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“Overall, excellent but location doesn't live up to the hotel”
Review of Amangalla

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Amangalla
Ranked #9 of 24 Hotels in Galle
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 5, 2013

First, C and G had different opinions. C rated it 4 and G 5. We went with the higher rating in fairness to the hotel and because, overall, it was an excellent stay. As well we waited for awhile to see if our opinions changed - they didn't.

The hotel has been refurbished to a high standard throughout with large common areas decorated in a quasi-colonial feel; the rooms retain that feel and are spacious. Please note that we did not have TV - don't know if this is standard for all rooms. There was a large shower recess and a free-standing bath. There was a separate lounge area but not lounge, simply two chairs. Air-con and fans worked fine. Lighting was okay, if unduly fiddly. There is no elevator.

There is a good library with mags, books and historical documents relating to the Hotel. There is a spa area that can be booked with massages and Ayurvedic consultations by payment. The pool area is clean with comfortable gazebos.

Dining and drinking is quite good for quality and cost BUT, once again, the culinary aspirations of Sri Lankan hotels exceeds their delivery. The food was no better than a brasserie standard. This probably reflects the Hotel's predominantly english-speaking market. Breakfast had a good range of options, lunch was similar with the Ayurvedic lunch very tasty. Dinner was sensibly restricted to a couple of options but, as already noted, not particularly memorable. The drinks list was actually reasonably-priced and the local arrack was enjoyable.

Perhaps the highlight of the Hotel is the service. Staff were not just friendly, but genuine and we always felt they wanted to make our stay enjoyable. This is most likely attributable to the charming and effective management of the English manager, Olivia. Along with all guests We were fortunate to be invited to the annual celebration of the Hotel's opening which is for the staff and she showed in her interactions with her local staff that she has set a high standard for the Hotel. We felt welcomed and always "at home" - including cold face towels when we came back from a walk.

C's minor issues were: the Hotel is a wonderful building in an uninteresting location because Galle Fort is ( at least for me) dull. A lot of the area is being refurbished, shopping is predominantly jewellry stores and views are hardly spectacular. There are no beaches nearby and so walks aren't really interesting. Galle Town is not that exciting either. Clearly Amangalla is a resort but not in a really great location. Wi-fi is dreadful - I did a connectivity test and download speed was .11 mbps (Sri Lanka average 2.91 mbps ranked 138th by Netindex.com). We had internet speeds 3 to 8 times faster in Kandy and Colombo respectively. Given that we had no TV, getting internet news etc was a bit slow. Finally, given the cost of a room I really object to paying for breakfast - I would think that a standard brekkie of fruit, pastries and coffee for $10 wouldn't break the Amangalla profits.

Finally, the many additional local taxes made the bill much higher than we expected. It would be better to have an inclusive price as was done in the other places we stayed at.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ChrisandGardner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 1, 2013

If you're reading this review, you are probably trying to decide if the price is worth it. As a person who only ate at the restaurant and used the spa, I can definitely say YES. The Amangalla is a jewel of a property, situated in one of the most interesting places we've ever been.

Every. Single. Detail of this place is perfection. The flatware is silver. The furnishings are antiques. The lighting is custom designed perfection.

My husband and I went to Sri Lanka for Vesak Day, coming from Singapore. We stayed in Unawatuna to be near the beach, and it was a very nice stay and barely a 10 minute tuk-tuk from Amangalla. However, on our second night, we went to Amangalla for dinner, and we fell in love. We happened to meet the manager, Pietro, who is a goldmine of information. He was kind enough to indulge us on the details about the furniture, prices, and give spa recommendations. We really enjoyed our chat with him. It's clear that he is a true professional, as the service, cleanliness, decor and every other aspect of Amangalla is beyond reproach. Pietro, cheers to you for the great job you do.

For dinner, we ordered the Sri Lankan Rice and Curry, and split it. It was so beautifully presented, with maybe 10 different types of curries, pickles and chutneys on display. Our server plated it up for us in a very professional manner. Meanwhile, the Vesak Day lantern that the staff had built was being lit for display. They did a marvelous job. This was the nicest lantern we saw in all of Sri Lanka. You could tell they put a lot of care into this project.

We fell so in love with our meal, the service and the ambiance that we booked a spa treatment for the next day. And on top of that, the food was so good, we came early and had breakfast before our spa treatment! Hoppers and curry!!! This was the best day ever. The baths at the Amangalla are a really indulgent, lovely experience. The towels are huge and soft. The shampoos are beautiful. The slippers are nice. The steam room is not too hot--just right. And the massage therapist were TOPS. We both ordered the 90m Amangalla massage and it was money well spent. They asked us questions in advance regarding what type of pressure we wanted, and where we were hurting most. Afterwards, we got cleaned up and dressed and went out sightseeing around Galle.

We are so thankful to the Amangalla for enhancing our Sri Lanka experience by offering their restaurant and spa to us to use. If you can swing it, definitely stay here. We're saving our pennies so that we can stay here next time. If the restaurant and spa are this good, we can only dream about the rooms!

Enjoy!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank DallasFlysolofemme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2013

Galle is supposed to be one of the must sees in Sri Lanka. We came here for a day trip and had tea in this lovely hotel. The service and the food is very well appointed. We sit at the terrace close to the entrance. The breeze is really nice in the afternoon. We must stay here next time when we visit Sri Lanka again.

Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Huang C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

We did not stay here but popped in for afternoon tea on the veranda whilst exploring Galle Old Town Fort. The staff were very attentive and professional. The tea and scones with whipped cream and strawberry jam was excellent. The toilets were immaculate. Very relaxing, cooling and refreshing experience.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank G07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

A beautiful complement to Amanwella where after two days of beach, we experienced a further two days in a historic hotel within a historic fort. We did a whale watching trip en route and had a lovely picnic hamper organised by the Aman resorts to keep our stomachs full (fortunate for us we got to see a blue whale as well as several dolphins).

After arriving at the hotel, we were shown around a lovely property which was very peaceful from the buzzing town of Galle. The hotel sent you back several decades but yet had the modern necessities to make your stay comfortable.

Please do read my review on Amangalla as all the plus points still applied.

I would say the only downfall was probably the spa which in all honesty wasn't bad, but just no way as good as the one at Amanwella. There was some noise which made it less relaxing.

After our experience with Aman, we certainly look forward to the next Aman resort we will visit.

Apart from the hotel, the fort is a lovely place just to walk around and take in all it has to offer along with the views. Our personal advice, once in Aman, don't leave Aman - outside the hotel, a lot of people try to sell us on various things and try to take us to various markets / etc. Best to pay a little more at the fort itself and enjoy the resort and its' surroundings.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SMehta79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

At the highest point of the fort stands the venerable former "New Oriental" hotel. A successful conversion by Aman and a place of great beauty and historic charm.

Managed with an iron hand by a very senior Aman manager (who now left to open overpriced Aman Venice) this place is an absolute must go in Galle.

The rooms are minimalist comfortable with those in the main building having views on the lively scene near the old Dutch church. Service is gracious and unobstrusive with a personal butler assigned to each room.

The pool area is hidden in the garden and the water surface is large enough for serious swimming. There is also a small F&B facility at the pool, the main restaurant being in the historical "Zaal" and the verandah.

Privacy can be an issue with poorly dressed and even more poorly behaving outsiders claiming the best spaces in the "Zaal" and the verandah despite no signs indicating a hotel. Access control has been improved over the years tough.

Make sure to visist the spa where there are two completely private steam/jacuzzi complex, "The Bath", which you can book free of charge. They come with candles and the whole romance.

You may also wish to go on the Geoffrey Bawa excursion tailored by the GM herself which will take you by train to Bentota and then on the tracks of this great architect.

Room Tip: Choose a room in the main house for the lively views but be prepared for some noise. To be quiet sta...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank behuman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2013

Step back in time at Amangalla, this grand old lady of Galle Fort. With its historic background and beautiful refit it surely is the jewel in the crown. From the moment you arrive to when its sadly time to depart you are surrounded by a peaceful old world ambience. The rooms and common areas are spacious and elegantly furnished with dutch colonial antiques, many retained from the original hotel. Take time to wander the corridors with it original artwork and photographs depicting "those days" to have a sense of what life was like in her early years.

My days were spent slowly wandering the along the rampant walls, riding one of the hotel push bikes through the cobbled streets, high tea on the verandah. Gin and tonic watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean (I cheated it was usually a mojito). With lots of pool time in between. Surrounded by the scent of frangipanis, the morning bird calls and the occasional monkey swinging through the trees.

A special thank you to the managers Pietro and Kavita who are both warm and welcoming, making me immediately feel part of the Aman family. Their staff are also kind and caring. The service is discreet but attentive, the food created by chef Jonathan was outstanding. The early morning Yoga classes with Eva invigorating. Front Office Danika always smiling and helpful.

Thank you Amangalla for a rare glimpse into the past.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank mandy05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amangalla

Address: 10 Church Street | Inside the Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Galle
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Galle
#4 Family Hotel in Galle
#6 Spa Hotel in Galle
#7 Luxury Hotel in Galle
Price Range: $647 - $1,160 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Amangalla 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the historic port of Galle, Amangalla sits within the ramparts of the 17th-century Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Named after the Sanskrit word for 'peace' and galla, the Sinhalese word for the town of Galle, the resort reveals the Fort's daily activities and its rich legacy. Offering views of the resort's 200-year-old gardens and of the Fort and harbour beyond, Amangalla provides for the leisurely exploration of this historic trading port and the surrounding countryside. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amangalla Hotel Galle

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