The Fortress: a confluence of luxury and hospitality | Sunday Observer

The Fortress: a confluence of luxury and hospitality

The iconic landmark of Koggala is the large rectangular design of the Fortress Hotel, with its magnificent arched wooden door. The superstructure truly resembles a fort. As you enter through this door you walk into a domain of elegant luxury. The first view of the lobby, with its massive white stone columns and the infinity pool that seems to connect to the ocean is an awe inspiring snapshot. For decades this property has dominated the area with its genuine hospitality.

The present General Manager is Jan Van Twest a veteran hotelier with 40 years of experience. He said, “At the Fortress we offer our guests a serene environment that supplements their privacy. From this hotel one can venture out on many excursions and also visit the Galle Fort.”

The hotel is embellished with Dutch architectural designs. The rooms are spread out within the rectangular fortification, which has a long lush garden with clusters of trees. The rooms come in six categories, each with its unique views. They are known as Fortress rooms, Ocean rooms, Beach rooms, Beach splash rooms, Ocean loft rooms and residential suites. The beach splash category rooms are ideally suited to couples on their honeymoon. The residential suites have their own plunge pools. All the rooms resonate with modern comfort and an aura of coziness. The balconies and stairways made with wood add to the overall warmth of this architectural masterpiece.

The Fortress serves an assortment of cuisine. The culinary team is headed by Executive Chef Asanka Wickremesinghe. The hotel has many dining options - the White restaurant, Salty Snapper seafood restaurant, a fine dining venue complete with a wine cellar and a vibrant tea lounge. Director Food & Beverage Asela Rajakaruna has been with the hotel since its inception. He explained, “At the Fortress we offer you a choice of succulent buffets and signature a la carte dishes. Our three-way prawn dish is the signature seafood dish. We also serve a ‘curry plate’- consisting of Sri Lankan rice, vegetables and mutton curry. We offer custom made menus for our destination weddings, as the hotel has many places to capture magical photographs. Our cellar is stocked with vintage wines, and we have a special wine pairing dinner for those who discern a higher level of taste and culinary elegance”.

The hotel is one of the few venues with qualified female butlers. In addition to local cuisine the Fortress entices guests with an outdoor Teppanyakki grill, sea food market style buffet, an exotic Indian night and a pulsating hopper night where Sri Lankan cuisine is showcased in all its culinary glory. The crab curry and pork curry are standout dishes. Years ago the hotel elevated its dining status by creating a spectacular dessert featuring an opulent aquamarine.

The hotel has an award winning spa, with six treatment rooms to refresh and rejuvenate your body and mind. A qualified Ayurvedha doctor is available for consultation. Another beautiful travel memory is the stilt fishermen of Koggala. The fishermen patiently sit on their wooden stilts and is a unique memory for any guest. The beachfront garden is the best location to take in the brilliant sunset, as the sky is transformed into a myriad of colours before the moon conquers the night sky. During dinner the reflection of the moon on the water of the swimming pool is a soothing visual.

The Fortress has something to offer every age group. It is a refreshing oasis that must be slowly discovered and delightfully cherished.