We especially love the charm of the candlelit courtyard in the evening, and chilling on the beautifully tiled terrace with a book and a cup of tea.
– Saskia, visited in 2018, 2019 & 2020
One of just six elegant properties in the British-owned Teardrop Group’s luxurious portfolio, Fort Bazaar offers welcoming hospitality in the heart of gorgeous Galle Fort.
A UNESCO-heritage site brimming with history, the Fort gives visitors a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s fascinating past – and staying in a seventeenth-century building is a stellar way to savour it.
With a bright, buzzing restaurant, 18 sophisticated bedrooms set around a leafy central courtyard and a wonderful spa to boot, Fort Bazaar is an excellent boutique base for a few days exploring this popular part of the island.
The hotel’s 18 stylish guest rooms have a chic, contemporary feel, with four-poster beds clad in crisp white sheets and smart armchairs in light, soothing tones.
Elegant Bazaar bedrooms open onto the hotel’s lovely central courtyard, whilst attractively designed Banyan bedrooms reveal private balconies under the shade of a towering old tree.
Hide away in an indulgent Upper Suite for maximum seclusion, with a big bathtub, sitting area, private terrace and views over the red-tiled rooftops. For those travelling with children, the Upper Family Suite boasts an additional mezzanine level with twin beds for the little ones.
Bathrooms are generously proportioned, with polished concrete floors and seriously big rain showers. Suites also have free-standing bathtubs, perfect for a long soak after a day spent discovering Galle Fort on foot.
Drinking & dining
With striking tiled floors and airy arches creating a lovely inside-outside vibe, Church Street Social, the hotel’s excellent restaurant, is a great place to relax with a coffee or to share a superb seafood dinner.
Savour breakfast on the terrace overlooking Church Street or nab a little table near the bar to sip a fresh fruit juice – or something stronger as the day goes on.
The main restaurant, adjacent to the terrace, has a stylish brasserie-style feel, perfect for lively family dinners or cosy romantic evenings.
In keeping with the hotel’s Arabic influences, Church Street Social offers a fusion of Middle Eastern flavours and Sri Lankan specialities – including lagoon crab and veggie curries – with something for everyone.
Nibble a light lunchtime salad, feast on seafood linguine or a share a platter of imported meats and cheese as you reminisce over the day’s highlights.
Facilities & activities
Set in the heart of Galle Fort, Fort Bazaar is perfectly placed for guests looking to explore the historic surroundings. Stroll along little streets lined with shops, cafés and old houses, explore the Fort’s secrets in several museums, then wander atop the ramparts at sunset.
The hotel itself is a superb place to unwind: perch at a little table in the central courtyard with a good book, or find a spot on the colonnaded terrace to watch the world go by with a fresh cup of coffee. When you’re not chilling on your balcony or enjoying delicious dishes in the restaurant, hit on-site Z Spa for total bliss – from pedicures and wraps to massages, facials and more.
For those eager to venture beyond the Fort itself, nearby Jungle Beach is a great place to relax on the sand, whilst the buzzing nightlife of Unawatuna is just a fifteen minute three-wheeler ride from the hotel.
The team can also organise a range of experiences to ensure that you maximise your time on the teardrop island, whether you’re keen to try your hand at traditional mask-making, surf the waves, spot blue whales out at sea, or cycle through paddy fields and quiet southern villages.
Cricket fan? The picturesque Galle International Cricket Stadium is just a 15-minute walk away (or even quicker by trishaw) — ideal if you’re in the mood to catch a match.
The annual Galle Literary Festival takes place every January. This is a wonderful cultural event that celebrates both Sri Lankan and international writing – a buzzing time to visit the Fort! Be aware, though, that hotel prices are at their peak during the Festival.
Things we love
• Charming decor, including beautiful tiles handmade by a Colombo-based brand using traditional French techniques
• A superb central location, ideal for ambling around the cobbled streets of Galle Fort
• A buzzing brasserie-style restaurant with good food, and a columned verandah that’s ideal for evening drinks and dinner
Things to note
• There is unfortunately no swimming pool, but guests are welcome to use the pool at Jetwing Lighthouse – a striking hotel nearby, to which the Fort Bazaar team are able to arrange a free shuttle service
When to visit
Fort Bazaar is open year-round. The island is at its hottest in April and it can get particularly hot in the Fort. The nearby south coast beaches are in season from November to March. This is also the coolest part of the year, which makes it the most popular period for visiting Galle Fort. Explore outside of this period to avoid the crowds.
Location & information
The journey from Bandaranaike International Airport to Galle Fort takes around 2 hours by car.
Alternatively, the train from Colombo Fort station to Galle takes around 3 hours, while the A/C highway bus from Kottawa will get you there in two.
For more information about getting to and from the airport or Colombo, check out our travel tips.