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Hot List 2005

Galle Fort Hotel, Galle 
$$$$

28 Church Street

Galle
Sri Lanka

Tel: 94 91 223 2870

Part Ian Schraeger, part Somerset Maugham, this 14-room hotel is in a seventeenth-century Dutch merchant's house in the heart of Sri Lanka's historic, now-hip Galle Fort. Owners Karl Steinberg and Christopher Ong, exacting guests themselves, have trained the young staff to abandon Oriental bows in favor of genuinely great service—plumbing problems were resolved on the spot, and meals were served in record time. Ong oversees a daily menu of Asian favorites that draws deserved raves from across the island, particularly a kung pao chicken that elevates the take-out classic to haute cuisine. Dutch antiques fill the rooms, no two of which are alike. In-room Thai massages match Bangkok's finest, but guests must come prepared for occasional power failures (although the hotel's generator kicks in quickly).
When to go: Avoid May through July, when temperatures sizzle and skies drizzle.
Which room to book: The two-story, antiques-rich Admiral Cheng Ho Suite
Amenities: Bar/lounge, Pool, 24-hour Room Service
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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