wish list - The Fortress Hotel and Spa, Sri Lanka
Written by Emma Boyle
Stay in style at one of Sri Lanka’s most seductive south-coast hotels.
With 2014 finally upon us, what better way to start the year than with a blissful break in Sri Lanka? Named after Galle’s iconic 17th-century Dutch fort, 12km to the west, the Fortress Hotel and Spa is home to 53 chicly styled rooms and suites that blend the majesty of Old Ceylon with the contemporary, tropical aesthetic of Asia. Set beside a golden stretch of Indian Ocean-washed beach in south-coast Koggala, lavish facilities include a 50m fibre optic-lit swimming pool, a lush coconut palm-speckled garden, three restaurants, a tea lounge, and a glass-walled, 2,000-bottle-strong wine cellar. Smiling staff proffering menus are at your beck and call.
This is a place to truly unwind, and one wing of the resort is occupied by a luxurious two-storey spa with an extensive menu of traditional Ayurvedic treatments and lavish contemporary therapies, along with a sauna, steam room, and hydrobath. Yogis can find harmony in the garden pavilion, whilst the air-conditioned gym is the perfect remedy for anyone overindulging in the hotel’s delicious cuisine.
It’s whale-watching season!
Between December and April, blue whales, sperm whales, killer whales, and spinner dolphins can all be spotted close to shore in the seas beyond Dondra Head, Sri Lanka’s southernmost point. Although boat trips depart Galle and Mirissa’s harbour daily, the newest way to spot these mighty cetaceans is aboard Millennium Airlines’ GA8 Airvan on one of its spectacular 90-minute flights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7.30am, 9am, and 3.30pm; US$175; simplifly.com).