Old seafarer’s hospital turned heritage hotspot
What is now Colombo’s #1 heritage hotspot used to be a hospital for the staff of the Dutch East India Company. One of Fort’s oldest and sturdiest structures, no costs were spared to ensure the safety and comfort of the soldiers and seafarers that were treated here. Facilities were ‘top-end’ for the time. The airy wards were grouped around large, open courtyards and patients were provided with reed mats, the most critically ill even got straw mattresses, a luxury in those days.
Where the hospital beds were, you now find Colombo’s most fashionable cafes, restaurants and shops. Dutch Hospital caters to the Fort office crowd and wandering tourists but also makes for a popular hangout spot (with free wifi!) for anyone looking for a bit of shade in the heat of the day.
What locals like
Splurge on some of the best crab you can get on the Island at the Ministry of Crab. For some live music and a local beer check out the Taphouse Bar at the courtyard. We also like the Heladiv Teaclub, a modern take on the old concept of a tea salon, re-introducing the art of drinking tea. And while you’re at the hospital grounds, buy some fair trade or locally made handloom sarongs at Barefoot or treat yourself to an Ayurveda massage at Spa Ceylon.