Galle Fort is often called the gem of South Asia, and after a 2-week holiday there, I cannot agree more. Upon entering the fort’s walls, one is transported to another world – one that existed centuries ago. Old merchants villas line the streets where a quiet street-life prevails and just recently, a handful of “boutique hotels” and specialty shops have sprouted around, all keeping in line with the romantic architecture of old Asia.
We rented the most charming “Emma Villa” through the Galle Fort Hotel, and it came with two very sweet houseboys, Sanjay and Nissanka as well as a nanny Harmony (who we later discovered was actually called Ramani) who although didn’t speak a word of English, was a dream with our two energetic toddlers. The house was beautifully furnished (with a tiny swimming pool no less) but the best part was the terrace which overlooked the ramparts and the sea beyond. It was a joy sitting there with a steaming cup of Ceylon tea, watching the locals play cricket at all hours of the day, fly kites or just stroll hand in hand.
For the best meals in the Fort, look no further than the Galle Fort Hotel which serves the most delicious modern Asian cuisine prepared by the hotel’s Malaysian owner Chris. Along with his Australian partner Karl, the two came to Fort over 3 years ago with the dream to restore it to its former glory and more. Just talking to them about the Fort over a glass of the hotel’s signature cocktail ( a ginger-lime concoction – sublime!) is enough to make you want to move there and bag one of the old villas for yourself.