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“A Retreat we will Repeat”
Review of Ceylon Tea Trails

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Ceylon Tea Trails
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hatton
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 September 2013

We had an amazing 3 night stay at this salubrious, charming place. Treated like royalty. Perfect balance of colonial decadence and Sri Lankan kindness and warmth.
Highlights for us were the delicious food which reflects the sophisticated surroundings (every morning the Chef discusses the days menus with each guest personally) and the Tea Factory Tour with Andrew Taylor (he was a tea planter and this was his home). Andrew is a true gentleman with a passion for his subject.
We will return to this wonderful hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Jules S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 12 September 2013

The view of the hills from Norwood bungalow must rank with the finest in the world - I was totally mesmerised, and decided that the colonial tea planters probably found it ample compensation for exile from Blighty.The bungalow's own garden is also very attractive, with a stand of bamboo at the end of the drive which is nothing short of magnificent. There's also a pool if you are brave enough (temperatures in these hilly parts of Sri Lanka are a far cry from the coast).

Despite all this, it's a bit of an odd experience - it's like a home but it's not your home, because you are sharing it with other guests. And the super-attentive staff (except on arrival, when we were sort of abandoned while they negotiated with our driver about something) make you a bit self conscious. Having said that, the service is generally very good, with everything from your morning 'bed tea' to hot choc for the kids available at the twitch of an eyebrow. The quality (not to say the frequency!) of the food was fantastic - the chef will agree the day's menu with you, and has plenty of ideas - we found we were just happy to let him come up with the goods. Some nights a Sri Lankan banquet is available - well worth opting into. A well stocked drinks trolley stands available in the lounge.

A trip to the local tea factory is thrown in, and head honcho Andrew will entertain you with his well rehearsed tour. I wished I had known beforehand about some of the longer trips available from Norwood - they will fix you up with transport and a guide to climb Adam's Peak, for example. We might well have stayed an extra day for that (well, maybe one of us!).

The road trip up from Kandy is tortuous (tinhatted with an extremely rocky driveway to the bungalow), although with some sensational views - the colour of Castlereagh Lake is something I've never seen before and it will certainly stay in my memory. I would advise coming up by train to Hatton if you can. Staff told us that the driveway is due an upgrade, and that the property itself will be overhauled and extended soon.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Wyvernian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2013

We stayed here on our third leg of a weeks trip. Our house was called Castlereagh and had 5 bedrooms, 2 lounges, a swimming pool and lots of outdoor space.
Our room was huge with a big bathroom and an outside terrace with loungers. At breakfast the chef comes out to go through the evening menu with you to make sure you like what he will be cooking later. All the food we had was lovely and was eaten out on the verandah. The guests all dined at about the same time so it was great to get to know the others and find out about their travels around Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't good while we were there so we didn't use the pool or lounge around the garden. We did go for a 5mile walk around the paths (map provided) which was great for meeting the local children and there parents who work on the tea plantations. Take some sweets with you.
We loved staying here, the view across the lake, the rooms, the service, the relaxed atmosphere, everything about it (except the rain) was perfect.

Room Tip: The rooms at the back have a small garden area.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank lauralou911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2013

A long drive to get there, but boy was it worth it!

Luxurious, beautiful, fantastic views, superb staff.

I would have thought that this experience was quite unique, your own butler, lunch and dinner discussed with the chef at breakfast time.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Kevin K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2013

We booked two rooms at Norwood for our family of four. Both rooms were spacious though the boys' twin was even larger. Our double had a terrace. The room facilities were perfect. There was wi-fi throughout. Laundry is included - which was really helpful!

The hotel has a large terrace with fantastic views and two lounges. The grounds are lovely with magnificent bamboo. There is a gorgeous but freezing pool (towels if you brave it are provided). Just watch the leeches as one jumped onto my son's sandal!

Though the service is superb we were rather underwhelmed by our reception as we did not know what to do or where to go. We wandered around in a befuddled manner until we found the lounge. We were then presented with juice. After then it was perfect - the staff would come if you rang the bell or called. They were always walking through the areas asking if you wanted anything. From tea or hot chocolate to cocktails.

The chef comes and discusses the meals at the beginning of the day. You can go in within a broad time period. They made special dishes for the boys (simple pasta and chicken and chips!). The food included soups, tuna, salmon and cream cheese roulade and lovely cakes. Very European but there was a 10 Sri Lankan curry evening with varying degrees of heat. There is red or white wine by the glass - but they will top you up after. If you want an after dinner drink they will serve you or you can help yourself from the trolley.

If you can tear yourself away the trip to the tea factory is worthwhile.

Sadly the leaving was as awkward at our arrival. the staff came out - but we felt not to say goodbye or to help load the bags - but for tips. Surely at such an expensive place they should be paid well and guests can feel comfortable with leaving a tip in the room.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank MrNotty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TeaTrails, Brand Manager at Ceylon Tea Trails, responded to this reviewResponded 12 September 2013

Thank you for your generally kind comments on your stay at Tea Trails. We’re sorry for the disorganized welcome. We don’t have a front desk and usually liaise with the travel agent to establish the approximate arrival time to welcome guests. You had booked direct and we only had a UK mobile number, which we had difficulty reaching, hence the muddle. At departure, staff always come out to bid farewell; this is definitely not to solicit tips and I’m sorry that it made you feel uncomfortable. Staff receive a generous service charge which is included in the rates. Our apologies once again that the beginning and the end of your stay at Tea Trails weren't to your expectation but we are pleased that you enjoyed it in between!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2013

We had our expectations set very high because this was touted as premium property with excellent ratings at Tripadvisor. And we were not at all disappointed!

We stayed for 5 nights at the Norwood Bunglow and loved every bit of the sinful indulgence!! Though we arrived late in the night, we were greeted warmly at the door; even the chef was waiting to check what we would like for dinner. You don’t feel like you are in a hotel - no check-in/ check-out; no bills (while you are there that is :)). We had a fantastic butler (unfortunately don’t have his name for an acknowledgement here) who was very attentive and friendly; especially doting on our 1yr toddler. The chef is excellent as well – cooks great English, Sri Lankan and other International meals. Speaking of food – way too much of it. After a couple of days, we had ask the chef to cut down on what he served at each meal!

Spacious lawns; beautiful landscaping. A lot of the herbs; vegetables are grown within the premises. Plenty of staff around but always discreet and never intrusive. Also, we liked the flexibility of visiting / having meals in other bungalows.

We were happy to note that the recurring feedback issues raised in this forum (staff not well trained in English; poor quality of accommodation for drivers) were addressed as we did not face any of this.

The only really minor point was a weak wifi signal in our room, which was the biggest at Norwood. However, we were told that they were looking at upgrading their hardware to resolve this.

Nothing to do with the property but the access road to Norwood is in real bad shape - it was a very bumpy ride!

Advice for those opting the airport transfer facility provided by Tea trails – we found it cheaper to hire a car + driver during our stay. Also gave us the flexibility to visit nearby locations.

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank AshGsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2013

Tea trails is an amazing concept in a magical part of the world. The scenery is breathtaking although the journey to Nuriya Eliya is hair raising due to the infamous crazed Sri Lankan roads. The rooms are luxurious and well designed. The food is exceptional and the service is excellent.

Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank RockYu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ceylon Tea Trails

Address: Dunkeld Estate, Hatton 22000, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Hatton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hatton
Price Range: £670 - £702 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Ceylon Tea Trails 5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka's first Relais & Chateaux resort, is a collection of five colonial era tea planters' bungalows restored to impeccable style, offering a taste of gracious living in 27 suites and rooms, with butler service and original furnishings, accompanied by gourmet meals. Walking trails connect the bungalows which are from 2km to 15km apart. Follow the Tea Trail from one unique bungalow to the next, staying a night or two at each or just laze in one. Rates are fully inclusive of gourmet meals and drinks, including spirits and wines. Even service charges, taxes and laundry are included. We won't bother you with bills. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ceylon Tea Trails Hatton
Ceylon Tea Trails Sri Lanka/Hatton

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