I have stayed at The Closenberg twice. The first time was in 1986, and the place inhabited my dreams for more than two decades thereafter. It is a riot of mahogany and ceiling fans. It is also an extremely welcoming, family-run hotel. It is not comparable with the most expensive hotels in Galle in terms modern gizmos, t.v's and phones in the room, access to high-speed internet, and so on. But it does have couple of very nice touches: There are no t.v's in the rooms (which is wonderful, and more than compensates for having no t.v. in the room) and there are no phones in the rooms (which also wonderful, and more than compensates for having no phone in the room). Those things were true in january 2008. I hope they are still true. I believe they have added Wi-Fi since I was there.
I don't know whether the staff is unhelpful, or less helpful, to guests who treat them disrespectfully, or who simply talk down to them, but my own experience with the employees was the exact opposite of that described by the guy who advised people not to stay there. I have no idea how he or they treated the hotel staff, but the behavior he describes is distinctly out of character. As for his advice that you "take pictures, and run!" because there are better hotels in Galle, allow me to give you the run-down. The two "better hotels" in town are better in some ways -- five stars rather than three; room rates about 50% higher than The Closenberg; many more "mod cons" such as phones and t.v's in the rooms; and a swimming pool. But IMHO neither has anywhere near the charm of The Closenberg. Otherwise, there are some seriously expensive boutique hotels inland within a few miles, and a slew of cheaper hotels in a variety of very old buildings inside The Fort. I know all these places, and I choose to stay at The Closenberg.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Closenberg was built by Captain Bayley in 1860 on top of a peninsula overlooking Galle harbor and the Indian Ocean. Since 1889 it belongs to the Perera Abeyewardene family and is today preserved as a heritage hotel. Large spacious halls, long verandas adorned with antique furniture and terraced gardens are in keeping with Dutch architecture. High ceilings resting on tall round columns and large louvered Teak doors set in arched doorways permit the flow of cool air. Alongside an experience of Sri Lanka's rich colonial past, we offer our guest a welcoming atmosphere, fine dining and an unparalleled view. Closenberg Hotel unique features are: The best location at the middle of Galle Harbor, Uninterrupted seaview from all our rooms, Direct access to beautiful sandy beach ideal and safe for surfing and swimming in all seasons, The unique and timeless elegance of an old Sri Lankan Heritage Hotel often copied but so hard to achieve, A sophisticated blend of service, tradition and cultural experiences Luna Terrace Bar Lounge is the funky trendy place to go and be seen in Galle. Great selection of cocktails, top brand spirits, tapas and fine cafe food. The new infinity pool overlooking the surf of Magalle Bay is a "must have experienced". Closenberg is the ideal gateway for enjoying the beauty of Southern Sri Lanka! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Closenberg Hotel Galle