I stayed The Tea Factory in February this year, accompanying an old friend who was visiting Sri Lanka with her children - my rating is based on the overall experience, including kids' activities etc.
Cresting the steep, winding drive up to the property at dusk led to a wonderful first impression, seeing the hotel brightly lit up and giving off an air of a warm welcome on a cool and windy evening. The impression turned out to be quite accurate and the memory that stayed with me even more than the unique interior of this converted working factory was the warmth and hospitality of the hotel's staff, who went out of their way to look after from start to finish, from the greeting upon our arrival to the send-off upon our departure…
This has to be one of the most striking hotel interiors anywhere in the world, with its combination of high ceilings and polished wooden floors, set off against wrought-iron staircases and original tea factory machinery dotted here and there as highly unusual adornments. The atmosphere is reminiscent of colonial times and one almost expects to see a "pukka sahib" or two seated in the comfortable armchairs of the bar, sipping a cup of tea from the property's own tea-gardens and smoking a reflective pipe.
The hotel has also got to possess one of the most striking settings in the world, sitting above the clouds at an elevation of 6800ft, surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations with the hills of Nuwara Eliya in the distance - a stunning vista on a crisply cool, blue-skied day.
The hotel's rooms are not special - fairly standard fixtures and fittings, more colonial club than five star hotel, truth be told. The dish of fresh strawberries and cream provided as a welcoming treat was certainly more attractive than the bedclothes which, I hasten to add were clean and neat - just not particularly eye-catching.
Meals were also fairly standard buffet-fare in the main, though there was a set-menu three-course meal at dinner, which made up in quantity and aspiration for what it may possibly have lacked in élan. The breakfast buffet was superb, though, hitting all my sweet-spots in terms of fresh bread, bacon-and-eggs, the local pol symbol and good coffee in amongst a plentiful selection of other local and western offerings.
There was plenty for the kids to do, too, from pony rides to hikes to mini-golf to what was undoubtedly the highlight - donning traditional garb and plucking your own tea leaves from the mini tea garden and watching them being turned into the drinkable stuff in the mini tea factory. A very nice touch to round off the experience too, in the form of a packet of your tea to take away with you. The Indonesian spa on the premises provided a decent range of massage options, as well.
I would recommend the hotel as a unique experience, with decent food and lodging, made all the nicer by genuinely hospitable service.
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- Also Known As:
- Heritance Tea Factory Hotel Nuwara Eliya
- Tea Factory Nuwara Eliya
- Tea Factory Hotel Nuwara Eliya