Fort Bazaar

Galle Fort, Galle & Environs, Sri Lanka
Book from GBP Book from £200 per night

Fort Bazaar

Galle Fort, Galle & Environs, Sri Lanka

Fresh and contemporary hotel with a Moorish vibe and superb food, mere footsteps from Galle Fort’s historic sights

Fresh and contemporary hotel with a Moorish vibe and superb food, mere footsteps from Galle Fort’s historic sights

The Fort Bazaar Hotel sits in a historic heritage building much like others in the 17th-century Galle Fort, but the resemblances stop there. Light, modern and chic inside, it creates an ambiance that's entirely its own.

Drawing upon the Fort’s Moorish history, interiors have a distinctly Middle Eastern focus and feature eye-catching floor tiles, ethnic mosaic cushions and pendant lamps. The front of the hotel, home to a restaurant and bar, dates back over a century and is characterised by deeply recessed arches and a long verandah. Beyond, beautiful rooms flank a convivial flagstone patio whilst roomy suites are on an upper floor. At night, glass tea lights sprinkled among cushioned banquettes bring this bewitching courtyard magically to life, ambient music setting the scene.

The Church Street Social restaurant attracts day-trippers, locals and hotel guests alike. The luxurious spa, hidden around a corner near an ancient banyan tree, is perfect for post-sightseeing relaxation. And as for the unbeatable location: Galle Fort's sprinkling of museums, churches, temples, boutiques and cafés are literally steps away.

Highs

  • We loved the fresh individuality and stylish interiors; there's nothing else like it in Galle Fort
  • The restaurant is a buzzy, sociable place with great food and cocktails, plus it's air-conditioned, which we relished in Galle's heat
  • The lovely leafy courtyard bursts with colour, and has lots of seating areas for relaxing or dining in the open-air
  • Romantic yet family-friendly; a clever mix
  • Rates include breakfast, afternoon tea, and happy hour drinks, as well as a guided walking tour of Galle Fort

Lows

  • There's no pool
  • Expect some daytime road noise and busy comings and goings in front of the hotel
  • The restaurant and bar are open to the public, so they can get busy
  • Galle Fort closes down after around 9pm, so don't come expecting late nightlife

Best time to go

December to April are the driest months on the south coast, but this is the height of the tourist season so you'll need to book well in advance. May and June see plenty of showers but still have dry and sunny days; July and August are pleasant but the Indian Ocean is rough; October and November are generally very wet and humid. Availability may be limited during the annual January Galle Literary Festival.

Our top tips

Galle Fort is perfectly positioned for watching incredible sunsets. Head to Triton Bastion for the best views.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 18 rooms
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Complimentary afternoon tea
Room:

Rooms

All rooms and suites have Balinese four-poster beds, cable TV, coffee machines and contemporary Scandi-style furnishings. The Bazaar bedrooms flank either side of an alfresco courtyard and come with ensuite shower rooms. Those on the upper floor are a little more private. To the rear of the courtyard are the Banyan bedrooms, set at the back of the property around an age-old banyan tree. Their smaller interiors are compensated by tiled balconies or terraces. Some Bazaar and Banyan bedrooms can be interconnected with another bedroom to form the Family Suites.

We stayed in an Upper Suite, on the first floor of the hotel, opposite the library lounge. It was incredibly spacious and private, with a kingsize bed, a lounge beneath soaring lime-washed ceilings, a dressing area, and a beautiful ensuite bathroom with a rain shower and tub. Folding doors led onto a rooftop street-view balcony.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • In-room treatments available
  • Minibar
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

The Church Street Social's menu draws upon international dishes using sustainably sourced produce, plus there's a separate menu of Sri Lankan classics. You might choose Grilled Yellowfin Tuna, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Steak Frites, or big sharing platters. For lunch, there's a selection of soups, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. In-house guests can dine in the air-conditioned dining room, which is also open to the general public, or more privately in the courtyard. There is also a fully licensed bar and room service, which you call via a "Press for Champagne" button beside your bed - how glam!

A la carte breakfasts (fruit platters, toast, eggs, pancakes and hoppers) are included in the rate, as are afternoon teas and early-evening cocktails. Fort Bazaar is renowned for its G&Ts - and we can vouch for them! The waiters were very generous in ensuring that our glasses remained full throughout happy hour.

If you can tear yourself away, there are numerous restaurants in Galle Fort. We tried The Bungalow, where gorgeous curries are served in a romantic, candlelit courtyard. For other recommendations, just ask the staff at Fort Bazaar.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Kids' meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Wind up and down the Fort's café- and boutique-flanked lanes then end up on the ramparts for sunset. All guests get a complimentary guided walking tour of historic Galle Fort, which will give you a fascinating insight (book by 9pm the previous evening)
  • Take a cookery lesson from The Church Street Social's amazing chefs
  • Unwind in the Fort's Z Spa – a range of treatments are available
  • Treat yourself to gems from one of the Fort’s renowned jewellers, or try your hand at Sri Lankan mask making with a local artist
  • Explore the inland scenery on a guided bicycle tour, winding through the quietest back lanes. Or travel upriver by kayak
  • Enjoy a tea-tasting session in the Fort with Withered Leaves, or make for Tittigala where you can wander through a lowland tea plantation, take a tour of the factory and sample a cuppa
  • Take the train to Bentota to visit 2 magical gardens: Geoffrey Bawa’s expansive Lunuganga and his brother Bevis’ more low-key Brief

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Art classes
    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Private guided tours
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Snorkelling
    • Surfing
    • Traditional cultures
    • Whale watching

Kids

Families are warmly welcomed and there's various accommodation to suit. Travel cots are complimentary; there's a small surcharge for extra beds (2-12 year-olds).

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-bedroom Family Suites have interconnecting kingsize and twin bedrooms (shared shower bathroom). The Upper Family Suite has a kingsize bedroom and a mezzanine floor with twin beds in its living room so is ideal for older children (shared bathroom with separate tub and shower). A baby monitor will stretch from the restaurant to the Upper Suites.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

Babysitting:

On request.

Baby equipment:

  • Travel cots
  • High chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Kids' menu including pizza, pasta and other international options.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches
  • Walking around the ramparts
  • Watching local cricket matches

Families Should Know:

The hotel is set on a few different levels and outdoor space consists of a tiled courtyard and timber deck; there is no lawn or garden.

Distances:

  • Airport: 3 hours' drive (or a 25-minute air taxi from Colombo)
  • Shops: on the doorstep
  • Hospital: 2km (Hemas, a private hospital)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Fort Bazaar is set in Galle Fort in Galle, on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka.

By Air
Colombo Bandaranaike (147km away) is the closest international airport.

From the Airport
It takes about 3 hours by car to reach Galle from Colombo - the hotel can arrange transfers but many people catch the Sri Lankan Airlines air taxi service to nearby Koggala Lake instead; from here you can pick up a taxi to Galle.

Getting Around
Staff can arrange a tuk-tuk or a car with a driver for day trips.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike 147.0 km CMB

Other:

  • Beach 3.0 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for Fort Bazaar

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