Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Indian Ocean 2012

Hotel 6

Amangalla, Galle

Dating from 1865 and formerly known as the New Oriental, this grand old colonial hotel was acquired by Amanresorts in 2005 and renamed after both its new owner and its location. This property was priced at the top end of my budget - and that's putting it mildly! - but I was keen to experience a night there as it promised to be truly exceptional. In the end it was quite simply the finest hotel I'd ever stayed in, bar none, and I didn't have the slightest twinge of regret or guilt about this short, self-indulgent splurge.
  ABOVE: Amangalla from the street

Amangalla has to be experienced in order to be fully appreciated. It starts from the moment of arrival, when many of the staff and management turn out as a kind of welcome committee. It's the sort of place - and I had stayed at one or two like it in the past - where the outward signs of being a hotel are kept to an absolute minimum. There is no Reception desk, for example - that would be much too vulgar! The effect created is that of being a house guest in the private home of an extremely well-to-do friend. The standard of accommodation and food were exceptional, while the service went beyond even that. I was allocated a personal butler, who always seemed to be on hand to offer any assistance that I might require. Did I look as though I might be heading out for a walk? There he was with a bottle of chilled water, a map and bag to carry them in. Had I given any thought to dinner? He'd reserved a table for me, but I hadn't yet decided when I wanted to eat. "Don't worry about time, Sir, it's yours for the entire evening."

The experience continued right to the last moment, when staff and management again turned out in force to wave me off. Truly unforgettable!

Room 26

Public areas

The Library

The building contained a wonderfully atmospheric library, which in part was an informal museum of the hotel's history.

In: Thu 31 May 2012
Out: Fri 01 Jun 2012
Nights: 1
Room: 26 (Chamber)

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