Mango House is a chic boutique hotel at Leyn Baan Cross Street. It's hidden so well, you might just walk right past it if you didn't keep your eyes peeled.
For those of you who are actually interested in visiting the place, it's almost at the end of Leyn Baan Street onto your right side. Look for the tall, beige walls and a shock of bougainvillea flowers creeping through the top. This is one of the (many) little details that piqued my interest and made me walk in. The entrance is so pretty, it cannot be missed- unless you don't look, that is.
They don't really have a cafe or anything like that, but they're open to visitors who aren't interested in booking a room. They've got a one-page menu with simple drinks like juices, tea and about 2-3 wine options. Or maybe it was one? I cannot recall. We'll start with the drinks first.
The first time I went, it was close to sundown and a glass of wine was procured, for a mere Rs. 500. It isn't top quality wine, of course, but it's decent enough. Besides, all the quality you want, you'll receive in the form of the spectacular ambience they've taken such good care in maintaining.
I'd have liked to opt for another glass, but we already managed to finish an entire bottle during our little getaway here, so we decided on the simpler stuff.
This photo of the Lime Soda (Rs. 200) makes it look aeons better than how it tasted, to be frank. It's an honest glass of freshly squeezed lime paired with soda water and zero sugar. In my latest review of Indian Hut, I noticed that they too, chose to skimp out on the sugar, so I'm assuming that's just a #Galle thing.
Anyways, the lime juice was fresh and a great decision on such a hot day. If you like yours on the sweet side, just ask for some sugar syrup. It's also served with a paper straw; a small detail, but a good one nonetheless.
We got a pot of tea at Rs. 250- yet another commercial item, for it was simply just a tea bag steeping in a pot of boiling water. The pot is big enough for two persons, and you get a side of ginger cookies as well. I won't elaborate much on this, it's straightforward and honestly nothing to write reams about.
The reason why you need to purchase something is simply so you have a pass to enjoy the ambience. It's not expensive, and is definitely worth the small price you pay. Now, let's move on to the ambience.
The place is a spawling Dutch-colonial style building that first started off as a cinnamon factory. It was then refurbished and now houses seven boutique rooms, if you're interested in booking one. We reviewed the place a few years ago, and you can read all about it here.
The ambience here is an eclectic mix of linens, lots of handloom, quirky posters reminiscing old Bollywood, and plants everywhere. I love how they've used a lot of South Asian inspiration thanks to their posters and elegant, rich saris draped on the wall. Why saris? No clue, but they definitely contribute to the overall effect.
There are also tons of ornaments strewn about, so watch out for those little details. The furniture is mostly comprised of antiques, you can tell from they way they're crafted.
This is my favourite spot in the entire place. It's tucked in a corner of their yard and you can just laze around on the hammock or the cushioned seats outside and while away the warm, Galle afternoons. It's also incredibly quiet here. The soft breeze makes the leaves rustle, so that's all you have as your background music. It's got a strangely calm aura to it and you'll automatically find yourself speaking in soft tones subconsciously, almost as if you don't want to break the still reverie.
There's a gardener who pops in and out on occasion, and minds his own business quietly tending to the plants. The yard is immaculately kept thanks to him.
The manager and occasionally one server will be present, but they choose to remain hidden from sight lest your experience here should be disturbed. You can find them in a corner, inside the place. They're friendly and quick with the orders.
I am in love with this place. It's beautifully decorated with rustic elements and somehow everything ties perfectly together to form some sort of post-colonial, South Asian pop culture influenced contemporary sanctuary. This is probably the most hipster sentence I've ever written, but I can't seem to phrase it any other way....
But if you're ever in the area and want to read a book or something in peace- this is your spot, folks.
Mango House is a boutique hotel hidden carefully down Leyn Baan Cross Street in Galle. It's up there on the list of the most aesthetically pleasing places to visit in the Galle Fort.
Mango House is a wonderful, simple little retreat in the Galle Fort. It's a villa-meets-boutique-hotel, cosy, restful and not so expensive.
As you enter the Fort, turn into the lane on your left - Church Street. Head right down past the Church, and opposite the Commercial Bank ATM you'll spot Layn Baan Cross Street. The villa is halfway down this road on your right.
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