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“Dissapointing”

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The Fortress Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 28, 2008

Sadly like a few other 'high' end hotels in Sri Lanka they think the addition of Bose speakers and a large bathroom is justification enough for the fairly steep prices they end up charging. This was the case with The Fortress.

The whole concept of what makes a really good hotel excellent seemed to be lost at The Fortress amongst an array of high tech light switches, stained throw cushions and worn in-room printed material.

Service was friendly but inexperienced. Attention to detail from scrappy overused menus with pages missing, average room amenities that were not replenished and searching for staff when you needed made this beautiful setting neither worth its star rating nor price tag.
The high tech gadgetry in the rooms was impressive with a great espresso coffee machine and good music system, however; there were gowns but no slippers, no information on the area or what was available at the hotel and no price list for the mini bar – all standard items in most decent hotels.

As one would expect with a sea side property a high level of maintenance is required, and the leaf collectors aside, minimal maintenance had been conducted to combat the encroaching rust and general deterioration.

The $85 price tag on the lukewarm, over cooked seafood with its distinguishable floury texture of having been frozen was disappointing especially when over half was sent back. The chef kindly came to ask us the problem which even he seemed to see our point - yet no one bothered to enquire if we wanted to try something else nor were we offered an apology.

On the plus side the pool was lovely, the setting stunning and the spa and services excellent.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Jane_MikePerth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,315 - 1,321 of 1,516 reviews

Reviewed August 27, 2008

I have recently stayed at the Fortress and wished I hadn't. The hotel itself is beautiful, the rooms are massive and tastefully furnished. The staff are lovely and willing to help. The food generally is ok but they need to vary the menu.

The downside of this hotel ,and it is my opinion only.

The main pool which overlooks the ocean is deep all the length of one side and shallow on the other. If you wish to get out of the pool in the deep area there are no steps out. I am small and found it dificult to do so. Again the bath tub is huge, but once in it getting out is a challenge. However my main concern is the flooring within the hotel lobby.
Because of the location of the hotel, the ocean spray is contantly rolling in. The floors are constantly wet as is the staircase. Care needs to be taken in all areas of the hotel. I had an accident and fell. So be warned.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with friends
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9  Thank forgetmeknot21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2008

The Fortress is not exactly in Galle (its in a village about 10 mins outside of this) but its an easy tuk tuk journey away. The hotel sort of appeared from nowhere in amongst other smaller hotels, shops etc and looked every bit the fortress.

From the moment we walked into this hotel we were made to feel at home and very welcome. We'd just had an 11 hour flight from the UK, a 4 hour car journey from Colombo and the staff took our bags gave us some complimentary drinks which put us in a relaxed mode from the beginning.

Day or night this place looks and feels fantastic. One day we decided to be a bit lazy and had a 2 and a half hour spa treatment. This was fantastic and cost about the same as 20 mins at home! I would highly recommend trying out their complimentary 15 mins massage as you will go back for more.

We had planned to head to Kandy for the last couple of days of our stay and had become so relaxed at the Fortress we were loathe to leave.

It is such a romantic place that my other half decided to propose to me here rather than wait until the end of the holiday. The staff had helped him set up the tea loft with champagne, music etc and at night, after dinner, he proposed overlooking the beautifully lit pool and the Indian Ocean.

We booked our entire trip using Boutique Sri Lanka and would highly recommend them to anyone else thinking of heading out there. They arranged drivers, hotels and flights for us and were only too happy to help whenever we needed something whilst in Sri Lanka. They have all visited the hotels/excursions they recommend so you're not speaking to someone who has no idea of what they are talking about.

Overall a beautiful hotel, extremely friendly, efficient and helpful staff and the most romantic setting.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank LisaB56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2008

The Fortress Hotel is a well above any other hotel in the galle area. Only a few hotels such as Aditya,Lighthouse,saman villas , taru villas may even come close or some boutique hotels .

Greeting
we were greeted at the HUGE fortress gate by friendly smiling staff who parked our car for free and took our bags. friendly staff genuinly asked about our trip and then iced tea and cold clove infused towels were given to us.
Check in is in your room where a personal letter from the manager awaits.
your attendent then gives you a tour of the impressive room.

ROOM
This is the biggest hotel room i have ever stayed in. high ceilings and an open floor plan. the bathroom is big like a living room.
there is a long corridor leading to a huge king size bed(in all rooms) with all perfect bedding,and soft pillows galore.the bed is truly a dream i would say even a step above the famous sheraton beds.
Big screen plasma tv ,BOSE sound system throughout the room and IPOD with the whole of ITUNES stored in it , so choice of music is limitless. There is a DVD library on the premises.
bathroom is huge with absolutely modern fittings ,shower for 2 people,2 sinks set a part from each other, and whimsical bath.
also has a large storage shelf for wet suits and towels.

expresso pod machine - very cool!
free smoked salmon appetiser and water bottle come with the rom as well as a small milk carton.
FREE 15 MINUTE MASSAGE comes with the room

POOL
this hotel has 49 rooms and is a beautiful grounds, teh service is very personalised . The beautiful infinity pool is the centre piece of this hotel. It overlooks the beautiful Indian ocean. there is Beaches galore but some days not suitabel to swim- teh staff will tell you and watch over you if you happen to go to beach area.they are very protective of teh guests.

RESTAURANTS
there are restaurants serving a wide range of meals and they say you can request anything even that is not on the menu. Srilankan food is very very good here .teh ingredients are fresh and the bread housemade.THE WORLDS MOST EXPENSIVE DESSERT CAN BE FOUND AT THE FORTRESS FOR $14,000 AND COMES WITH A HUGE GEM.
buffet breakfast is a treat. here are just a few of the items. types of home made breads.bagels
Danish, banana bread, muffins, scones, 7 types of homemade jams including passion fruit jam which is awesome. all teh cereals you will want, avacado juice,woodapple juice, orange, apple juice.
baked beans , eggs done any way, cold meats cheeses,
srilankan milk rice, seafood curry , lentil curry, vegetable curry, onion sambols,coconut sambols roti, hoppers (an SL delight) jaggery, every fruit you ever thought of .

you get a personal tour of the property and some of the deluxe rooms are stunning with modern hi tech fittings, pool in the rooms and every comfort you desire.

you can choose to dine anywhere on the property, the staff only wants to keep you happy.
Call teh hotel directly to get better pricing,
Spa services are excellent and they have indonesian masseuse s working there.
this property is managed by world famous hotel chain Por aquam that has the stunning hotel in Dubai as well.
it is well above the other hotels down south in Srilanka. it takes 4 hours to reach from Colombo but well worth the trip.
For once i had nothing negative i could think of. except maybe beware of the squirrels!

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank hrhsan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2008

My girlfriend and I were at the Fortress for 10 nights from the 29th - 9th July 2008. Below is taken from an email I sent to friends whilst there - and loving it!

The beach is sandy - very (no stones), and stretches for miles into the distance. Scattered Sri Lankan fisherman are selectively placed along the stretch, and at the present time appear pretty focused on their trade. There are also a few choice sellers who try and sell you, from what we've seen, hand carved boats/elephants, and hunked off bits of aloe vera plant that we are both sure we spotted earlier in the hotels herb garden! Apart from those two occupations there seems little else other than hermit crabs rooted into coconut shells, who apparently don't like being rolled over or picked up. The hotel has a big wall at its rear on the ocean side to stop being bothered by the occassional seller, so you are still able to lie on the sun lounger and look out to the sea without the view being disturbed.

The hotel itself is, simple, boutique, luxury. It's a large white structure inside, that is accessed by the main front double gate - a massive piece of workmanship that stops any invaders or local sellers. The whole hotel is one building with a long rectangular inner courtyard, two storeys high. The pools are to the ocean side, and are infinity by nature so one can bask the day away looking out to the sea.

The whole hotel really is something else. When we arrived at the main gate, about 7:45pm (after our flight and long 4 hour taxi journey), we were greeted by 4 immaculately dressed porters, with the immortal words - "Good evening Sir and Madame, we've been expecting you!" A giant bell was donged and we were ushered through the main lobby to sit ourselves down with complementary cocktails and cold towels. Once we'd finished our drinks we were led upstairs to our room, where our bags were waiting for us in the wardrobe. To get the "coolness" of this room, is simple...for one to have to have the room "explained" after being in it for 5 minutes is fascinating - and yet so necessary!

The room (an Ocean Room in our case) is a split level hardwood-floored haven. Immediately upon entering is the giant open-plan-esq bathroom with 2 sinks either end. Massive double headed rainfall shower and a pristine white bath - that can only be described as 3/4 of an egg, laying on its side that could so easily sail away. The ceiling is high vaulted, and the bed is easily 7ft square. The lounge area features a very comfy day bed and mini-bar, there is a very large plasma tv and Bose sound system with Ipod - just like it said! The coolest thing though has to be the wireless remote that operates all the lights, and phone that has my name on it!!!

The sun loungers are very comfy with their built-in pillow, and the food is good, in fact the food is delicious. We had fish and chips in the room on our first night as it was late, and it arrived in 3 separate trays with various sauces, warm rolls and smoked salmon ordeuves. Breakfast is a similar affair, honey straight from the honeycomb, a wide range of both western and local, and ready-to-make omelettes, pancakes, waffles and scrambled eggs etc. Every time one leaves the table, plates are removed, cutlery reset and napkins refolded to once again be laid down by the waiter. Dinner we found equally as delicious with the chocolate tart and pineapple wrapped in a banana leaf being particular favourites.

The staff are incredibly friendly, and will do anything they can. This being the case you don't phone up a particular service you need, you dial * and a person sorts it for you - fantastic! We asked a member of staff to show us round. He showed us everything...the spa, the shops (one Jewellery and one living) and also different grades of room - including the presidential suite, which was just mindblowing with a tv, rooftop jacuzzi and unbelievable bath. This is not a massive hotel, there are only 49 rooms, but it really is perfect. Nothing is too far, the service is fast, and it is absolutely silent - apart from the crashing waves!

There is so many good things to say about the Fortress, but particular highlights include:
- Complimentary massages to relieve aches and pains of the trip there.
- The chipmunks that run around near the restaurant - they're really quite friendly!
- The DVD and Book library to loan out some of the latest films.

We both certainly recommend the Fortress, and really can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank bluelagoonster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2008

We stayed at the Fortress Hotel from 24/05/08 to 1/6/08 and had the most wonderful time. Although we had a 4+ hour car transfer on a Saturday morning, once we had passed through Colombo the journey was very pleasant. The road generally follows the coastline for most of the way and at times the railway line runs parallel.

The Fortress is a modern boutique hotel with an open plan design - there is no need to elaborate on the bedrooms etc because this topic has already been covered by earlier messages, but we would like to say that this was one of our best holidays and it was made very special by every member of the hotel staff. Their willingness, friendliness, attention to detail, happiness, respect and most importantly their smiles were all unforgettable - if only we could have brought some of this hospitality home in a spare suitcase!!

We visited Galle and were taken in a tuk tuk there by Sudath - he is usually on the beach close to the hotel and is a very humble Sri Lankan guy. First of all he took us to the Spice Garden and then to a small turtle hatchery which is family run. It cost us about £2 entrance fee but was well worth the visit. To be able to hold the day old turtles was unforgettable and we willingly gave some extra money when we left. Sudath then took us to Galle and showed us around the Fort, then he left us to shop in the town for a couple of hours, before driving back to the peace and tranquility of the Fortress.

Although the cost of food and drinks at the Fortress is expensive for Sri Lanka - we spent almost £400 on dinner and drinks for 8 nights - but the whole experience was worth it.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank twotravellers007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2008

I must admit, this hotel had the 'wow' factor for me. Despite being nearly a 5 hour drive from the airport it was worth it when we arrived.

The hotel was clean and the service excellent. It is the sort of place where the staff keep a discrete low profile, but are available when needed. It actually felt like the place was more like your luxury home than a hotel full of staff.

The room we had was large with its own balcony to the side.

We only stayed there for 3 nights which I think was about right. Any more and the food might possibly become a bit limiting as mentioned by others who stayed longer although the restaurant food served was excellent.

The settings are magnificent, although don't be fooled into thinking it is close to Galle. It is in the middle of nowhere and if you are intending to explore you will need transport. Whether that be a pre-arranged driver or a bargained tuk tuk outside the gates.

That said out of all the touring around Sri Lanka we did (on the standard Aitken Spence tours) this was far and above the best hotel on the island for me

I travel a fair bit and this rates as one of my top two hotels in the world so far for 'wow' factor.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank PushkinLondon
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: $249 - $1,517 (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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