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“The perfect start to our honeymoon!”

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The Fortress Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 1, 2007

After a very long day (our wedding), a long flight and a long car transfer from the airport we arrived at the Fortress! You turn in from the road and go in through the gates an an oasis of calm appears - it is so gorgeous!

The hotel itself is absolutley stunning and the smell of the gorgeous wood (cedar, I think) is intoxicating! Every time I smell it now it reminds me of our first stop in Sri lanka! The service is lovely and the staff are very attentive! I forgot to bring a razor so one of the lads went and bought one from the shop for me - I feel fairly certain that that level of service is a rarity!

The rooms are huge and every possible mod con is available! The bathroom was amazing with a huge shower and bath - wasn't sure about the glass cubicle loo though (it is frosted glass but you can still see the shape of the person going to the loo - I made my husband leave the room!). The overall design is very stylish and modern - I loved the day bed! Everything is oversized - the bathroom fittings, the bed, the TV!

The pool is enormous and is lit with little twinkling lights during the evening - there are lots of places to sit and sunbathe so there is no fighting for sunloungers! there is also a gorgous tea lounge on a mezzanine level which is where we spent the couple of days it rained just reading and chilling out!

The spa was amazing too and I had the best and most relaxing facial I have ever had! They base their treatments on aurvedic principals which is also very interesting to hear about if you ask the therapist.

My only little niggle is that there wasn't much choice in terms of food - there are 2 restaurants, one that served pizza and one that served traditional Sri Lankan food- both had very small menus that weren't changed daily. We only stayed for 5 nights and were bored of it by the time we left!

It is also difficult to venture down onto the beach as you are immediately accosted by people trying to sell trips, etc - the Sri Lankans are so friendly and pleasant that it is VERY difficult to say no to such offerings! One man made us feel terrible as he asked us how much our holiday had cost and then told us that his hoome had been destroyed by the tsuami - this was gutting as obviously we wanted to help him but he wanted to provide a service we didn't need and he wouldn't accept money for nothing. We ended up avoiding the beach altogether in the end which was a shame.

Overall The Fortress is an amazing hotel and is so incredibly relaxing! It is not lively (like much of Sri Lanka) but very chilled out and peaceful which is exactly what we wanted from our honeymoon!

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank PippyH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 2, 2007

I hate to admit it, but for the first time in my life....I felt like an old fuddy-duddy! Fashion designers aren't ever supposed to feel...lame...!

I arrived at The Fortress past midnight after the never-ending car-ride. This is where I become an old curmudgeon: The first thing I usually do when I arrive at a hotel is check the little binder of services offered. Most importantly for the spa menu. Nil. No room service menu. Not even the pillow menu so promised on their website. My irritation was exacerbated by the booming base inside my room from the bar directly below. I remember the room being massive and cool, but in my travel weary haze I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out the lights, the sound system+ipod dock, and why why why they didn't have any shampoo.

Then...I woke up the next morning. Et voila! Like magic, my concerns were melted away by its state-of-the-arts-ness...and the espresso machine and the chromatherapy tub. I stayed in an an upstairs Ocean Room (room 426 has a jacuzzi, unlike the others on that floor). I dined on great food (best tuna salad ever), made friends with the lovely people in the spa who spoiled me rotten, and did yoga seaside.

Check out:

- the Residence suite: private pool, steam sauna, and there was even supposed to be a ROTATING BED! Hell yeah!

- Hooka in the lounge. I looked like a loser smoking by myself, but I felt damn good.

Watch out:

- Tours are often by commission and pricey. (The Drivers are great and highly trained not to freak you out on the roads). The Turtle hatchery charged me $60US to release a baby into the ocean..I got suckered, but oh well, you can't have too many karma points.
- It'll cost you $30US just to get a ride to Galle Fort...($80 for a tour)...which, to be honest, is so ram-shackled it's hardly worth it.
- I wanted them to replenish my toiletries daily because I love to horde the little bottles of Aesop lotion. But they were on to me...
- Note to those also seduced by modern minimalism. No one is at the front desk...you have to intrude in on their office around the corner.
- ***Mosquitoes*** DO NOT FORGET to get the turn-down service...they will prep your room to be bug-free during your slumber. I shoo'd the guy away one night, and was eaten alive.

Because I wish I had designed this hotel, I'm being totally fussy and overly critical for such a new hotel. I think in another year, I'm sure they will continue to refine their services and amenities even further. Regardless, it's a SMOKIN' deal and utterly cool for the area.

I just don't like admitting that I might not be cool enough...

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled solo
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11  Thank keryninbali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2007

The Fortress is an amazing hotel and offers great value for money. It is only 6 months old and prices are sure to go up, so book your stay while it is still new and relatively unknown! Rooms are cheap ($210, incl. taxes, plus drinks and phone calls are much cheaper than other placesin Sri Lanka)

I stayed there for 3 nights with a friend and loved (almost) everything about it. It is mostly a honeymoon destination, but I would still recommend it to anyone.

The swimming pool, bar (with swinging chairs and chicha lounge), rooms (all very high-tech---with Bose sound system, ipod, espresso maker, martini shakers, and cool bathrooms) and the breakfast buffet are all amazing! They all score a perfect 10.

The spa could be better. The massage menu is limited and the therapists are OK. I would give the spa a 7.5 / 10. I just feel that the ocean view from the hotel is so beautiful that they could have made better use of it.

All staff was very friendly and always happy to help (ie- charged my digital camera, prepared customized drinks). Their eagerness to help sometimes felt a little bit intrussive, but it is still the best service we got in Sri Lanka (and based on other reviews, this did not bother other guests!)

I visited the Aman resort in Galle (Amangalle), which is supposed to be the best in the area. It is a different concept because it is inside the fort, but in my opinion the Fortress is much nicer and worth the 30 minute drive to Galle. The hotel has cars available-fully packed with blankets and pillows, water bottles, magazines and travel-guides.

The hotel also offers to prepare romantic private dining for 2 in the pool. This hotel is perfect for any special ocassion (or even if you just want to chill by the fool, like my friend and I)!!

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Leisurepax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2007

This hotel is completely fantastic.

The car transfer from Colombo was very long (5 hours) but the journey is worth it.


ROOMS
We started in a Ocean Room, which was a very good size. It had a massive bathroom (I swear you can fit 10 people in that shower), huge bath tub, high quality toiletries, etc.

The bed is also very large (super king size??) and comfy. There's a 37" LCD, small Bose sound system and video ipod (fully loaded with various types of music).

All fixtures and fittings were of a very high quality. Also there was a remote control for all the lights, which was a nice touch.

We then upgraded to a Beach Room. This is identical to an Ocean Room except it's ground floor, so has direct access to pool and beach and it also has a jacuzzi! Which was very, very nice.

After a couple of days we upgraded again to an Ocean Loft. These are twice the size of Ocean / Beach rooms with an upstairs downstairs. The bathroom is smaller (no bath / jacuzzi or twin vanity sinks) but this is made up for by the downstairs. The downstairs has a large sofa, cool lamp and rug another 37" TV, 5.1 Bose lifestyle system, another ipod and a heated plunge pool! It was very cool watching dvds from the pool.


FOOD
There's really only one restaurant. The menu is quite limited (same menu for lunch and dinner!), but the quality is very good. They also have a large wine selection (although we don't drink). We were there for a week and there were two special nights - BBQ and Sri Lankan on Thurs and Fri respectively.


POOL
Large pool(s) but they weren't heated. It rained for an hour or so every day so which didn't help. There are plenty of deck chairs and the service is excellent.


SERVICE
The service was excellent throughout. Very friendly, nothing was too much trouble, frequently asked if they could do anything for us.


STUFF WE DIDN'T LIKE
The transfer is very, very long by car.

The pricing on the food and excursions was not clear at all. The menu tells you there will be service and tax added to your bill but doesn't tell you what the %s are. Equally we went on an excusion and the tax / service / tickets (!!!) / jeep fee weren't mentioned. They did apologise for this and reduced their fee slightly.

There was very, very little to do in the evenings. The bar was nice (they had shisha), but there was only entertainment on Saturday. There are only a handful of English channels so we watched DVDs from their library.


OVERALL
Top hotel, great rooms, staff and beach, thoroughly recommend.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Faiz_S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2007

We've just come back from an eight-night stay at The Fortress (followed by a week at the Taj Exotica in the Maldives - review to come).

All I can say is that if anyone has been contemplating this hotel for their holiday in Sri Lanka, then don't hesitate in making a booking. I am glad to finally have been so I can share some information that might help people in deciding.
First of all, this hotel offers incredible value for money. The minimum rate at the time we booked was $510 per night, but this was brought down to $210 not long before we left. On the hotel's website they offer free nights also, and we took advantage of four free nights when we paid for four. B&B or HB rates can be negotiated with the hotel, and if you take the cheapest room, you will likely be upgraded.
We started our stay in an Ocan Room, which was fantastic. After two nights we were kindly upgraded to an Ocean Loft, but to be honest, I kind of preferred the Ocean Room. The loft is on two floors with a small pool downstairs and massive plasma TV, but we were mainly just in the upstairs bedroom part, and with the loft you miss out on the fab jacuzzi and twin sinks in the bathroom that the Ocean Room has. Fortress and Beach rooms are identical to the Ocean Room - only change is the view and the floor.

Room

The rooms are top notch. Big plasma TVs (although slightly disappointing range of TV channels), Nespresso coffee machine with free cartridges, selection of teas, wonderful bathroom amenities, super surround sounnd system with an iPod in each room containing any music you can think of, massive bed, brilliant pod bathtub jacuzzi with changing coloured lights. All the lighting is state of the art. Basically, the hotel offers you excellent quality rooms at a very decent price.

Pool

The website doesn't capture the size of the pool. It's huge, and the loungers are great. Poolside service great, with fruit kebabs, cold towels, ice cream being handed out during the day.

Activities

There is nothing to do at the hotel apart from lounge around by the pool listening to the sound of the ocean. But don't think that you'll be totally isolated. Unawatuna (a popular place for surfers etc. I believe) is only a ten minute tuk-tuk ride away ($3 return we paid a guy) and Galle, with some lovely hotels to go to for dinner is not far away either. You can take a day trip safari to Yala national park, visit the Fort at Galle, and do some other small trips from the hotel. Watersports not available at the hotel, but closeby at Unawatuna. DVD and book library providing free lending in the hotel. The bar area is nice in the evening for a cocktail.

Spa

We had a massage at the spa, which was great. I would say, however, that the spa is not on par with some of the hotels we have stayed in previously with similar spec. It was really nice, and the treatments great... just not totally taken with the surroundings - felt it could have had more of a wow factor. No slippers provided, or pre or post treatment beverage.

Food

The menu was greatly imporved the last day of our stay. Good selection to suit all tastes, with some very reasonably priced options. Beers are 300 Rp, which is about $3, so cheap enough. A dinner without wine will probably set you back about $50 for a couple, with a starter and main and some beers. Breakfast was great, although buffet not on every day (you can order whatever you want that was in the buffet).

Other

We had a truly magical stay at The Fortress. It was very quiet during our stay so we got a lot of attention, but the staff are really really great, and we found this to be lacking during our stay in the Maldives straight after Sri Lanka. The Maldives is a lot more about getting you to spend as much money as possible during our stay, whereas at The Fortress we found the guys great for a chat and a laugh, but equally discreet when you want privacy. The guys at reception were genuinele happy to offer us the room upgrade, and helped us out with loads of little things during our stay.

If you want action or loads of things to do, perhaps a long stay like ours isn't for you. If you are travelling around Sri Lanka and are passing by Galle, try to stay one or two nights and enjoy the hotel, the pool, and the lovely ocean view (you can't swim in the Ocean right by the hotel - the current is too strong). If, like us, you are looking for a relaxing luxury holiday, The Fortress is a winner. If you can afford it, take the seaplane from Colombo rather than a road transfer, as it took us the bones of five hours to get there after our 11-hour flight, which wasn't ideal.

You will love The Fortress. We did.

  • Stayed: May 2007, traveled as a couple
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25  Thank Voyager555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2007

New resort which still is not 100% when we were there, the staff were great though and helpful. Pool was fantastic overlooking the beach. Gardens still had some work to do as did a couple of other areas. Despite some minor issues during our stay we enjoyed it it is very modern compared to other places we stayed in Sri Lanka and look forward to staying again and seeing the resort finished.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank jetset07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: September 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank Serena_e_Filippo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Fortress Resort & Spa

Address: Route A2, Matara Road, Koggala 82104, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Price Range: $210 - $909 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Fortress Resort & Spa 5*
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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