Amangalla, Galle review | spa hotel, Sri Lanka
Tranquil, colonial-style hotel with a boutique spa in Galle’s historic quarter
The quick read: Amangalla is a truly beautiful, colonial-style hotel with cooling white-washed walls, pale olive green shutters and elegant dark wooden furniture set on a quiet street in the Unesco Heritage Site of Galle Fort. A 17th century Dutch colonial building, it traded as the New Oriental Hotel for over 140 years and its walls sing with stories. There’s a spa, outdoor yoga shala, lovely pool, interestingly-stocked library and mature, pretty gardens too.
How was it for us: My times at Amangalla have always been joyful, whether I’ve been sipping mango bellinis in the high-ceilinged entrance hall or doing my own yoga practice in the wooden-floored garden yoga shala, facing lush vegetation and meditating to the sound of birdsong and light traffic from the streets nearby.
On our latest visit my six year old daughter slept on a large rattan planters day bed in our room and we spent most of our time by the gorgeous large pool swimming or reading stories on the shaded ambalamas (day beds). We had a relaxing family session in one of the hydro suites, and I enjoyed a natural sandalwood facial and excellent massage with female Sri Lankan therapist Warna, who got right into all the painful pressure points that had tightened up on my long flight.
In the evenings, my husband and I dined off the likes of avocado gazpacho, king prawns and masala chai creme brûlée on the lovely wide candlelit veranda while my daughter explored or practised the baby grand piano with a newly found young friend. Our inventive, good-quality turn down presents were a delight, and included a gorgeous handmade wooden tuc tuc for my daughter and book marks made from lontar (an ancient form of paper) for us.
More on the spa: Based where the New Oriental’s parade of shops used to be, the spa is a calm white-washed arched hallway leading to five high-ceilinged, earth brown treatment rooms and a small but perfectly formed private hydro suite with hydrotherapy pool, cold plunge pool, steam room and sauna. Choose ayurvedic treatments, signature massages and natural facials. During the week there are also daily group yoga classes for guests, or book a private session on a weekend.
What’s queenly: The marvellous and elegant teak-floored bedrooms are fit for a queen, with gorgeous antique writing desks, stupendously comfortable dark wood four poster beds, planter’s chairs, pettagama chests and huge glass vases filled with fresh Sri Lankan white tulips.
What’s lowly: On our latest visit the jets in the hydro pool had very little power and the steam room and sauna were not nearly hot enough.
Insider tip: The hotel provides lovely blue woven baskets for you to carry your things around in, and their gorgeous bathroom products are made by Sodashi, so no need to bring your own.
Price: From US$550 per room per night including breakfast, afternoon tea and minibar.
Travel tip: If you’re flying from the UK to Sri Lanka, Holiday Extras offers trusted Meet and Greet services at all major UK airports. To book a week’s Meet and Greet parking at Heathrow Airport from £47.92 , visit HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 1313 777.
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
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