Sri Lanka, Galle
Info : Fort Printers
Opened in 2006, this 18th century mansion has been lovingly restored to its former glory and given a modern and sophisticated edge. The mansion contains thirteen rooms and suites, all of which are unique in their design and layout.
The building itself has been used for many purposes in it's long history; Mahinda College (a successor to the Galle Buddhist Theosophical Society), The Bank of Ceylon and most recently a print house. The mansion traces it's origins to the Dutch period though substantial alterations were made under the British. Manager Warna is highly knowledgeable on the eclectic and layered history of the building and Galle Fort itself.
The suites are all gracefully furnished with polished wooden floors, silk curtains and velvet bedspreads. The character of the building has been artfully integrated into the modern aesthetic, with great attention given to utilising the natural light. Different shades define different spaces, be it light filtering through the antique wooden shutters or reflecting down from the rooftop windows. The overall design is a well-balanced fusion of modern and antique, with seductive and charming results.
Contemporary cushion sofas sit opposite traditional carved wooden furniture, discreetly brought to attention by the pristine white walls. The ground floor has been left largely open plan, with tall arches separating the grand living spaces. The drawing and dining rooms are interconnected and comfortably furnished. The open air courtyard at the rear of the property is home to a narrow swimming pool, more for cooling down and relaxing than for serious exercise, with the turquoise blue water calmly contrasting the yellow matte finish of the exterior walls.
The service is here is both highly personal and relaxingly informal - making the property feel like both a hotel and a villa. The food is also excellent, with Sri Lankan dishes and a Mediterranean inspired menu. Welcoming and homely, the Fort Printers is excellent value. Rooms can be booked individually or you can rent the entire mansion for a more private stay.
Listed on the Conde Nast Hotlist, the Fort Printers is the sister property to the excellent Frangipani Tree in nearby Thalpe.
Deluxe - This is our first really 'upmarket' category. It might be a beautiful tiny hotel with very limited facilities or a 5* resort hotel with all the trimmings; but any hotel in this category will be a well-run establishment with very comfortable rooms, a strong service ethos and excellent food.
This was an excellently organised, tailor-made trip. We stayed in friendly hotels in a number of different locations, including a mud house in the jungle, beside a lake and in the hills among the tea plantations. We had a wonderful guide/driver and visited some amazing temples, spectacular world heritage sites, lovely villages and ate delicious, freshly harvested and cooked local food. It was a fabulous holiday!