We booked 4 nights at the Fortress as the high point on which to finish our tour of Sri Lanka. It had been highly recommended by our tour operator as being the perfect place to enjoy the beach, New Year and some pampering before flying home.
We arrived mid-morning, first impressions of our room were good – its size, Bose stereo, IPod, coffee maker, the bathroom and the view etc. We headed straight for the pool – a beautiful rim flow pool and a view to match, but…….. no free loungers. The hotel was full (42 rooms) and we counted 40 loungers! After dithering and showing little interest, the management did acquire a couple (one from the spa!). A fairly basic requirement in a ‘top end’ beach hotel, surely? Fortunately the ‘Pool Boys’ made sure two were reserved for us on subsequent mornings. After 3 days, 15 extra loungers were acquired from somewhere!
There is just one restaurant – with the same 2 menus being served every day - all day and all evening, so no ‘fine dining’ option (unless you count the OTT glass room), in fact no other option at all. Whilst the food was OK, we did have to send it back once after it arrived cold. Breakfast on our first morning was a shambles – hot and cold buffet mixed up together, the poached eggs pre-cooked and put in hot water to heat up when ordered, the cereal area was very messy – but it did get better. Every night we were there, a live jazz band played, OK to start with – but the same band then played the same music in the same order for all 4 nights!
There was a total lack of information in the room. No details about the area, advice on what to see or things to do – apart from trips offered by the hotel. A strange thing - the in-room wine list had cheaper prices than the same wine in the restaurant! On New Years Eve we happened to find out by word of mouth that there was a champagne reception from 7 – 8 pm, followed by a buffet, music and fireworks. It turned out to be an ‘OK’ sort of evening – costing $175 each!
The level of service came nowhere near that we had experienced elsewhere in Sri Lanka. The 2 ‘boys’ looking after the pool were excellent – did all they could to help and were very welcoming and friendly. The rest of the staff were a bit hit and miss – some were quite attentive, others not so. The Restaurant Manager did his best – mainly, I think, because we had complained. The Duty Manager seemed uninterested, the General Manager seemed to be doing his best, but when we chatted with him before we left, even he seemed a bit disillusioned with the place.
Our room proved to be only OK – fantastic bed and bedding, coffee machine etc, but considering it was less than a year old, the room already seemed scuffed and tired. A tip on getting the right room – many of the rooms are over the restaurant – so if you don’t like being kept awake late or you object to being woken early, ask for one at the other end of the hotel.
The Fortress was not what we had hoped for – it couldn’t seem to cope with being full and there are too many shortcomings to make it the top end hotel that it likes to market itself as. We would not choose to stay there again.
- 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