A former merchant’s house turned charming boutique hotel, arranged around a lovely open-air central courtyard
There are hotels with a rich history. And then there is Fort Bazaar – part of history. This enchanting bolthole sits pretty on a narrow cobbled street, among the imposing ramparts and colonial-era buildings of the UNESCO-listed Galle Fort. It took 11 years to restore the former merchant’s mansion – and it paid off. A huddle of whitewashed buildings is arranged around an open-air central courtyard, scented by a riot of frangipani flowers and illuminated by glowing Moorish lamps after dark – a scattering of cushion-topped chairs are heavenly chill-out spots. While the architecture and interiors nod to its colonial past, a contemporary twist updates its 17th-Century heritage – think hand-woven Sri Lankan fabrics and lots of pale wood.
Just 18 rooms create an intimate vibe; the 15 Bazaar and Banyan Rooms are calming cocoons with pared-back, Scandi-style interiors; the latter with the added perk of a private balcony or terrace. For a slice of luxury, plump for one of the three Upper Suites – sleek dens with oodles of space and fort views, along with original features; all wood beams and pitched ceilings. An inviting restaurant sees locals and guests mingling over plates of fish tagine or black pork curry, against the comforting hum of the streets beyond the wide-open doors.
In Galle Fort, on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka
Good to know
18 rooms and suites
• Explore the charming boutiques and cafés lining the cobbled streets of Galle Fort • Take a scenic cycling tour through Galle’s sprawling rice paddies and coconut groves.
Breakfast at main restaurant.
*Denotes local charge