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“Fortress falls short of what it aspires to be”
Review of The Fortress

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The Fortress
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Fortress falls short of what it aspires to be”
Reviewed January 29, 2008

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.

  • Liked — The pool
  • Disliked — The lack of dining options
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5 Thank BabsP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Nha Trang, Vietnam
Level Contributor
273 reviews
88 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 226 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2008

What a wow factor when you pull up at the hotel after the awful airport transfer.

Stayed January 2008 for a week in Sri Lanka. We couldn’t decide between the Lighthouse and Fortress and split the holiday between the two and I’m glad that we did even though the Fortress was definitely the luxe option. First of all the transfer to the resort at night was only 3 hours but going back during the day was 5 hours, be aware of this as we had to race through the airport. Luckily the Sri Lankan airport is as relaxed as the rest of the country.

Beds are AMAZING, so huge and soft and the rain shower is fabulous beyond belief

However the room lightening is computerised and so confusing. There is no literature in the room about the hotel restaurant times/pool/ local area just an instruction to dial 0 should you need anything. Which I did once for extra clothes hangers and they were delivered instantly.

You must book an ocean view room. We got a glimpse of the other rooms and your view is basically a concrete wall which means you get no natural daylight.

The ocean is too rough to swim in but is okay for a paddle

Yes there is only one restaurant but it seamlessly blends from breakfast buffet to lunch to afternoon tea to fine dining, the food is always good but be aware it is very, very slow.

After visiting India where they openly ask for tips I wasn’t sure on the tipping policy here. After reading other trip advisor comments, I wish I had tipped more.

As with other reviews, praise to Jin on the front desk who treats every guest as if they are the only one in the hotel

The sea planes have been cancelled the helicopter transfers are now asking astronomical price, USD$4800 for a two person, 2 bag trip.

Expensive gift shop, but free library and DVD loan

Free internet access 24/7 but there is only one terminal

Spa is expensive with nice but not amazing treatments

It will not disappoint

  • Liked — rain shower
  • Disliked — slow service
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4 Thank _cornishpixie7_mk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leitrim, Ireland
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2008

We spent 2 weeks in The Fortress in Sept 2007...We booked our trip through Boutique Sri Lanka who we have to say were incredibly helpful with organising our perfect holiday. Both having highly demanding jobs we decided that we needed nothing more than absolute relaxation & pampering for a couple of weeks. And this hotel more than met our expectations.
After the 10hr flight & 3-hour journey to the hotel (we travelled late at nite) we recieved the warmest of welcomes from the local Sri Lankan staff who whisked us off straight away to our room. We had booked an Ocean Room (well worth the few pounds extra for the beautiful view) and on stepping inside were greeted with a large, airy and extremely well appointed room. The 7ft bed was fantastic! I am rather picky when it comes to cleanliness but i have to say our room was always immaculate. Oh i must advise, always take the Turn-down service in the evenings to save you from any evil mosquitos! The pre-loaded i-Pod we thought was a great idea and the enormous glass rainfall shower was just wonderful!
The pool scene really was terrific. We went during low-season so were only ever one of about 5 or 6 couples around the pool. With the enormous split-level pool, the beautifully manicured gardens & the stunning views of the Indian Ocean, we never wanted to leave! Also i must mention that while some people say that the hotel has no beach there is in fact gorgeous white sandy beach either side of the hotel, literally 20 steps away! We spent lots of time collecting shells, sunbathing and watching the stilt fisherman - who i have to say are quite amazing to watch and so friendly! (They might try and coax you to come and have a go although i didn't think hauling my size 12/14 figure onto one of the tiny stilts was a very good idea!) You may also meet the odd local on the beach selling things (little turtles or elephants crafted from coconut shells etc.) These people have really suffered due to the blow to the tourism industry since 2004 so do try to buy something from them and they will be extremely grateful. The sea was sometimes a little choppy when we were there (monsoon season) but it does apparently calm down during high season. Not sure if it is safe for swimming though we did have a paddle. For our last 3 days we were upgraded to an Ocean Loft (a one of a kind room on two levels with a plunge pool & an enormous living room.)
The food was fantastic. Breakfast every morning was a real treat, we had never seen a spread like it! Omelettes etc cooked there and then for you, lots of different pasteries and exotic fruits and a selection of yummy curries to really set you up for theday! The restaurants provide a really diverse variety of food that everyone will like - do try the Black pork curry though!
We also enjoyed an afternoon in the Lime Spa which was lovely. The hotel also provide transfers into Galle. There are a couple of very good jewellers in Galle who provide a huge choice at a lower price than the jewellers in the hotel.
The staff really do provide an unparalleled service. They are the most genuine, friendly people you could possibly meet & nothing is too much trouble. I think we could learn alot from them about customer relations! We got to know some of the staff very well during our stay & it was heart-breaking to hear some of their recollections from the Tsunami back in 2004 which had a huge impact on the area and its people. We were happy that we were bringing some business their way as they desperately need to rebuild their tourism industry. A special thanks to all the staff, especially the two bar men who kept the bar open for just us until 2 or 3 in the morning and provided us with endless hours of entertainment and fun! Oooh and DO try their Bullfrog cocktail - its a must! On our second to last night they arranged a beautiful candlelit 5-course meal (created especially for us by the restaurant manager-thanks so much!) out in the gardens. When we returned to our room, they'd lit candles everywhere and turned on the heating in our plunge pool. This really was something we will never forget! It was a perfect end to a perfect holiday! This hotel is of 5* quality, with 5* star service without the up-tight and sometimes conceited attitudes sometimes found in such hotels. What can we say...Heaven On Earth!

  • Liked — Wonderful service, stunning location, beautiful hotel...
  • Disliked — A bit far away from airport & main town
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
11 Thank chesterstreet2a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Fortress

Property: The Fortress
Address: Route A2, Matara Road, Koggala 82104, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Koggala
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 (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Fortress 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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