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“Perfect.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ceylon Tea Trails

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Ceylon Tea Trails
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hatton
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney
Level Contributor
69 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Perfect.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 October 2013

Our third stay at Tea Trails and it is consistently excellent. We have stayed at Norwood bungalow, Castlereagh bungalow and this time at Summerville. All bungalows are terrific with Norwood being better for a big group (five to six bedrooms) and Castlereagh and Summerville being better for couples or two coupes, as we were this time. The staff are superb - friendly, polite, discrete yet always second guessing your requirements. The location is magical - overlooking the lake and its various calming activities and changes of light. The rooms are luxurious yet unpretentious - all needs catered for in generous servings of space and beautiful linens and furnishings. The food is superb and plentiful and the wines are excellent (we noted an improvement since our last visit in 2010). Make sure you take a tea factory tour with Andrew Taylor - great knowledge, presentation skills and sense of humour!

Room Tip: Book early to increase your chances of getting your first choice.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank RobynFordyce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (302)
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Singapore
Level Contributor
108 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2013

Just returned from three glorious nights at the Ceylon Tea Trails. You feel like you are being transported back in time - and you can imagine being one of the lucky wealthy, being served hand and foot by team of friendly and always present household staff.

In case you are confused about which bungalow to stay at (which I was before seeing the place for myself, here's the lowdown:
- Tientsin is the oldest bungalow and the one that has the most of a historic feel to it. The rooms are lovely and the gardens are grand - done English style. Dinner is served on the patio (in tables of two) which is lovely as you can look out at the hills in front of you. Downside is that there is a village located directly below the bungalow, so you can hear cars passing and if there is a festive season, noise and music from the celebrations. Also, i was hoping to get a view of the "layered" tea plantations in front of the bungalow, but sadly, the tea bushes in front view were more spotted and haphazard than nicely laid out in rows.
- Summerville has got to be my favorite bungalow. It is the smallest (4 rooms) and a more modern layout - typical of a summer home (so no colonial trappings here) but the views are breathtaking. You get rolling hills plus a lake view. What else can one ask for?
- Castlereigh is also beautiful and can be accessed by boat from Summerville. Great views also, and large flat gardens which would be great for kids to play around.
- Norwood was closed so I didnt get a chance to see it.
So if you are looking for a taste of the past, visit Tientsin. If you want a relaxing holiday with fabulous views, choose Summerville or Castlereigh.

By the way, Tea Trails offers you the option of visiting the other bungalows and having a meal there instead of your base bungalow. I enjoyed that option, but book ahead and budget time for travel. Travel between the bungalows takes a couple of hours given the poor quality roads.

Warnings:
- the journey to get to any of the bungalows takes a long time. I travelled there from Negrombo and the 192 km journey took me close to 9 hours due to the narrow winding and terrible roads.
- the food is lovely and plentiful. Make sure you take time to go hiking or you will end up gaining a few pounds. We had to tell them to only give us 1 portion for tea time so that we could just sample the wonderful pastries.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JellyBug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

We approached this visit with much excitement having so enjoyed our last stay in Norwood. Sadly this bungalow was closed due to refurbishment. We had to stay in two locations but as more than two days in any location is sufficient this worked our well. The weather at the start of our visit was dreadful with non stop rain for 30 hours. This made even walking in the garden too much. Summerville is more modern in interior with nicely appointed rooms and very efficient staff. The grounds are not extensive and do not have as nice gardens as others but still are very impressive. The fires and hot water bottles made the stay very nice. Food was excellent and nothing too much. We cycled on afternoon for tea at Castlereigh. We also had lunch at Tiesteen which had very impressive gardens and what appeared to be lovely reception rooms. Castlereigh was probably the least impressive in terms of the rooms and gardens. The food etc in all properties is exactly the same. One point to be aware of is that the roads in the area are generally poor with the section between Summerville and Castlereagh frankly appalling. We were embarrassed that our taxi driver had to come to collect us. I would have expected the hotel to lay on a shuttle rather than expect a car to drive through the numerous potholes. Those who are susceptible to car sickness should beware. The tea factory tour by Andrew was fantastic and a must. Tea trails organised our train pick up from Hatton which was very easy.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ColinMunroUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
339 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

Arriving at this gorgeous oasis amidst lake and mountainous countryside after difficult roads was a lovely surprise. We stayed at Summerville but also visited Castlereagh for lunch after which they transported us back by little canoe. My preference was for Summerville but both are beautifully situated. The staff were fantastic, chef and food beyond comparison. Our room had a lovely little reading nook that opened into a private little garden. The pool is just below the house looking out over the lake . We did a tea factory tour, well worth the time and I learned SO much, never will take tea for granted again.

Room Tip: Tientsin not as nice. Book for a few continuous days rather than move from one bungalow to next.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank TeePodd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 October 2013

We arrived at the Tientsin Bungalow after a very difficult 4.5 drive from Colombo. From the moment we got off from the car to the time we left, my family was pampered and taken care of like royalty. Tientsin Bungalow has 6 rooms which means at any given time there are no more than 18 guests on site, the level of service given in this chateaux is beyond world class. Mahesh, Susanthara, Dharma and the Amazing chef made this holiday a memorable one for us. I honestly felt like i was leaving my family behind as we drove off to Colombo. Please don't be put off by negative reviews on tripadvisor, everyone must experience this once in their lifetime.
The Food here is to die for and service is impeccable, I can not fault a single thing, even the gardens are absolutely magical. This place for me felt like a home away from home.
I would like to thank Mahesh and Staff at Tienstin for everything, we will definitely return.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank ShirlSS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
314 reviews
127 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 October 2013 via mobile

This was the best hotel we stayed at in Sri Lanka. We opted to take the train (1st class observation car) from Kandy to Hatton and commenced what turned out to be such a treat. The station is colonial and many a train buff would love it ss did my husband.

The observation car requires some entrepreneur to come and shake it up. Replace the seats, offer drinks and snacks are repair the cracks in the picture windows. That being said spending two to two and a half hours gradually climbing through changing vegetation was a delight. People popped out from the sides to walk down the rail.

The journey from the station varies depending on which bungalow one has booked or is allotted to by the company. We were in Castlereagh on the other side of the lake. This matters as one has to endure around two kilometres of atrocious road bumps, shakes and general endurance are experienced. This needs to be addressed. Perhaps persuading the authorities to permit a larger boat from Summerville to carry luggage and passengers may obviate the need for such a kidney destroying journey.

Once at the bungalow serenity descended. Bags were whipped away, cool towels and drinks appeared. In time for afternoon tea ( please note that tea, scones, finger sandwiches and cakes are afternoon tea. High tea is completely different) all home-made, we fell on the food. A tea menu is provided. The chef appeared to discuss the menu for dinner. We love Sri Lankan rice and curry and begged for some of the dishes to be made hotter in terms of chilli.

The dinner was enormous and we almost regretted being so greedy at tea time. The meals are eaten on the covered verandah overlooking the garden, complete with swimming pool, and the lake. There is also a dining room for those seeking solitude or for colder weather

Bed tea or coffee is delivered to one's room at the time selected. Then came breakfast and the appearance of a large fruit selection combined with freshly baked pastries and toast. The full Monty (eggs, bacon, home made sausage, tomato, potato and mushrooms) is excellent as are the other choices. Then the chef appears to discuss lunch and dinner. One is not restricted for dining to just the bungalow at which one is residing.

Rooms are large, no TV but WiFi operates throughout the bungalow. There is a small garden area allocated and wicker recliners and chairs are outside in a covered verandah. The bathroom has two washbasins. Wooden floors are universal as one moves from bedroom to drawing room to dining to....

This is all inclusive with drinks and laundry part of the package and not cheap offerings. Drinking Pimm's, playing croquet and bird watching are all possible.

The tea factory tour is a delight and highly enjoyable. In the hands of Andrew Taylor, yes a descendant, we visited the Norwood factory. The insight we gained may make us bores on our return.

The weather has a mind of its own. In many ways think of a warm Lake District in the UK. This does not matter and adds to the enjoyment. We had good sun as well as the odd shower. Bird life is excellent and one is able to sit and observe many species.

Overall a marvellous place. The staff are marvellous as well and merit special mention.

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank SueKot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 October 2013

Travelling in Sri Lanka is tiring because the roads are not good so relaxing at Tea Trails mid trip is rejuvenating! The four plantation bungalows are all different. Castlereagh and Summerville have views of the lake. Tientsin is the oldest and feels the most historic. Norwood is nearest to the tea factory which has the best tea tour in the area. Meals are superb and the chef can provide western or Sri Lankan cuisine. We love it here but come prepared to wind down with an interesting book from the library between showers because it rains a lot in the hill country and so children might prefer the beach.

Room Tip: Tate I has the best view of the lake at Castlereagh
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hceebee
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Ceylon Tea Trails 5*
Number of rooms: 26
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 
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Also Known As:
Ceylon Tea Trails Hatton
Ceylon Tea Trails Sri Lanka/Hatton

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