On the golden shores of Sri Lanka's southern coast, you will find this unique and incredibly stylish boutique hotel, which seems to epitomise elegance and sophistication. A member of the elite group Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Fortress Resort & Spa has been designed to reflect the historical heritage of its locality, the famed Dutch fort at Galle along the coast. Its formidable-looking frontage hides a tranquil oasis of verdant tropical gardens, stretching down to the ruggedly beautiful Koggala beach.
The construction of the hotel, with massive gates and whitewashed walls, features a striking fusion of Portuguese and Dutch design with Sri Lankan influences, and forms a quadrangle round a vast inner courtyard. The courtyard is the focal point of the resort, offering a relaxing space with luxuriant gardens and serene water features, hammocks slung between the trees, and a stunning infinity-edged pool with sunken bathing platforms, that seems to drop into the sea. The old-world ambience is intensified by the columns, terraces and large wooden doors in brilliant white, framed by landscaped lawns and fragrant frangipani trees.
The interiors, like the outside, display a perfect blend of traditional Sri Lankan and contemporary Dutch design. Throughout the resort, the polished cement and dark wood flooring, majestic pillars and lofty ceilings are softened by skilful lighting and beautiful fabrics. The building contains an exclusive boutique and an art gallery showcasing local artists, as well as a business centre, but still retains an atmosphere of intimacy and sense of commitment to personal service.
The Fortress has also earned accolades for its creative and innovative cuisine, offering everything from traditional Sri Lankan fare to Lebanese and Greek dishes, all using local ingredients. At Pepper, the main restaurant, you can gaze at the pool and ocean while enjoying both authentic Sri Lankan specialities and contemporary Asian cooking, and at the same time experience the theatre of the show kitchen, while the al-fresco Heat will enable you to enjoy savoury offerings from its wood-fired Tandoori and pizza ovens. For a really romantic rendezvous, book a meal at the breathtaking Duo, a glass-enclosed wine cellar with a white sand floor, where soft candlelight plays on the sparkling crystal, and a sommelier will guide you through the 2,000 wines as you enjoy the gourmet cuisine.
The place to go for cocktails with a modern twist is Sea Lounge -- you can try something different while sitting in retro bubble seats suspended from the ceiling. The T-Lounge, with its open spaces and spectacular views, offers the aromas, flavours and traditions of old Ceylon through the experience of tea. Here, in the central preparation area, you can learn about tea making and tea history, and sample some of the 30 premium hand-picked varieties on offer.
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