as we had wanted to go out for a drink. It transpired that the reception phone number we had called to make our booking that day was not forwarded to the manager's mobile telephone, so the guard was left to provide our welcome.

The lavatory lacked any window covering. Apparently this is/was part of the 'design'. This was ill-conceived, given the view available from neighbouring structures.

A window in the bedroom also lacked any covering. While this did not compromise one's privacy, it did preclude a lie-in!

The suite lacked a safe, bath robes, a torch or candles for power cuts - all things one would expect of a guest house with these sorts of pretensions.

When we complained to the manager, he barely apologised and forthfrightly told us that our experiences were our own fault for booking on our day of arrival. After an embarrassing exchange we were offered a 25% discount. The manager then fabricated an email header with the incorrect email for the owner, who he had not allowed us to call or fax. We were not allowed to try to email the owner from the hotel, as the computing facilties were "not available to guests".

When we did manage to email the owner he was apologetic, but did not see the fundamental problem with the lack of a generator or window covering in the lavatory of our suite. While accepting that his manager's behaiour was not ideal, no changes seem likely. To date, we have never gained our promised rebate from Shahzad Malik, the owner of the Fort Printers. Instead, he insists that his hotel manager has attempted to refund us. It has reached the point where we would need to copy our entire banking records to persuade Mr Malik that we have not recieved the money, as he seems to have no personal financial oversight of his operation. Hence, after so many months, I have decided to post this review.

Having lived and travelled in the Far East and South Asia for many years, and been accustomed to all levels of accomodation, I can safely say that the Fort Printers is the worst case of the Emperor's new clothes I have ever encountered. The proprieter and his wife may have friends in Conde Naste and elsewhere who write stunning reviews of this very sleekly-designed building. However, they appear to have a total disregard for the guests who are unfortunate enough to suffer from the hit-and-miss quality the Fort Printers has to offer. Galle has a few very solid and similarly stylish hotels at this price, I would suggest that you try one of those instead.

  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Travelbanker, owner at The Fort Printers, responded to this review, September 2, 2008
I am responding to this complaint to clear queries received from the friends of The fort Printers and to set the facts right.

Firstly, it is ironic to have a review published so late in April, 2008 when the guests stayed at The Fort Printers in September, 2007.

We received complaints from the guests about the lack of hot water when there was a power cut and as such the guest could not have a shower until the power was restored, there was no curtain on the end window of the room and it took staff 10 minutes to open the room door after they had locked it and the manager tried to stop the guests from e-mailing directly to the owners their complaint.
In the same e-mail, we received positive comments that the guesthouse is beautifully designed and the bed staff and cooks are the nicest hotel service people the guest had come across in their travels and the breakfast was divine.

We replied to the complaint and explained that The Fort Printers was a restoration of an historic mansion and given its layout, it has no space for a place to put a back up generator. In Galle, power cuts are far and few and generally during the day at the most for a couple of hours and that we are exploring the possibility of connecting to an adjacent back up generator. The guests should have had hot water as I believe the power cut was for a short duration. The Headmasters was specifically left by the interior designer as is without curtains for end window or lavatory for views and light.

We apologised for the behavior of my manager even though, upon investigation, we discovered that the guest had been rude and condescending to our staff who were at a loss as to how to deal with such aggressive behavior. We do not take mistreatment of our staff lightly but again decided to resolve the complaint in favor of the guest and decided to refund the cost of stay which was for one night.

We offered a refund for the guests' stay and instructed our bank to credit the guests' credit card. Our account was debited for the refund but somehow never credited to the guests' credit card. We asked confirmation of the credit card number from the guest and were told that we were not serious in processing.

The guest wrote in February to say that we were not genuine in offering to refund the cost as he had not received the refund. When we checked with our bank, we found out that the credit card number to which the refund had been charged was incorrect. Apparently, the credit card belonged to the girl friend of the guest. We asked the guest to check the credit card number and give us the correct number but we did not receive any replies to our two e-mails.

It is disappointing that the guest has instead chosen to write a spiteful review instead of providing us the correct credit card number to charge the refund. The suggestion that the owner may have friends at Conde Nast and other media to receive positive reviews can hardly make for a rational response.

The Fort Printers has received rave reviews from many satisfied guests and independent media publications and we always try to provide the best experience for our guests and when occasionally we do fall short, we graciously try to make up and try to improve.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Fort Printers

Address: 39 Pedlar St | Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle
Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 160 B&Bs / Inns in Galle
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Fort Printers 4*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
“Guests get the convenience of hotel services and the ambiance of a villa at Fort Printers… The eighteenth-century mansion turned printing facility now houses five stylish, antiques-filled suites—four linked via a second-story walkway, common in colonial buildings of the era; the fifth, poolside. The jackwood floors, copper-lined rain showers, and extra-long lap pool are generating a buzz among design-savvy visitors.” - Conde`Nast Traveler Hot List 2006 ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fort Printers Hotel Galle
Fort Printers Galle
Hotel Fort Printers

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