By Josh Cahill
Sri Lanka is a place everyone should visit. It has stunning beaches, beautiful and warm hearted people and mouth-watering cusine. All these qualities can also be found at all of the Jetwing properties throughout Sri Lanka and especially at the The Lighthouse in Galle.
The sea at your doorstep and the legendary Galle Fortress to your right makes the hotel a very unique home to every and any kind of traveller. It is family friendly, very spacious and the little town of Galle famous for its fort and cricket games is just a short tuktuk ride away.
As soon as you enter the hotel you will be straight away presented with the history of the fourth biggest town in Sri Lanka. The staircase explains in a very artistic way the arrival of Lourenço de Almeida, the Portugese Explorer who conquered the city in 1505.
Welcome to Galle's best hotel!
...and now let me tell you why!
Once you arrive in the lobby a group of happy staff will throw themselves at you (in a decent way of course) and try to cater to your every need and desire. After being handed a welcome drink and being checked in at the same time, I can say that I was distracted by the amazing view of the sea and the noise of the waves breaking against the rocks.
The lobby is separated from the sea only by a huge glass wall and the view is truly stunning, you can walk out and sit on the huge terrace and enjoy the sea before heading up to your room. It's an amazing welcome which makes you feel comfortable instantly.
The staff will go the extra mile for you!
One thing to note is that there are two different reception areas, the upstairs area is the one for check-ins and the one for check-outs is downstairs, right at the entry point, which makes it more convenient for people arriving and departing the hotel. It prevents the lobby from being too crowded especially during peak times. This is definitely something I enjoyed while I was offered fresh towels and a nice welcome drink.
...with a view to die for!
The rooms are very spacious and kept in a traditional way. A huge king-sized bed, a desk, flatscreen TV, safe, a mini bar and a very nice bathroom with shower and bath tub. If you request an Ocean View Room you will be blessed with the smell of the sea and a beautiful sunset that you can enjoy from your own balcony. Yes, the view is especially unique. Sitting on the balcony, listening to the waves breaking on the rocks, that was my favourite thing to do, especially during sunrise or sunset.
You will feel like home, you have everything you need provided for you and this is what I liked the most. Free WiFi is also provided so you can stay connected with your loved ones all over the world or simply work from your desk with the ocean view. Jetwing are also very big on sustainability so they had accents of being eco-friendly all over the room, and also an information packet on their environmental policies and projects which I found really interesting.
What does the Lighthouse have to offer?
Oh believe me, you won't get bored at the Jetwing Lighthouse. There is definitely something for everyone but let's go through their facilities:
Yes, there's not just one massive pool but two huge pools that are part of the hotel. The brand new one is located between the new Spa wing and the sea and reminded me of an official Olympic pool in terms of its size. It's a great hang out area with the restaurant Nihal's just behind it and a lot of room for kids and families to play.
A modern, fully equipped fitness center is at your service and access is available to all hotel guests.
If you are a fan of Steffi Graf or Pete Sampras then you might wanna swap some balls over the net and show off with your skills. Tennis is always a great game to play, but only if you can handle the Sri Lankan heat!
THE JETWING SPA
The Spa at The Lighthouse is located right next to the huge pool and near Nihal's, the Lighthouse's outstanding restaurant. It's a beautiful space, light and airy and the open plan lets both the breeze and the sunlight come through the massage and treatment rooms.
There's even a 'wet area' with a steam room and a plunge pool. There are so many different massages and treatments available that you'll probably wish that you had the time (and the money) to try them all. They offer all the usual massage treatments (reflexology, Shiatsu, Thai etc.) but you should also try their traditional Ayurvedic methods that's so popular throughout both India and Sri Lanka. You can even enjoy three, four or five day spa packages or an 'Adam and Eve' couples spa experience, with all day treatments for both of you and then a candlelit dinner served next to the plunge pool.
Are you hungry?
...the Jetwing BBQ will blow your mind and rock your taste buds!
The Lighthouse is huge and there are loads of different places to satisfy your hunger and your thirst. I was shown all of these great places but unfortunately since I only spent one night there I wasn't able to try them all!
Their main restaurant is called The Cardamom Cafe, and is a huge space on the first floor of the hotel next to the check-in area. You can choose to sit inside where there are air-conditioned seats or like me, enjoy the seats on the terrace where you can enjoy the cool sea breeze and the beautiful view.
This is where the breakfast buffet is served and also their occasional seafood BBQ buffet for dinner which was absolutely amazing! As soon as you step in you notice the huge spread of food on offer and think "how can I possibly eat all of this?".
Prawns! Sri Lankian seafood is the best =)
There's a massive selection of entrees, canapes, and different types of food: Japanese, Indian, Sri Lankan, European, it just goes on and on. There's even an entire separate dessert buffet.
Then, you head outside and there are about six to eight different BBQ stations with everything you could ask for - meat and vegie skewers, pork, beef and chicken chops, lots of different types of kebabs, fried rice and noodle stations, and all the types of seafood you could ever ask for. I was lucky enough to have a private table by the cliffside organised for me with complimentary cocktails and my own waiter, talk about fantastic service!
Fresh local quality makes the difference!
There are also lots of other great options around the hotel. I recommend Nihal's which is open from breakfast through to dinner and serves really yummy food, and it's right by the pool so you can chill out and have a a beer or a cocktail there too during Happy Hour.
Anchor Bar and Grill is located next to the first pool and serves great drinks and snacks in case you get hungry after a swim. There's also The Cinnamon Room which is their fine dining restaurant only open for dinner, and specialises in seafood. And lastly there's the Coat of Arms Bar which is more like a sports lounge where you can relax in front of a big screen or play pool or darts.
Discover one of the most exciting places in Sri Lanka!
The Lighthouse is located in a great spot in Galle, close enough to be a few minutes drive away from the Galle fort, the train station and the town, but also far enough to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
It has amazing ocean front views pretty much everywhere you look. The lobby has a great staircase that displays the heritage and culture from the Portugese occupation and Dutch colonialism of Galle through beautiful metal sculptures.
Galle Fort is something not to be missed when visiting this old colonial town, and when walking through the old Dutch churches, museums and on the old cobblestone streets it's easy to feel like you're in the middle of somewhere in Europe rather than Sri Lanka.
The ramparts all around the fort and the iconic lighthouse is a perfect mix of natural beauty and architectural history. There's always a nice mix of both tourists and locals enjoying the pebbled beaches although only the young local boys seemed to have the courage to dive from the tall rock formations into the ocean!
Overall Galle is a super charming town and the gem of Sri Lanka's southern provinces. It used to take around five hours to reach Galle from Colombo but since the new motorway opened this has been cut down to around two hours travel time, so there is absolutely no excuse not to visit Galle and the surrounding areas!
Disclaimer: The stay at the Jetwing Lighthouse was complimentary but this review is based on my own opinion of working in the hospitality industry for several years.
Thanks for the great time and I really enjoyed my stay. Special thanks for the tour and the execptional hospitality.