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Amangalla Resort - Galle, Sri Lanka | Hotel Review

Perfection at every turn


A luxury 5 star hotel, Amangalla is located in the 17th century Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1684 to house the Dutch Governor and his staff, the fort was later converted to the New Oriental Hotel in 1865. This 400 year old property was bought and renovated in 2005 by Aman Resorts. Click here to browse through over 30 pictures of Amangalla.

Amangalla is located 75 miles from Colombo (click here to read our Colombo luxury hotel reviews), the capital city of Sri Lanka. This quaint hotel offers majestic views of the fort’s ramparts, Dutch Church, clock tower, lighthouse and sea. The fort’s well-tended garden is 200 years old and features frangipani trees and serene grassy lawns. Amangalla offers 29 guest rooms decorated in colonial style with neutral colors.

First Impression/Lobby: Amangalla is a classic British colonial hotel right from its décor to the afternoon tea service. The beautiful facade, veranda and Zaal (Great Hall) of the hotel have been carefully restored to their past glory.

Reception: We were received warmly and our check-in was over even before we knew it. We were assigned a butler during check-in. He was our main contact person and handled all our requests such as scheduling dinner and activities, arranging for turn down service and taking our clothing to be ironed. Our butler, Nalin was simply bombastic!

One negative point we noticed straightaway was that the hotel does not have an elevator. If climbing stairs is an issue, you should let them know during the reservation stage itself so that you can book something on a lower floor.

The Suite: Our suite was huge and featured polished teak floorboards that were more than 300 years old. The suite consisted of a bedroom, separate lounge area and a bathroom. The bedroom featured a king-size four poster bed and arched shuttered windows. Plenty of closet space was available in the bedroom. The lounge featured a chaise lounge, writing desk, dining table, planter’s chair and pettagama chest. The bathroom was equally well appointed with a free-standing tub, twin vanities, separate toilet and shower.

Our suite offered stunning views of the fort’s ramparts and the sea. The best suites are number 8 or 14, as they are corner suites and offer maximum light and stunning views.

One minus point of our suite was that there was no TV in the room. The hotel does have one room (not an actual room you can stay in) that has been converted into a kids play room/TV room. So when we wanted to catch up on the news we had our butler reserve this room for a few hours for us. Another negative was that they do not have Wi-Fi in the room. Instead they offer a USB Wi-Fi service. It’s a little cumbersome to use but at least it gave us internet access.

Room Service: We did not order any room service as we could not resist dining at the charming Zaal and the Dining Room on most occasions.

Housekeeping: Our suite was clean and maintained beautifully throughout our stay. However, turn down service was flawed during the first night as some items were missed. After we mentioned this to our butler, turn down service was perfect and simply top notch.

Concierge: All activities and arrangements were taken care of by our butler. Service like this is what makes the Aman Resorts so spectacular.

Restaurant: The Dining Room, Amangalla’s restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a great menu coupled with top notch service. This restaurant transports guests to the colonial era with its period chairs and tables, crisp white linen and antique silverware. This restaurant serves a choice of traditional Sri Lankan curry and home-cooked dishes.

The Zaal or the Great Hall on the veranda features high ceilings, overhead fans and chandeliers. Both indoor and outdoor dining spaces are available. This restaurant serves light meals, snacks and afternoon tea.

A must while you are at this Aman resort is sipping drinks during the sunset while gazing out to the sea. A small bar area is located in the hallway of the third floor. The view from this bar overlooks the buildings in the fort and you can see the sun set on the ocean.

Pool/Spa/Activities: The swimming pool is located in the midst of the garden and is very simple, yet gorgeous. Surrounded by palms, a number of wooden sun loungers were placed in the Pool Courtyard under the shade of the palm trees. Five shaded ambalamas (rest pavilions) were also available and were perfect for relaxing on a lazy day. Poolside service offered a variety of light meals and snacks.

The traditionally inspired Spa at Amangallais heavenly and is called The Baths. It consists of five softly lit treatment rooms. Located off an arched hallway, the baths offer saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools. Luxury Ayurveda therapies are also on offer. The Garden Pavilion located next to The Baths offer daily yoga and meditation sessions. The Barber Shop and Salon offer shaving, manicures and pedicures for gentlemen.

A scenic day trip by helicopter, mountain bike ride and whale watching were some of the activities available near Amangalla.

Check-Out: The butler does the check out at Amangalla either in your suite, or at the front desk. One important point to note during check out is that the hotel quotes the room rates in US dollars but bills in Sri Lankan rupee. When they did this, our bill was actually more than quoted. However, when requested, the hotel staff was more than happy to redo the bill in US dollars.

Our transfer from Amangallato Amanwella was part of our package when we booked with Aman Resorts. The transfer vehicle used was far from the typically high Aman standards; it in no way compared to the luxury vehicle that we had for our paid transfer from Bentota (click here to read our Bentota luxury resort reviews). Just because our transfer was part of our package doesn’t mean a much lower quality vehicle and less apt driver should be used.

Overall Impression: Amangalla is a very service oriented hotel. The manager, who has been here since the hotel opened in 2005, is very visible and makes it a point to touch base with the guests every day. There were only a couple of service issues. It is these issues and the lack of TV, the cumbersome USB Wi-Fi and our transfer to Amanwella that has kept Amangalla from receiving our highest rating. However, this Aman resort still gets a resounding Bombastic rating from us.

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