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“Fantastic hotel, great rooms, friendly staff but poor service!”
Review of The Fortress

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The Fortress
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Koggala
Certificate of Excellence
Sutton Coldfield
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Fantastic hotel, great rooms, friendly staff but poor service!”
Reviewed 9 March 2009

Lovely hotel shame the service doesn't quite match! Service got poorer and poorer as our holiday progressed. As the staff are so nice you try and forgive but after a while it becomes frustrating!

If you can afford it, the beach room is a must.

No private beach so be prepared to be hassled by the locals.

As a veggie the food selection was poor (pizza, pasta and vegetable curry). Once we got talking to the chef (Vijay) he was very accomodative thankfully!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank amitgaitri80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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london
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 March 2009

My husband and I have just got back from the Fortress. We loved it the rooms are stunning, the grounds are superb, the staff wonderful. We did find it expensive but you pay for 5 star and it's so relaxing it was hard to tear ourselfs away and leave the hotel.
We used the tuk tuk driver Chaminda who was a very safe driver with an imaculate tuk tuk. He did great tours and was very reasonable. He will be found on the beach in the mornings or outside later in the day. The beach out the front is beautiful, snorkling is fab but the hotel hasn't got any equipment so take your own. The food was wonderful, expensive for Sri Lanka but a steal compared to London prices.
Yes the transfer from the airport is grim but it's so worth it once you arrive, we'd go back and do it all again gladly.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Karyn Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
tamworth
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2009

We chose the Fortress in Koggala for its peaceful position and unspoilt beauty.
We and our friends were concerned about the 5 hour road trip down to the south but the drive itself was an experience we will never forget!!
Our driver who picked us up from the airport in Colombo, whom we booked through Boutique Sri Lanka, was excellent and very informative with regards to interesting and historic landmarks as we hung on for dear life (LOL) although we did get a chance to stop for lunch at a beautiful restaurant in Bentota, positioned right at the side of a lake which in turn gave us all a chance to get our heart rate down to 60 per minute again!!
On arrival at The Fortress we were all tired and feeling a bit groggy because of the long Journey; however as soon as you are greeted and walked through the towering wooden gates you feel like you have walked into a different world, WOW!, WOW!, WOW!
we were greeted by ?????? who said "welcome to your home" and he was right. you are made to feel so welcome. within a matter of minutes we were sat beside the pool in the cool breeze of the lobby area and presented with a beautiful iced tea cocktail, watching the stilt fisherman directly in front of us in the ocean catching different types of fish from small sardines to large monkfish.
We were then checked into our rooms and all given upgrades. As we were getting married at The Fortress, the Manager Steve upgraded my partner and I to the Residence which is one of two suites within the hotel that are out of this world, a huge bathroom with a 6 people hot tub, large living room with 50" LCD TV and BOSE surround sound
( standard in all rooms), massive bedroom with huge contemporary 4 poster bed, again with large LCD TV and BOSE system and to top it off a small infinity swimming pool on the large veranda over looking the Indian Ocean.
The Spa was first class and we had the privilege of having a 2.5 hour treatment each as a part of our wedding package.
The wedding ceremony held on 14th February was superbly organised by the team and was perfect in every way
we had the top package which included arrival and departure on an elephant, traditional Sri Lankan dancers and singers, traditional drummers and a traditional Sri Lankan ceremony.
The staff at the Fortress from the room boys to the executive chef were absolutely brilliant and delivered the best service and standards we have ever experienced.
So a very special thanks to:
The GM Steve Delefortrie The most accommodating, Chef - Wijekon Kanishka,and his team
Asela Rajakaruna, Sugath Gampolage, Jinendra Peshan, Hiran Wijesiri, Samith Chandrasena, Saman Dassanayake, and Melanie Hupuarachchi they made the Fortress what it was and is. I could go on and on but I think you will get the essence of my comments.
Move over Sandy Lane, Barbados, your time is up!!

  • Stayed February 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank pricey0962
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, UK
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2009

Have just returned from a 10 night stay at The Fortress. Have never visited Sri Lanka before so did a lot of research and picked The Fortress as our ideal hotel - what a choice. Everything you read on Trip Advisor about the hotel is true.

The Service - Truly amazing. The staff everywhere from housekeeping to waiters to grounds people are very friendly & very dedicated. And yes - the service charge is automatically added to everything bought within the hotel but the staff are worth it.

The Food - Fantastic. And yes - it is three times the price that you pay in a local Unawatuna establishment but if you want five star you pay for it.

The Rooms - Large, loads of storage, gadgets galore with ipods, dvd players, decent sized fridges, free water & mood lighting (no less than 17 light switches in our room...!!)

The Hotel - It is boutique, ie - one bar & one restaurant. But fabulous in design & amazingly clean. The pool & its attendants were great (a little tip each day ensured the best sunbeds were saved for us). The gym was to a very high standard & the spa was good too.

The Cost - Food & Drink are eye-wateringly expensive compared to outside. We enjoyed three fantastic evening meals at the hotel but the remainder were spent at Unawatuna. Thereby saving an enormous amount of money & exploring at the same time.

Unawatuna - Favourite place there was The Kingfisher followed closely by Thyroban. Both served excellent local seafood & right on the beach too.

Top Tip - Spirits were very cheap at Duty Free on the way in to Sri Lanka & when you get to the Hotel befriend a tuctuc driver - they will take you to a wineshop & you can stock up on beer.

The Fortress is an amazingly luxurious bubble, hidden away from outside by high walls & imposing entrance however the local people are still recovering from the tsunami & the downturn in tourism. I would recommend this hotel to everyone but also remind them the locals need all the tourist dollars they can get.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ravey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Swansea
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2009

The most amazing piece of paradise,state of the art luxury,the staff so kind and friendly,especially when my husband was unwell.wonderful food,even the breakfast curry!!We were so sad to leave.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank funnyfliers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin
Level Contributor
84 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2009

I was very happy when i chose this hotel as it was extremely stylish and had a most modern up to date equipment to the highest calibre. The food was very spicey but very tasty at the same time. The staff were very friendly and professional , a big thanks to Hiran ( our wedding co-ordinator ) and Rohan ( Patrick ) the floor manager. They really went out of their way to make us comfortable and would highly recommend having a wedding here, the setting was perfect and we had arranged an elephant which was alot of fun, This hotel is without a doubt the Best hotel in Sri lanka

  • Liked — Very Modern and stylish
  • Disliked — nothing, liked everything
  • Stayed January 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank colin_morrissey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zürich
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2009

We stayed in a beach room for four nights at the start of a two week holiday, later staying at Kahanda Kanda, Tintagel, Tea Trails & Kandalama Suites. This was my fifth visit to Sri Lanka (last one in 2000) and was very interested in seeing the quality of many of the new developments, as before most accomodation was pretty inferior to the Maldives.

I booked The Fortress because it is in an ideal location & promised top european boutique quality on the beach. The location means that you can easily visit Galle, Mirissa, Unawatuna & Hiyara rainforest. For me the only other beach option was Amanwella but Tangalle is quite a bit further and transfer times were an issue. The air-taxi was not in service so car travel was also an important factor.

Coming straight from the Swiss winter it was an ideal first stop to get used to the change in temperature, walk along the beach and listen to the waves. Koggala beach is very clean with fine grains & excellent water quality (unlike some busier areas). There is limited development allowed in the area due to the local military airstrip. Swimming is great and snorkeling around the reef in front of the hotel is possible (surfing isn't possible). Koggala lake is very peaceful as well & some of the spice gardens interesting.

The staff are extremely friendly, professional and willing to help. The Lime spa is very much as good as its reputation as one of the best in the country. In terms of food then we had excellent food throughout most of our trip but The Fortress probably had the best Sri Lankan food as well as a good range of wine. We discussed ideas with the chefs and they would make up simple but superb dishes (try the fresh coconut sambal & tuna). The chefs also give a little cooking class to those interested.

The hotel was spotlessly clean when we were there, not just the room but also the grounds. With only 49 rooms it never gets too busy. There are no hotel rooms on the roadside and with the long thick walls no matter where you are the hotel is very peaceful (unlike a lot of hotels on the Galle road). All beach rooms are on the right side (looking out to sea) and are worth the extra as you just walk out into the grounds, but could also be a personal preference if you wanted to be on the first floor & thus in the "Ocean rooms". The 2 big suites would be ideal for a large family with nannies etc as they are constructed to allow access to a connecting room as well as a Fortress room just behind it (the fortress rooms are at either ends of the property, so without direct sea view). The rooms are kept very clean & mattresses are very good (for those with dodgy backs). The ipod, electronics & TV are great and match well the positioning & concept of the hotel.

The swimming pool is beautifully made amongst the vegetation & long enough to actually do a few laps.

This isn't a hotel with golf courses & tennis courts etc and so is a great place to relax have a spa session, read, a few local visits etc. They did not have bikes to rent and weren't particulary strong on snorkelling equipment but hopefully that will change.

The hotel was opened only in 2007 with a german manager & now a french manager. The upside is that most of the staff have worked abroad and the management maintain a high international quality of service.

We did not have our own car whilst there as tuc-tucs are easy to get outside the hotel & taxis also straightforward for longer journeys (Galle or Mirissa). Tip. one of the local tuc-tuc drivers Sanpath drives very safely & also has a new minivan which we used on several occassions. The roads are less busy south of Galle but still a challenge for long journeys in a tuc-tuc given the private & public buses!

We booked our stay with SriLankaInStyle (Daminda da Silva is the general manager). Daminda & the team are very well known amongst the top hotels and are invaluable when it comes down to in-country assistance, cars, booking train rides etc. Always available to discuss options & make them happen. They are the ideal partner for a great holiday.

I visited a few of the other new "top" hotels along the coast and can honestly say that the Fortress is a different class to the rest (Amanwella excluded). Sri Lanka desperately needs more Fortresses (& Kahanda Kandas) to attract people to the beach from the maldives. We will be back.

Andrew & Barbara
Zürich

  • Liked — The sharpness in design, concept & delivery
  • Disliked — Lack of good mountain bikes & snorkelling equipment
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Sattelegg
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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