“An attractive and peaceful small hotel with a popular restaurant, in the heart of Galle's Old Fort”
Rooms are divided between Fortaleza, Middle St and No.1 Court Square (all within a few doors of each other). Expect dark wooden floors, handmade beds draped with mosquito nets and an eclectic mix of authentic colonial fans alongside modern art and photography. Travel guides and fresh flowers give a classy feel, and everything is very clean and well looked after. Bathrooms are small but perfectly formed, with great showers and nice toiletries.
We stayed in Fortaleza’s large Master Bedroom, which had a beautiful carved wooden sofa and a daybed - useful for friends travelling together as all beds are doubles. Although it overlooked the street, Galle is very quiet at night and the whir of the air-conditioning meant we didn’t hear a thing. Bed linens were especially nice, with soft new sheets and lots of pillows.
Library Room is just a bit smaller, but it’s flooded with light during the day, thanks to a huge circular window. Turquoise Rooms are downstairs and quite a bit smaller, looking onto the restaurant terrace. Some say they feels a bit claustrophobic but this is reflected in the price.
Middle Streetis another 17th-century Dutch house, this time transformed into a chic, contemporary retreat. Added in 2015, we’re yet to personally view it, but guest rooms have a slightly more polished look, with indulgent bathrooms and enormous windows gazing over the interior terraces, gardens and lounges.
No.1 Court Square, a self-contained one-bedroom apartment, is newer still and overlooks Magistrates Square. Offering a more independent experience, this space spans two floors and includes a balcony, kitchenette and lounge.
Breakfast is served in Fortaleza or Middle Street, depending on which building you’re staying in. Choose from eggs any way (try the coddled eggs with spinach), toast and fruit, delicious coffee. Fortaleza’s restaurant is then open for the rest of the day for lunch and dinner; it's a popular spot with locals and travellers, and just a minute’s walk from Middle Street.
Everything we ate was delicious. Essentially Liam and Natalie thought about what they’d like to cook, and made that their key criteria in choosing the menu. We thoroughly enjoyed chicken liver pate with toast, pickles and tomato chilli jam, followed by prawn fajitas with tomato and coriander salsa, then banoffee pie for dessert. The wine list is short and simple but does the trick, and the vibe is lovely and relaxed.
There are lots of other restaurants in Galle, ranging from hole-in-the-wall noodles at Wok on the Wild Side on Pedlar Street (a great spot for lunch on the go) to old-school colonial grandeur at the immaculate Galle Fort Hotel. The homemade ice creams at Pedlars’ Inn Cafe are not to be missed. Sublime.
Fortaleza is an adults-only hotel, but Middle Street is suitable for all ages.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Middle St is suitable for all, though families with babies will have to bring their own baby cots. The Superior King Room has the option of adding 4 single beds via an adjoining kids' room. There's also a Twin Room.