For UAE residents, Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination – it’s a mere 4.5 hours to this teardrop-shaped tropical island. A must for every itinerary is a day or two in UNESCO World Heritage-listed Galle Fort, the place to experience the stylish side of modern-day Sri Lanka with its fantastic array of boutique hotels, stylish restaurants and bars, and shops – arrive with deep pockets!
We enlisted the help of long-time resident, Lindsay Taylor, founder of interiors and lifestyle brand, Tallentire House, with a store in Galle to guide us through her perfect 24 hours in Galle Fort.
A professional textile designer and ceramicist for over 20 years, Lindsay is passionate about sustainable luxury and craft-focused, timeless design. She creates all of Tallentire House’s collections, drawing on the skill and artistic talent of master weavers, embroidery circles, and textiles and ceramics mills across Sri Lanka and India.
Breakfast at Prince of Galle, a new small hotel beautifully decorated with local antiques and artwork with warm Australian hospitality to greet guests. Breakfast like a prince or princess, with their incredible five course breakfast; and, if you’ve never tried Vietnamese coffee, now’s your chance. You are on holiday after all!
Wander & Spa
Work off your breakfast by taking a morning walk around the ramparts. I love morning in the Fort and watching the town’s various vendors busying around in preparation for the day ahead. A rather sweet thing you’ll stumble upon on your walk is romantic couple upon couple posing for a professional photograph. The Fort is a popular location for local wedding photography; it’s beautiful.
If you’re visiting on a Saturday, head to Court Square and spend a little time wandering around the stalls of the weekly Galle Fort Market which sells crafts and handmade produce from all around the island.
Next up: Galle Fort Spa, set in a Dutch heritage villa overlooking a frangipanni courtyard. Treat yourself to their signature spa treatment, the Bodi Indulge, which consists of a citrus & coconut body polish followed by a serenity massage and armotherapy facial to finish.
Lunch & Shop
Take a late lunch at The Bungalow; one of the newest addition to the Fort’s thriving restaurant scene which serves up a great fusion food, ambience and décor. Take a seat on their street-facing veranda and bliss out after your spa time!
Spend the rest of the afternoon perusing the Fort’s fantastic selection of shops.
Of course, when in Galle Fort, you must come to us – Tallentire House – the largest shop on Pedlar Street! Housed in a thoughtfully-restored Dutch colonial building, its dramatic archways and tall columns make a stunning backdrop to our collections within the shop.
Really popular at the moment are our lightweight cotton voile loungewear, our one-of-a kind organically-dyed hand woven shawls, hand embroidered cushions, new handmade in Sri Lanka ceramic tableware, as well as various-sized travel and cosmetic purses. Near to the shop we have a stitch house and can make special orders with a short turnaround and we also ship worldwide.
There’s no doubt that Sri Lanka, with its locally-mined sapphires, rubies, acquamarines, garnets, zircons and alexandrites, is one of the best places in the world to buy gemstones and Galle Fort is filled with gemstone and jewellery shops. My favourite place for jewellery is not the Fort’s most glitzy but is one of the oldest jewellery stores in the country (established since 1909), Ibrahim Jewelers (47 Church Street). The staff there are very knowledgeable, give a fair-price and are always happy to talk through any ideas for bespoke commissions.
Dip In The Hotel Pool & Dine
By now it is probably early evening, so head to the hotel. For the perfect 24 hours in the Fort, I’d indulge in the old world glamour of the historic Amangalle. Take a sunset dip in the pool before getting ready for dinner.
Amangalle serves one of the best assorted Sri Lankan curries and rice in its colonial décor dining room. What more after dinner than falling into your kingsize fourposter antique bed and the thought of waking to an alfresco breakfast underneath the trees?
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