The Fort Bazaar sits amidst the island’s most magnificent colonial settlement, Galle Fort, whose very foundations date back over 400 years. Ringed by tall impenetrable walls made from coral, granite and lime that have remained intact for centuries, the fort’s abundant colonial villas brandishing features from the Portuguese, Dutch and British eras sit alongside religious buildings of various faiths, peeling spice warehouses, a shaded court square and a Dickensian library.

Our hotel is located along Church Street, one of the fort’s most visually appealing thoroughfares. The front part of the hotel was formerly the home of a merchant who dealt in spices and gems, and dates back to the 1800s; the thick walls and graceful arches pay homage to the craftsmen of the time. When we started renovating the property it was in a terrible condition, however we managed to rescue some of the original teak rafters and used them to make our bar and for the cinema room.