Amangalla Hotel secures the 38th position on the prestigious list of the world’s finest hotels

Amangalla, nestled within the ancient Galle Fort’s protective ramparts, has achieved global acclaim, securing its place as the 38th-best hotel in the world for 2023.

This enchanting property offers a unique blend of heritage and contemporary elegance.

If walls could talk: Residing within the time-capsule ramparts of Galle’s UNESCO-listed fort, the 300-year-old property comes with a long history. For 100 years, it was the New Oriental Hotel, which was a hub for steamship passengers traversing the globe – an on-site museum off the hotel’s library is devoted to its past. Many original features are maintained, including the timber floors and tiled veranda that stretches the width of the building.

What’s the style? Overlooking the fort and harbour, Amangalla is a white-washed mosaic of lofty-ceilinged suites, antique furniture, dark wood and lush gardens. It’s a space imbued with a sense of refined luxury that reflects the town’s colonial legacy. Rooms are flecked across its varied wings with peaceful Chambers found within the garden, while the Great Hall­ – known as Zaal, a nod to its Dutch colonial heyday – plays host to oversized mirrors and chandeliers. A generous pool is flanked by feathery palms with loungers inspired by charpois. The Baths spa, with its dramatic archways, sits beyond a candlelit recess with modern hydrotherapy suites and Ayurvedic treatment rooms.

Local cuisine: From breakfast hoppers on the veranda to poolside lunches and fine-dining dinners within the Great Hall, local, seasonal ingredients are treated with due reverence. Guests are also given the chance to try their hand at Sri Lankan cooking one-on-one with the chef – ingredients are chosen from the local market and whipped up amid the paddy fields. For sundowners, Sunset Balcony serves the likes of arrack sours shaken to the sound of live jazz.

Other projects: Known for its intimate retreats, warm hospitality, creative approach to design and attention to sense of place, the Aman group was founded back in 1988. Today, its hotels span the globe, and the group is set to the launch its sister brand, Janu, with an inaugural property in Toyko opening this winter.