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Even by Galle Fort’s standards, there are few villas as sizeable as Ambassador’s House, a seventeenth-century villa nestled within this UNESCO-certified old town. Gloriously decadent and nostalgic, this five-bedroom mansion built in the Dutch colonial style exhibits soaring ceilings, thick walls, highly polished floors and a pleasing rooftop garden.
In a former life, Ambassador’s House was favoured by the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Pakistan, Iraq and Bangladesh for entertaining, and with such generous proportions it’s easy to see why. A huge living room, open on three sides, welcomes you into the villa and spills onto a double-colonnaded veranda. Across a courtyard, deeper into the villa, is a dining room furnished with a grand table for ten. Three ensuite bedrooms open onto an elongated pool whilst a further two ensuite bedrooms are situated upstairs, with direct access onto an expansive dual-level roof terrace, shaded from the sun.
The villa suits company, and is a fabulous place for families, inter-generational groups and clusters of friends to relax and unwind. There is ample space for everyone to find their own little corner for stealing away or for socialising, depending on the mood. The personable staff team tend to every request and ensure that the youngest family members are kept entertained; there’s a fan-cooled TV room flanking the pool terrace and the villa is equipped with a number of kids’ facilities including stair gates and games.
From its prime location within atmospheric Galle Fort, you only need step out of the villa’s front door to regale in the history of this fascinating town with its narrow cobbled streets lined with charming centuries-old homes, museums, tiny boutiques, restaurants, ice cream parlours and cafes. Watching the sunset from the fort’s grass-tufted ramparts, as cricket games start up, is the best way to end the day. Galle’s golden beaches are only a ten-minute drive away.
Hugely spacious historic house
Ideal for families and groups
Very well set up for kids
Supersized roof terrace
Scattered seating areas
"What an incredible place - the Ambassador's House certainly lived up to the photos online. The property is absolutely stunning and much bigger than we imagined, it accommodated our two families beautifully. The house acted as a fabulous oasis to keep popping back to as we explored Galle and the surrounding area. Thank goodness for the wonderful pool during a partially hot spell. The staff were truly brilliant and accommodated our every whim. The selection of food and availability was superb. Nothing was too much trouble and we had a clearly memorable holiday for all of us, hard one to top I am sure.
Real time availability
- Early bird enjoys up to 15% discount when booking 120 days in advance.
- Last minute bookings enjoy up to 15% discount when checking in before 23-Jun-2019.
- Sumptuous fan-cooled living space spilling onto the deep front veranda, furnished with sofas
- Separate Dining Room with a Dining Table for 10 with adjoining separate kitchen
- Middle Courtyard with Round Wooden Table with four chairs
- Fan-cooled lounge TV lounge with 42-inch screen, DVD player, built-in sofa and views over the plunge pool
- Dual-level, flower beds with bougainvillea and furnished with sun loungers.
- Pavilion with built-in sofas on the top level
- Gorgeous courtyard 4m x 11m plunge pool
- Pockets of tropical gardens, including inner courtyard garden beside the lounge room
- Four-poster king-size bed and rattan planter’s lounge
- Antique wardrobe, table and chairs
- Private living space and direct access to roof terrace
- Soaring ceilings and polished timber floors
- Air conditioned and fan-cooled
- Linen mosquito net
- En suite with moulded tub, twin sinks and his-and-hers showers
- Two four-poster double beds
- Soaring ceiling and polished timber floors
- Direct access via private veranda to the roof terrace
- Antique wardrobe and furnishings
- Air conditioned and fan-cooled
- Linen mosquito net
- En suite with rain shower
Ground Floor Bedrooms
- Three double bedrooms are located on the ground floor, with access through pretty archways onto the plunge pool
- Tranquil and light
- King-size four-poster beds and Dutch-style wardrobes
- Air conditioned and fan-cooled
- Linen mosquito nets
- En suite bathroom with rain shower
Seemingly timeless, Galle Fort’s richly historic walls have given shelter to a dizzying array of merchants, traders, colonialists and foreign nationals over the years, who have all left their indelible mark on this seventeenth century Dutch fortress. Narrow streets bearing English and Dutch names exhibit an astounding concentration of colonial properties whose delicate fretwork, magnificent columns and ornate plasterwork constantly inspire.
Walks atop the fort’s grassy western ramparts are a highlight for many and these stoic walls, mere footsteps from your front door, are the venue for boisterous cricket matches, couples stealing private moments together and kamikaze jumpers launching themselves into the sea below. Museums showcasing the fort’s rich history plus many restaurants, street side cafes and independent boutiques are a five-minute walk away.
Things to do
Your villa supervisor has a wealth of information about nearby places of interest and will help arrange transport and make any bookings required. Do also ask the staff about the local area. Many of them live nearby and will be able to give an interesting insight into some of the fascinating aspects of Sri Lankan life.
In the meantime, here is a taste of the many and varied activities on offer within reach of the villa:
- Experience the living museum that surrounds you by taking a relaxing wander around Galle Fort’s charming backstreets; stop and chat with locals, admire the fort’s many heritage buildings, visit the growing collection of boutiques and finish off by watching life playing out on top of the ramparts at sunset.
- Take a trip into Galle town to experience the multi-sensorial spectacle of the fish, fruit and vegetable markets and browse the colourful roadside wares of peddlers on its buzzing Main Street.
- Visit buzzy Unawatuna Bay for a relaxing bathe on a curve of milky white beach. Many rustic restaurants, coffee shops and bars can all be found here and they all offer a little diversion from the warm turquoise sea.
- Hidden well away from the road and below the mystical Rumassala Hill is secretive Jungle Beach where you can enjoy snorkelling and relaxing all to yourself just a ten-minute drive from Galle. Drop into the adjacent Japanese Pagoda on your way there.
- Take a scenic bicycle ride through the emerald green paddy fields with Idle Tours. Enjoy the ride at your own pace and gain a unique perspective of village life before wrapping up at the beach with a glorious cool-down swim.
- Yatagala Temple, just inland from Unawatuna, is an ancient Buddhist temple that’s best visited on a full moon holiday when white clothed devotees flock here clutching prayer flags and bunches of flowers.
- Head to Koggala in the late afternoon to embark upon a boat trip atop the glorious lagoon to look for birds, visit spice gardens, watch fishermen and experience the sun setting over the water as you slowly meander this picturesque waterway, just 12km from Galle.
- In Habaraduwa, close to Koggala, is a turtle hatchery that the kids will love. For a small fee you can admire the resident turtles and even watch as the hatchlings are released into the sea.
- The late Martin Wickramasinghe, a famous local author, was once a resident of Koggala. You can now visit his old home in town, which has been made into an interesting folk museum.
- Around 20 minutes drive from Galle is a tea estate, whose tealeaves are the closest of any in Sri Lanka to the sea. Handunugoda Tea Factory is not only famous for its black tea but also for its white tea, which retails as some of the world’s most expensive. Any tour of the tea factory includes a tasting session and a slice of homemade cake.
- Eat Out! Galle Fort has many great restaurants including Amangalla, Fortaleza and The Galle Fort Hotel, which are also great places for sunset cocktails. Other atmospheric eating spots in the fort include Pedlar’s Inn Cafe and Mrs Khalid’s for excellent rice and curry.
- Other fabulous dining options beyond Galle Fort include Talpe Beach House, Tartaruga and Kingfishers at Unawatuna Beach, and the Wijaya Beach Restaurant, whose rooftop bar is an excellent spot for sunset cocktails and where the menu is reasonably priced and the sea beyond is a lovely place to swim.
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