The Maldives is among the most popular destinations in the Asia/Pacific region, but one country trying to compete, is Sri Lanka. The golden-sand beaches that fringe its coasts are thankfully making a comeback after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami wreaked havoc on the country; and Galle, on the South West coast of Sri Lanka, is where today's hidden gem can be found. The historic thirty six hectare Galle Fort is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site; and The Fort Printers is an eighteenth-century mansion which, until 2002 housed a printing company.
It used wooden printing blocks and wrought iron printing machines to print stationary and cards, and has now been restored into a small private hotel with just five stylish suites. While you get the convenience of hotel facilities, the atmosphere is more akin to the feeling of staying in a villa.
The original printing press (above) that was once in service in the building stands in the grand entrance hall, and is surrounded by whitewashed walls, daybeds, and antique writing desks. There is also a small pool at the hotel, which is a refreshing way to cool off after exploring the fort.
The restaurant at the hotel is superb. The owner has a passion for food, and the chefs tailor the dishes to what the guests wish to eat. There are no set meal times - you simply tell the staff when you would like to eat. The location of the hotel is perfect to explore the countryside; and the beaches around Galle, and if you ask nicely, the staff may take you for a spin in the hotel's 1950's Morris Minor!
Galle is seeing an increasing number of travellers staying within the atmospheric walls of the Fort; and making day trips to the beach towns, but it is still a relatively undiscovered part of the island. With Moorish traders; Portuguese adventurers; and Dutch and British merchants all leaving their legacies over the years, Galle really does have character, and this unique private hotel seems the perfect place to start your own adventures.
If you want more information on The Fort Printers, click here.