Originally built in 1684 as the local headquarters of the Dutch colonists, it was finally converted in 1865 into the New Oriental Hotel. After being run by a Dutch family for over a century, the hotel passed to the Aman group. The property tells beautiful stories of its past, with a small museum dedicated to the hotel’s previous and eccentric owner, filled with her photos, antiques and mementoes including that of her scandalously, much younger, local lover. In our experience, it is too often the case that when a great hotel passes hands, its heritage is stripped in favour of modernity. This is not the case here, as Aman has lovingly restored its old-world grandeur throughout – we were charmed by the smell of freshly polished wood, wafted along by the veneered ceiling fans. Attentive staff in crisp uniforms glided stealthily across the floors to cater to our every whim, avoiding the carefully positioned antique furnishings along the way. And beyond the vast public lounges, we found solace in the property’s secluded paradise for its residents – complete with an open air yoga studio, part of a 200-year-old tropical garden. The absolute highlight here is the magnificent hotel spa, home to ‘The Baths’, transporting you back to an age of ‘taking the waters’, the ultimate way to relax and unwind from a long day’s sight-seeing and exploring.

www.aman.com/resorts/amangalla