Turn back the clock and get a dose of nostalgia at No. 39 Galle Fort on Sri Lanka’s south-west coast. Set within the fort walls of a 17th century UNESCO World Heritage Site, this three-bedroom heritage townhouse is lovingly restored by its owners, descendents of one of Galle’s original Dutch Burgher families.
The house retains its old world charm, with long, shaded verandahs, pleasant gardens and high, timber vaulted ceilings. The furniture is an elegant mix of antiques and custom-made pieces, adding personality to each room. Though the villa dates back to the 17th century, it underwent extensive renovations in 2008 and boasts of mod cons such as iPod docks, satellite TV and a well-equipped, modern kitchen.
Which brings us to the food. To visit Sri Lanka and not obsess about the food is almost unheard of. No. 39 Galle Fort is serviced by warm staff, including a talented cook trained in the art of Auyurvedic cooking. Delicious set meals can be crafted by the cook, customised to your preferences, and served on the long dining table or alfresco in the garden. Dining is a pleasure here, with food not just pleasing the tastebuds but also created for its healing properties according to the ancient science of Ayurveda. Paddock to plate dining, raw food, clean eating and locally-sourced ingredients all come together to create gastronomic experiences that shall leave a lasting impact on you.
This breezy, two-storey terraced house is lavishly spacious; dotted with daybeds, cosy nooks and shady corners. The three bedrooms are all large and cool, with views that range from the garden to the goings-on of Lighthouse Street outside. Mornings can be spent doing yoga or meditation in your tropical garden, while evenings are best reserved for cocktails under the stars.
During the day, step out and explore the many iconic attractions of Galle Fort on foot. The much-photographed lighthouse, crumbling fort walls, hidden cafes and boutique shops are all a short stroll away. While you are bound to enjoy the vibe of this heritage 400-year old fort, you will always find yourself wishing to return to the cosy environs of your private home, a little haven that’s all yours, even if for a few days.