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“Superb, can't wait to come back”
Review of The Fortress

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The Fortress
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Certificate of Excellence
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Superb, can't wait to come back”
Reviewed 13 April 2014 via mobile

A truly superb hotel. Location is to die for, the food is delicious and the suite is stunning. Had two great treatments at the spa, possibly the best facial I have had. Am already planning our return trip.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Emrogers11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (431)
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English first
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2014

Stayed here for 3 nights with my family (including 2 young boys) and a group of friends. Friendly and efficient staff, great pool area, spacious and comfortable rooms and lovely breakfast. Priced at a premium, but certainly treat their guests well! I won't stay at any other hotel in Galle again.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Priyan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
northampton
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2014

When we pulled up on the road outside the hotel it looks like you are arriving at a prison or something similar,high walls and not very inviting,but when they open the huge wooden gates,well it is all wow,wow,wow,simply stunning,you are looking through the lobby area over the pool area and out to the sea,the grounds are immaculate and the view of the crashing waves is to die for.
We had booked 2 nights here as part of our 11 day tour,but when we were shown our sea view room on the second floor we knew that our private driver was going to get a bit more time to himself than he expected,we did not want to leave to go outside on trips,although we did end up have an extremely early morning trip the next day to go whale watching which itself was brilliant fun
The two dinners we had at the hotel were both excellent,one was a barbecue buffet,and the other was ala carte.This hotel was the most expensive one on our trip but it was worth it just to experience the setting.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank alekos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tampa, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2014

The Fortress is a difficult hotel to review because it is easy to fall in love with the amazing setting of the place. The building itself with its high walls is a welcome reprieve from the busy-ness of the coastal road between Galle and Matara. Once we entered the gates of the hotel, we did not leave again until it was time to move on to another town. This was always our intention as we were headed to Galle for a few days of sightseeing after we left The Fortress.

Check-in was relaxed and helpful, although the tour through the hotel shops was a bit much. The public spaces of the property are well-maintained, although our room (25) looked a bit worn. You could tell that this hotel must have had a real wow factor when it first opened several years ago, but it seems the rooms are ready for a facelift. Everything from lighting to music to the TV is very hi-tech, and the room is very comfortable. Our balcony looked out onto a wall, but we spent most of our time out by the pool, so we were not bothered.

Like the rooms, the pool is ready for a bit of an upgrade. It is still really nice, but you notice the tile work along the edges is a bit tired. But the location of the pool and the fact that it was not very busy while we were there made it our favorite spot. We literally spent our entire days reading and watching the waves...it was fantastic.

The service at the hotel was very uneven. Some members of staff were super friendly and would do anything they could to make you comfortable. Other members were a bit rough around the edges, especially in the dining area in the evenings. We never did quite figure out dinner...whether we needed to reserve a table or not. Our first night we were chastised for not booking a table, yet there were plenty available. It was all a bit confusing, and the dining options should be better explained at check-in.

My husband and I both had treatments in the spa and also used the steam room and jacuzzi there. The treatments were quite good and inexpensive by US/UK standards. I suggest booking the day before you would like your treatment as the spa seems to get quite busy during the afternoons and evenings.

On leaving the hotel, we spoke to the staff at the desk because we needed to be taken to our hotel in Galle. We were quoted a price of 3500 LKR by the desk, but they suggested we speak directly to the taxi service across the street to see if we could get a lower price. The man across the street then quoted us a price of 6000LKR because he had only a "premium" vehicle on site. When we went back to the front desk and requested the hotel's listed rate, we were then taken back across the street by hotel staff for a "negotiation." We ended up paying 5000LKR to be taken the short distance into Galle, and the explanation given was that we were not going into the Galle Fort area (the distance to our next hotel was actually less than if we had gone into Galle Fort!). We attempted to make other arrangements, but in the end we could not face the hassle. But paying more than the hotel's quoted rate left a bad taste in our mouths, which is a shame since overall we were quite happy with this hotel.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rebecca M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 March 2014

Having had a five hour drive from the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya, it was a joy to arrive at the Fortress. We were shown to a ocean view room with its own plunge pool. The room was large with a fab bathroom. We could walk out of the room straight in to the garden and to the lovely pool for a swim. While sitting out, we were told that turtles were near the shore which was great to see. The food was excellent, we preferred to have Sri Lankan curries which were excellent.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Archiesfriend2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Level 6 Contributor
195 reviews
141 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2014

Driving from Galle to the hotel you wonder what to expect. You arrive at a prison like construction in the middle of nowhere. But when the huge door is opened and you here the bell announcing your new arrival, you will find yourself in a complete different world. The new structure from 2007 is inspired by a Dutch-Portugese fort. Clean lines, focus towards the huge pool and beautiful ocean. All you need for a picture perfect holiday.

You are welcomed with a drink and refreshing towel. But the whole check-in procedure took a bit long. As a member of the Small Luxury Hotel loyalty program (higher tier) we expected a room upgrade since they send us a mail before arrival to inform us that all benefits would be 'in place'. But it was not available. We expected something instead. Nothing. We even found the front office manager in charge tob e a bit intimidating, at least completely indifferent to our needs and wishes. He explained a SLH member is not likely to get any programm benefits since 10 out of 12 months they run a full house. So why bother to do anyhing extra? Our instant feel of having arrived in paradise was completely vanished.

We were escorted to room 19. One of the few rooms not facing the sea and therefor a lot more affordable. The internet site promises garden view. It is more like a small terrace facing a huge wall. On the positive site it is very quit and extremely large (larger than mentioned on the hotel website). This ‘ballroom’ offers a comfortable huge king size, modern gadgets and free WIFI. But we felt a bit lost. Huge bathroom, but strange lay-out. From your bed you look straight into this open plan space. No discretion (no door to close). The shower also huge, but the shower head misplaced causing a wet bathroom floor. Maybe to let you feel you booked the cheapest room type, they put in a small television set (smaller than in the more expensive rooms) and do not offer Bulgari amenities. It looked like the designer did not really know what to do with all this space. Great if you are looking for a such a room.

Management and the kind staff did all they could to make us forget our arrival expierence. Complimentory diner, discount on food and drinks during our entire stay and a room change from the second night onwards.

Room 7 is a sea facing room on the ground floor. Straight from your room into the well maintained garden. Terrace with a seat and two pool beds in front of your terrace. Ground floor rooms are spacious. They offer a day bed or, like room 7, a plunge pool. You might prefer the day bed. The plunge pool takes quit some space from your room, there are no sliding doors (so the pool is just inside the room) and your room is a few meters from the very large (nice warm) pool with plenty of pool beds for this small size hotel. It is decadent and fun, but we did not use the plunge pool.

Housekeeping is great (like friendly Dushmantha), but room maintenance is a bit poor. Although rooms are quit expensive, the woodwork and furniture are not in a very good shape. Far from Four Seasons or Intercontinental standard. Seven years old, already showing age. Do not know if The Fortress can afford to wait with room renovation another three years.

The restaurant offers good food. Of course, you can eat outdoors. But with the costs of transportation it will not be much cheaper. Not many people leave the hotel at night. So you might want to make a reservation. Although, twice our reservation was ‘miscommunicated’. We but enjoyed the enthusiastic crew with Kasun and Sunil making our diners truly enjoyable. Breakfast food selection and quality are not disappointing either.

We liked talking with the pool supervisor. Passionate about his work and his turtle protection program at the hotel. His staff member Upul always keen to serve us and always greeting us.

If you want to leave the hotel, you best take a tuk-tuk. Drivers are waiting for you opposite the hotel. Prices are relatively high, rates are fixed. But the rate is ok when renting your driver for a few ours into Galle or just to enjoy the landscape around Yatagala (nature and temple are very rewarding!). Expect to pay about Euro 15,00 for 3-4 hours.

We drove back to the airport in about three hours (half of which you drive on the new expressway the other half you need to cross chaotic Colombo). The hotel will arrange the trip for about USD 200. We used the services of driver who dropped us of at the hotel after a week tour through Sri Lanka (luxury car; USD 100).

Conclusion: some issues, quit expensive, maintenance of the rooms and pool beds could be better. The atmosphere is great for a very relaxing holiday. We absolutely can recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Ask yourself what to do with a plunge pool in your room before spending the extra money.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KeesE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grayshott, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
245 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2014

A stunning location, ocean views and infinity pool to marvel at. Wonderful lovely people, service just great, make sure you book sea view room. Bar a little small but great food, reasonably priced. Just put it on your list!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank graham044
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Fortress

Property: The Fortress
Address: Route A2, Matara Road, Koggala 82104, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Koggala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Fortress 5*
Number of rooms: 53
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A luxury 53 room boutique resort located on the Southern shores of Sri Lanka. The Fortress has been styled after Galle’s powerful ancient Dutch Fort, blending the country’s Dutch and Portuguese influences with Sri Lankan motifs and indigenous furnishings to echo the historic days of Old Ceylon. This has been artfully and sensitively fused with innovative architecture, high design features, state-of-the-art technology, sensual living spaces with naturally modern design, and incredible gastronomic experiences, to stunning effect. The Fortress will offer unprecedented levels of service, extraordinary innovation, attention to detail and a unique blend of Old Ceylon with Modern Asia. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Fortress Hotel Koggala
Fortress Hotel Galle
Fortress Galle
Fortress Sri Lanka
The Fortress Sri Lanka/Koggala

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