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“A step back in time”
Review of The Hill Club

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The Hill Club
Ranked #7 of 29 Hotels in Nuwara Eliya
London
Level Contributor
136 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“A step back in time”
Reviewed 1 May 2013

The Hill Club is renowned for its historical value as being a gentlemans club for the colonials built by a English planter in 1876. You do need to be a member, or travel with a member of the club to stay here - but I beleive tourists do not need that stipulation. The hotel still observes the etiquettes of the olden days, with dinner time being a formal event which requires sprucing up for the occasison. The men have to wear dinner jackets and the ladies to be in evening wear... I have no objection to this - in fact I think it a lovely idea, however for this to be pulled off, they really need to maintain the same class and style as would have been there in the 1800's. The carpets, flooring, ceilings and furniture are worn, and the entire hotel looks so tired and neglected with a musty aura, and its appalling as its such a beautiful piece of Architecture of the time. The rooms and bathrooms are also pretty shabby, and a quick look around will tell you that it wouldn't take much to bring it back to its grandeur. The one wonderful perk was the hot water bottles that were tucked into your beds when the rooms were turned down for the night! Lovely! For those of you who don't kn ow it, Nuwara Eliya is in the Highlands of Sri Lanka and is also known as 'little England' due to its altitude and weather. So the hot water bottles were a lovely touch.

There are 2 bars, and in the olden days 1 bar was for gentlemen only and the other was for 'mixed' company. It still has the 'Mixed' sign but now both bars are open for all guests. There's a no cell phone policy in the dinning room and the reading room - again slightly pedantic, but in a way I can commend it. The hotel is said to be haunted, but I never got to the bottom of the story so cannot comment further on it.

Having said all this - the staff seem to be stuck in the same time warp - but I doubt they were as inefficient in those days. The hotel only has about 40 rooms, and still being served at meal times was like waiting for paint to dry. There was often atleast 15 minute intervals between serving the courses - and even though we had pre-ordered the food earlier in the day the staff still got it muddled up. The food however was good, they did a lovely tender lamb! Also their milkshakes are retty good! There was also a distinct difference in their mannerism and efficiency towards foreign guests...and the fawning was a little unpalatable.

If you are looking for a holiday with a difference - not your usual luxury spa's or B&B's this is a nice change. I had read the reveiws only the day before we arrived, so I was prepared for the worst, and though I was initially dissapointed as I could corroborate all the negative reveiws, I later chalked it down to an interesting experience - just not to be repeated unless they seriously refurbish the place and re-train their staff.

* Do a day trip to Horton plains and walk to worlds end. Its about a 4-6 hour walk (depending on your speed) but well worth it.
* Do a boat ride on Lake Gregory, you can hire the paddle boats for 2 people.

Room Tip: Ask for the Delux room - which is more roomy and at least its worth what you're paying for. N.B...
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
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3 Thank PurplewallLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2013

On a tour of Sri Lanka, stayed at the Hill Club with my mother, a lady who spent her honeymoon there with my late father during WWII whilst both serving with the Royal Navy. We were treated as honoured guests by the Manager and all members of staff, slept well in a comfortable suite and enjoyed the cosy ambience of log fire, bedroom heater (and hot water bottle!). The food was well prepared and presented, and the gardens immaculate.
Prospective guests should understand that as several reviewers on TA have mentioned, this is a private club which accepts temporary members, and if the rules are not to their taste they should perhaps book elsewhere.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
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2 Thank justamumm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ormskirk, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2013

When we arrived at the hill top we thought how quaint. Our room was over the foyer did not realise how bad this would be. The double bed was squashed in to the corner of the room and squeaked at every move.As we were there only one night and tired we decided to overlook the problems. Mistake. When we not long after settling that night other Guests arrived we heard the conversation. then they began hoovering I rang down to complain and they stopped. 4.30am next morning it all started up again.The evening meal was very expensive bit cold and tasteless. We left tired and hungry as we did not want to get stung on breakfast too. Dont go.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank CaroleCrystal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2013

Keep in mind that you are staying in a place that was opened in 1860 ! If you want the modern amenities you need to go to a Hilton or Sheraton,but there are none in Nuwara Eliya.In the Hill Club you still have authentic,maybe some might call it pretentious atmosphere of times gone by....The big advantage is,that they dont have Tour groups.Where else can you stay overnight in a living museum ? Really a must for Nuwara Eliya,and the men,dont forget your jacket and tie !

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank herblambrechter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 25 March 2013

We called ahead and reserved a room a few weeks in advance, but upon arrival we were told that the hotel was booked and they had no record of our reservation. The manager was completely rude and unhelpful and told us that the situation was our fault because we didn't get the name of the person we spoke to on the phone. Oh and on our way out we heard guests complaining that their bathroom was flooded so maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

Stayed March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Jen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviewed 25 March 2013

Lost our reservation, were completely unapologetic about the whole thing. As we were leaving, saw another guest complaining about her bathroom being flooded. Interior is rather shabby and doesn't live up to the exterior and gardens.

  • Stayed March 2013
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Helpful?
Thank ajayrkishore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2013

Dinner, accommodation and breakfast will set two of you back USD250. The club is owned by local business men and our USD250 was clearly used as a subsidy for their enjoyment. Double standards have always irked me but I was willing to bend because the throwback colonial ambiance makes a good first impression.... but the cracks soon appear... both dinner and breakfast were very disappointing summed up by tea being DIY with Dilmah in a sachet. With military efficiency everything closes at 23.00 including the billiard room and reading room. The water is not hot so no colonial tea planter hot bath experience. We regretted the decision to stay there. Quite the opposite of what we experienced at the Hill Range Club in Munnar, this one is the real thing.

Room Tip: The standard room we were offered was above the kitchen, you have no choice but to take the superior...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank nichf f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Hill Club

Property: The Hill Club
Address: 29 Grand Hotel Rd, Nuwara Eliya 22200, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Nuwara Eliya
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 29 Hotels in Nuwara Eliya
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Hill Club 3.5*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hill Club is an exclusive members only Club, established in 1876, by the British Planters and continues as a prestigious club in Nuwara Eliya, which is surrounded by Tea Estates. With the British Planters moving out, The Hill Club remained and still remains a Members ONLY club after having opened it doors to Srilankans. To sustain the Club and to maintain same, the Club was opened to temporary members ( Tourist) Traditions are still maintained where Gentleman is required to wear Suit for Dinner and a lady smartly dressed. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Hill Club Hotel Nuwara Eliya
Hill Hotel Nuwara Eliya
The Hill Hotel

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