Designed by the celebrated Sri Lankan architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa, the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle is considered one of several masterpieces by him in the island. Its location on a rocky outcrop, in just the type of place where a real lighthouse should be, provides dramatic seascapes by day and memorable sunsets by evening. Combined with the finesse of the hotel’s design, facilities and first class food, it offers every ingredient necessary for a terrific holiday.
The impressive lines of the building shapes combined with bright colours and natural surrounds are eye-catching – the green grass, the long corridors which at night are softly light up; the changing shades of blue from the swimming pool, to the sea, with coconut palms swaying in the breeze. Offering complete relaxation it allows its residents to explore forests, mangroves or even the Galle Fort making the Lighthouse as one of those places you leave with great reluctance.
After being presented with three lovely blue water lilies (locally called the manel flower, one of the national symbols of Sri Lanka) one is led to the rooms. As expected, they have all the modern conveniences of a hotel of this nature and are stylishly decorated in the warm natural tones found elsewhere in the grounds. The concept of having the bathroom as a centrepiece fully open to the rest of the room, with an optional sliding door for modest guests, creates a feeling of greater space and airiness. The blue wooden window shutters open to reveal a private view of the sea beyond. Watching the sunset with a bottle of wine on the balcony it feels like you are the only one in the hotel.
Food is another of the Lighthouse’s high points, with all the hallmarks of a top-class restaurant from fine a la carte to above-average buffet. The resident chef at the Lighthouse is a local from a neighbouring village, who has worked in restaurants his whole life from Colombo to Dubai, and it clearly shows. The set-menu lunch started with a basket of freshly baked bread, followed by an elegantly presented entrée of curry-marinated chicken fillet and crispy cucumber served in glass-like strands, with mango yoghurt dip. The main course was a choice of grilled maple-glazed pork chops with a delicate port wine sauce and caramelised apple wedges. The alternative of seer fish medallions in lobster essence and mustard sauce was as equally appetising. Both came with miniature potatoes and assorted vegetables. The dessert, orange cheesecake with butterscotch sauce, was a superb finish to the meal, light and refreshingly tangy – it had a real citrus zing.