The Fort Printers, until 2002, still used wooden printing blocks and wrought iron machines made in England to produce beautiful stationery and cards. In the two centuries prior to this, its chequered history of Dutch and English influences included housing a college, a Buddhist society and a bank.
It is now restored and refurbished as an elegant villa with an intimate friendly atmosphere. The heavy, carved teak doors, richly polished floors and window shutters all reflect its former glory. Oppulent silks and velvets have been added with a modern designer's touch, set off by crisp white linens in the bedrooms and white walls everywhere.
The grand entrance hall leads past the drawing room, the library and the dining room towards a tranquil inner courtyard which encloses magnificent araliya trees and a cool, azure pool, bordered by sun loungers and an umbrella. The well appointed drawing room has deep sofas and seating alcoves, under ceiling- high original teak windows opening onto a gallery. The outer gallery, or passage, is enclosed by door- high louvres allowing in the sights and sounds of the bustling streets beyond, but preserving privacy within. The gallery has an almost monastic feel in its austerity.
The library opposite the drawing room is also made for relaxing with elegant, comfortable, custom made sofas and colourful cushions. A wide selection of books, magazines and dvds is available for your entertainment, also cds and a player.
The long dining room, opening onto the inner courtyard, is sufficiently versatile to provide lavish formality or informal dining. A small sitting area is ideal for pre-dinner drinks or after dinner brandies.
The villa may be booked in entirety for exclusive use, or its 5 bedroom suites may be booked individually. It is a perfect, sophisticated retreat from which to explore the Galle Fort, the surrounding country or the wonderful beaches a very short tuk-tuk ride away.
Bedroom Suites (5)
In recognition of its past as a college the suites are named evocatively as The Headmaster's, The Prefect's, History, Geography and Arts. Four are located on the 1st floor and all overlook the beautiful tiled roofs of the Fort houses, the Harbour and the Lighthouse and are flooded with light. The fifth and most private suite is on the ground floor. All have air conditioning and en suite bathrooms.
The Prefect's Suite is on the ground floor, off the courtyard and overlooking the pool. The high platform bed is spread with sumptuous velvet and the windows are hung with shimmering silk. The fabric colours are rich and earthy, contrasting with the pale tile floors and white walls. An oversized chaise longue, writing desk and modern tables and lamps complete the look. The spacious bathroom includes a separate shower room and antique bath tub.
The Headmaster's Suite is entered through the dressing room cum bathroom. The windows overlook the pool from a sitting area furnished with oversized spreads and cushions. At the other end of the room the sleeping area is raised with a platform bed, chaise longue and antique leather suitcases acting as tables. The bathroom is attractively fitted with modern equipment including a separate copper shower unit with tiled floor.
History, Geography and Arts Suites on the first floor are entered via a gallery with rich jackwood floors and antique ceiling beams. Colourful modern day beds provide a relaxing place to while away a few hours with a book, or listen to the world and its business going on behind the louvred windows.
These suites are high and airy with exposed original beams and gleaming, polished wood floors. Each is elegantly furnished with a large platform bed,oversized chaise longue and writing desk. The cushions and oppulent drapes are a riot of exotic spice colours, and fabrics in red, saffron, blue, purple, orange and magenta look wonderfully decadent against the pristine white walls. The bathrooms include separate toilet and copper shower rooms; modern wash basins, cupboards, mirrors and lights complete a room of luxury and convenience.
The dining room stretches the length of the mansion and leads out onto the cool inner courtyard. There is an informal sitting area at one end, and dining may be arranged formally or casually. The furnishing is a stylish mix of handmade oriental and contemporary pieces and accessories; from immense cabinets in dark wood to the very modern lighting and marble tiled floor.
Two chefs are on hand to prepare both traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry dishes, vegetarian,meat and fish, and fresh Mediterranean style cuisine. Yellow fin tuna is plentiful in the surrounding seas and is served in many guises. The chefs take pride in their choice of fresh sea food and local organic produce, and menus are planned with guests' preferences in mind.
Breakfast is traditional Sri Lankan, plus any special requests, and will include fresh fruits and juices, cereals, eggs, curds (close to yoghurt ) and home made breads. Lunch is usually a light meal of salads, grilled tuna or open sandwiches, leaving plenty of room for a lavish dinner featuring specialities such as grilled lobster or seared tuna with piquant sauces, or delicious Sri Lankan curries.
There is also an amazing mezzhe menu with tantalizing morroccan and mediterranean influences using flavoursome vegetables and yoghurts.
As well as the two chefs there are 4 more members of staff to cosset you throughout your stay.