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Fort Hammenhiel - A view from our expert author


Possibly Sri Lanka’s most unusual hotel, this 330-year-old octagonal Dutch fort is isolated in the middle of a lagoon.

The 330-year-old octagonal Dutch fort, Fort Hammenhiel occupies a small island a short boat ride away which is now open to visitors. Legend says that it gained its odd name as the Dutch occupiers thought the tiny island resembled the heel of a ham, which was how they viewed a chart of Sri Lanka (when tipped on its side as it was often mapped). It was formerly a prison and a quarantine station before being transformed into to one of Sri Lanka’s most unusual hotels.

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