Last Updated on March 14, 2022
A luxury 5 Star hotel on Sri Lanka’s southwestern coastline
After nearly two long years of living with Covid, finally, restrictions are lifting and the world of travel is beginning to open up again. For many years I have longed to visit Sri Lanka and finally, my dreams were becoming a reality, so with my tickets booked and my suitcase packed I headed to Heathrow airport where I took a direct flight to Colombo Sri Lanka and then on to Galle on the south-west coast.
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An Introduction to the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel – Galle
My trip began at the stunning 5-star Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel situated 155 km from Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, which took us approximately 2.5 hours, to get to in a taxi via the southern expressway highway. This fabulous hotel sits on a hillock overlooking the Indian Ocean, three miles west of the picturesque port of Galle on Sri Lanka’s breathtaking south-western coastline. We were driven into a sweeping driveway before entering the spacious and airy modern Porte cochère.
The hotel is beautifully designed by renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, who was among the most influential Asian architects of his generation, so this hotel is a real treat for architecture lovers!
From the foyer, you climb a magnificent drum-shaped spiral staircase and sculpture which depicts Dutch and Singhalese warriors re-enacting the Battle of Randeniya, and was designed by Bawa’s friend Laki Senanayake.
At the top of the staircase, you are able to take in the property’s magnificent oceanfront outlook, which cleverly merges the interior with the outside and beyond, extending down to the rugged rocks and sandy palm tree-lined beach below. The sea is inhospitable and you are not advised to swim here, but the views are to die for.
We received a warm Sri Lankan welcome and sat on the terrace where we were provided with a refreshing drink and time to take in the stunning vista and feel the warmth of the sunshine to the backdrop sounds of crashing waves.
This low-rise hotel boasts an elegant interior and exterior offering subtle memories of Moorish palaces and colonial villas. It embodies tropical modernism with contrasting textures in muted sandy shades, cream coloured pillars, polished concrete, wooden floors, modernist furniture and contemporary artwork. The long passageways are capacious and tranquil and run alongside vibrant green grass mounds strewn with giant boulders.
There are two alluring swimming pools and a children’s paddling pool, comfortable sun loungers with umbrellas and clean beach towels are provided. We tended to sit by the lower pool on the beautifully kept green lawn, which is flanked by palm trees with access to the beach and a view of the lapping waves and occasional visits from local wildlife including pretty small white storks and inquisitive iguanas.
For those who like to keep active and entertained, there is a pool table, a floodlit tennis court (with racquets and balls available) and a fully equipped gym. There is a Spa with a separate Ayurveda wing, which offers a selection of super relaxing treatments at affordable prices, the perfect way to really unwind after a long flight. I had a blissful Balinese Full Body Massage, which I can highly recommend.
Rooms at the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel, Galle.
There are 85 bedrooms; Luxury Rooms, Themed Suites and Superior Suites. Each charming and comfortable room is stylishly designed and offers sumptuous luxury with rich wooden furnishings, polished wood floors, grand beds, crisp white linen sheets, double sinks, wardrobe, a good selection of bathroom products packed in cute eco-friendly fabric bags, air conditioning, telephone, good Wi-Fi, TV, fridge and mini bar, fluffy towelling robes, and flipflops.
Plus, tea making facilities and a fresh coffee machine, which in my opinion makes all the difference. Our ample sized balcony provided impressive views of the hotel gardens and the ocean beyond. The rooms are cleaned daily and there is 24 -hour room service and a laundry service. Plus, if you really want extra pampering there is a Butler service available.
Dining at the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel Galle
There are several bars and different dining choices around the hotel. The decorous Cinnamon Room provides a fine dining option, which is only open for dinner and specialises in seafood delicacies.
Situated alongside the restaurant is the Coats of Arms Bar and Cinnamon Terrace which provide magnificent views of the coastline. This elegantly designed bar has an old-style charm and features a timeless piece of art – showcasing the flags of British and Sri Lankan origins – created by the famous batik designer Ena de Silva.
It’s the perfect setting for enjoying a drink from their menu which offers an extensive range of cocktails, mocktails, wines and beers. Look out for cricket bats on the walls which have been signed by the Sri Lankan cricket team who often stay at Jetwing Lighthouse during match time as the hotel is close to Galle’s famous cricket ground.
Nihal’s is named after their world-renowned executive chef, Nihal Senanayake, who brings his expertise to the table serving global cuisine in a tropical setting, this lovely airy restaurant overlooks the lower pool and the rolling green lawns. Alternatively head to Lorenzo’s Pizza Bar which provides a taste of Italy offering a wide selection of meat, seafood, vegan, vegetarian dishes and pizzas with meals suitable for kids.
We ate breakfast and dinner in the Cardamom Café (open 24 hours a day), which has the option to sit indoors in the comfort of the air conditioning or out on the terrace with a lovely view of the coast and amidst the ocean breeze.
Breakfast is a generous buffet with an enticing selection of hot and cold options including fresh fruit, juices, yoghurts, pastries, bread, Sri Lankan curries and eggs made to order. My favourite was a traditional Sri Lankan egg hopper, which is a bowl-shaped rice pancake with a lightly spiced cooked egg in it… delicious!
For dinner, we enjoyed their excellent four-course set menu which changed each evening. Imaginative, beautifully presented dishes incorporating flavours from around the world, alongside fragrant traditional Sri Lankan curries which we particularly grew to love.
You can also choose from the extensive menus that include main courses, light refreshments, kids’ meals, and a Heart Healthy Menu with wholesome vegan and vegetarian delights. If you, as we did like wine with your meal there is a selection of reasonably priced imported wines available.
If it’s a special celebration or romance you’re after Jetwing Lighthouse have got it sewn up with their bespoke Signature Dining experiences…BBQs on their rocky shores, an intimate meal for two in their gazebo, Spa or your own room or perhaps a champagne breakfast overlooking the ocean?
Things to do nearby in Galle
Jetwing Lighthouse is ideally situated for exploring Sri Lanka’s southwestern coastline with its beautiful beaches, shimmering blue waters and phenomenal scenery. There’s plenty to see and do, from cooking experiences and museums to visiting Turtle Farm and Hatcheries or whale watching. Unawatuna is a popular palm tree-lined beach with a coral reef south of Galle which is nestled in a nearby jungle there are lots of beach cafes, shops and restaurants.
I also recommend a visit to Mirissa, a small town with a lovely beach, which has coconut strewn headland called Coconut Hill – perfect for those seeking the ideal Instagramable location!
Or take a rural tour through the Sri Lankan villages, verdant countryside, inky-blue lakes and paddy fields in neat squares. But be sure to visit Galle’s magnificent 17th-century fort which was founded by the Portuguese and expanded by the Dutch. It sits on a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. Immerse yourself in the charming culture of this historic place, walk along its stone-walled battlements and wander through gateways and bastions. Then take time to relax and enjoy the numerous restaurants, bars, cafés and browse in the attractive craft boutiques.
Jetwing Lighthouse is an exceptional hotel which has pays extraordinary attention to detail and regardless of its size it doesn’t ever seem impersonal, but what made it really special was the charming and immaculate Sri Lankan service.
Perfect for couples, families or groups of friends.
Next stop Yala Safari Park and Jetwing Yala.
Dadella, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka