General impression: This resort is the best option for touring the Ceylon tea area. Make sure to go during a season where rain is less probable, as staying indoors here gets old pretty quickly. The scenery in the area is generally beautiful and at times over-the-top stunning. Apparently in the 1800s many different tree varieties were brought in from Africa and other countries, so there is an eclectic mix of lush greenery everywhere.
Bungalow thoughts: We stayed at Castlereagh during a rainy stay in the area -- it had a traditional British colonial feel and overlooked a man-made reservoir. We visited the other bungalows as well. Norwood was under renovation but seems to have the grandest views of the rolling tea hills. Tientsin has impressive English-style gardens, but noise from the nearby village was loud and unpleasant. Summerville has a more modern feel and would be our first choice if we ever returned. Given there are so few rooms at each bungalow, it’s easy to chat with and get to know other guests.
Lodging: Our rooms were nice with a colonial decor. As it was quite humid and the bungalows are not air-conditioned, indoor areas often felt damp and moist. Common area windows/doors are kept open, so flies and mosquitoes tend to be prevalent indoors. Breakfast is served outdoors on a patio, and birds fly all around. A crow visited the patio each day, and on several occasions swooped in to diners' tables and stole food as they were sitting -- nerve-wracking and unpleasant…
Service: Staff members were attentive and friendly, although erred on being polite and not really warm. They try very hard but just don’t have that level of hospitality/behavior that one might find at other all-inclusive resorts in this price range.
Food: The chef discusses all menus and meal preferences each morning, and the food was generally solid (although meats tended to be overcooked). The Sri Lankan omelet and local sausage at breakfast were highlights. We took advantage of trying many of the local teas. Look for the more rare/expensive white tea, which is subtle but wonderful.
Activities: The tea factory tour with Andrew was informative and interesting. He does this same tour on a regular basis, but his enthusiasm still comes through. We took a hike one rainy day from Castlereagh to Norwood. Be careful of leeches if you walk around the area in the rain – they are everywhere in wet weather.
- 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 26 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Ceylon Tea Trails Hatton
- Ceylon Tea Trails Sri Lanka/Hatton