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.
- 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