It was our last night during our 15 day Sri Lanka trip (and how I wish we were here for longer) so we decided to splurge and get some luxury accommodations. As we were visiting Galle Fort, we knew we wanted to stay in an old colonial style building, because they have such an old world charm that both Cody and I really like. We found The Bartizan boutique hotel which has a nice sitting area off the third floor that overlooks the old rampart and has a view of the ocean.
While I am perfectly comfortable in cheap accommodations, sometimes it is nice staying in a better place. This was doubly so because although I’m writing this review from The Bartizan courtyard after checkout, we are about to embark on 38 hours of travel back home.
The hotel is comprised of three levels, with the top two levels having ocean views. We stayed in the courtyard room, which does not have an ocean view, but it was nice to have afternoon tea in the shade of the courtyard.
The hotel has a full staff, including doorman, chef, housekeeping et al. All the employees were quite friendly and they spoke excellent English. This is a nice change from our hotel in Unawatuna where trying to get answers to questions was like pulling teeth. You can read my review of that hotel here.
The 3rd floor terrace was a nice place to sit and look at the sea, especially around sunset. Although, that time is also when the rampart is the most crowded so you’re basically looking down on a throng of tourists admiring the view. If you wanted to have afternoon tea here instead of the courtyard, the staff will be more than accommodating.
We had taken a TukTuk from Unawatuna to Galle which was just about 20 minutes. The driver pulled right up to the front of the hotel and we proceeded to the check in counter located at the left of the courtyard. The entire hotel has a very open air feel which is nice and colonial.
The check-in attendant was friendly and welcomed us warmly. Even though we arrived about two hours before standard check-in time, the room was available so they let us have it early. While we were checking in, they presented us with a couple cold towels (very refreshing after being in the hot afternoon sun) and some fresh coconut water with lime.
I want to give special compliments to the property manager Andrew for making everything so streamlined, even though there was payment confusion with our booking (which tends to happen if you book online an hour before you show up).
The courtyard room at The Bartizan was small, yet comfortable and very well appointed. The queen size bed was the perfect firmness for us, and they had a good amount of pillows.
What really surprised me was that the entire minibar was complimentary. This wasn’t just your standard bottle of water and tea bags (although they did have that too) but rather multiple sodas, crackers, candy and nuts. This was a nice treat because it meant not having to go to the market and get stuff to snack on while we watch Netflix in the room. Don’t judge, sometimes after you’ve seen everything you just want to actually relax.
The bathroom was well done, and had toiletries. The amenities at The Bartizan were the best we’ve had during our stay in Sri Lanka. I also appreciated how good the water pressure was, something you don’t always think about when looking for a hotel on vacation.
The room led directly to the courtyard, which had café style seating and trees and ivy along the walls. We even had some gelato from Pedlar’s Inn Gelato (highly recommend) under the string lights in the evening.
Galle Fort, while beautiful, is quite small. You can walk the entire perimeter at a leisurely pace in about a half hour. Half that if you stop to look at the beautiful buildings and landmarks along the way. After we checked in and had a soda in the courtyard, we decided to walk along the rampart to the lighthouse. During the day there was near no crowd so it was great to take pictures, however later in the evening we encountered the most spectacular golden hour of our entire 2 week stay.
Right next to Galle lighthouse is a public beach partially under the shade of some large trees. Upon seeing this we walked back to the hotel, changed into our swimsuits, got some beach towels from the front desk, and made our way back to the beach. Lucky for us everything in Galle Fort is just 5 minutes or less walking.
On the east side of Galle Fort is the old Dutch hospital, which has been turned into a restaurant arcade and shopping center. We actually came here to get dinner at Taphouse RnR around 8pm which is a place we would recommend. You can also walk along Pedlar street, which cuts through Galle Fort and is dotted with cafes and clothing boutiques with some cute items.
The Bartizan serves a complimentary tea and cake to its guests from 3-5. So after an hour and a half at the beach we made our way back to enjoy a nice cup of tea and light sponge. While it’s not a full British style afternoon tea that you would get at The Peninsula Hong Kong, I’m not one to scoff at a complimentary anything so I was very pleased.
One of the nicest things we encountered during our stay here was the breakfast. It was included in our room reservation, but it was not a lukewarm buffet that you get at some cheaper hotels. No, upon check in we were also given a menu to fill out and hand back before the day was up to let the hotel know what we would want to eat.
All dishes come with tea/coffee, juice, bread and butter, as well as a plate of fresh fruit. Both Cody and I opted for the Avocado Bacon eggs benedict. The breakfast overall was quite good, although if I do have any complaints I would say the hollandaise sauce could use work. Maybe I am just spoiled since Cody’s recipe for Hollandaise Sauce is the best I’ve ever tasted.
Overall I was very pleased with our stay at The Bartizan Hotel in Galle Fort and would happily stay here again. I know you don’t really need more than a day to see all of Galle Fort but it is nice to walk around at night after the day trippers leave. Being in a nice hotel makes everything better, and it was needed to fully relax and prepare us for our 38 hours trip home.
I would also like to give a special shout out to Hamoud, the night concierge. During dinner Cody had tripped on an open gutter ditch and busted his toe open. While we could only do so much with restaurant napkins for the walk back, Hamoud went to the hotel’s first aid box and got us plasters, antiseptic, iodine gel, and cotton balls. I was extremely pleased with the immediate care he took to help us out. In fact, we were impressed with all the staff we encountered at The Bartizan.
Room Name: The Bartizan Hotel Courtyard Room
Room Comfort: 8/10
Air-Conditioned Rooms: Yes.
Breakfast Included: Yes
Pool On-Site: No
Maid Service: Yes
Recommended To Stay Here: Yes!
Disclaimer: Jet Set Together paid full price for our stay at the Bartizan Galle Fort and did not accept any payment for a review. The words expressed in this article are my honest opinion.