Ceylon Tea Trails – Sri Lanka
Nestling on the slopes of Lake Castlereagh, in the UNESCO World Heritage Central Highlands, on a working tea estate, five elegantly restored plantation bungalows take guests back to another era. Three bungalows sit around the lake, with two further away. Each bungalow is a boutique retreat in itself, with its own charm and character, complete with a team of chefs and butlers, where guests enjoy a unique tea plantation and fully inclusive experience.
The bungalows are set in manicured gardens amongst the steep rows of tea, with cosy lounges, and libraries, and each with a pool, summerhouse and magnificent views of the lake and plantation. A tea tour comes as part of your stay, and guests can walk or cycle (each bungalow has its own bikes) around the estate, with the chance of dining in any one of the other four bungalows. Arrive by train to the nearest station at Hatton, to enjoy the extraordinary scenery and spend at least two or three days in the lap of very genteel luxury.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For its perfect blend of a bygone era and total peace and quiet.
Location:On the slopes of Lake Castlereagh in Bogawantalawa - Sri Lanka’s Golden Valley of tea - four hours from Colombo and just two hours from Kandy. Arrive by car, train or seaplane.
Rooms:27 Individually styled rooms and suites with luxurious bathrooms with views over the plantation.
Swimming:Each bungalow has its own pool.
Children:This is a grown-up retreat, suitable for families with older children.
Accessibility:Because of the steep landscape, the property is not suitable for guests with mobility issues.
Open From:All year round.
Spread around the lake, between 4 and 15km apart, each self-contained bungalow houses five or six rooms and suites, all totally individual in design and layout, and named after estate managers. Furnished with antiques, teak four poster beds and bathrooms with roll top baths, they are delightfully atmospheric. The suites have terraces or a private garden; there are no televisions and tea is brought to you each morning.
Each day starts with tea in bed, then a complete spread of a breakfast with a choice of Sri Lankan, English and continental. The ever changing daily menu of a three course lunch and a four course dinner is discussed over breakfast with your chef – a delicious mix of local and international dishes. And don’t forget to leave room for a traditional cream tea in the afternoon. You certainly won’t go hungry.
A stay in one of the Ceylon Tea Trail bungalows is a unique experience. Guests immerse themselves into the tea plantation life and are free to wander the estate on foot or by bicycle on any of the numerous trails. There are guided tours of the plantations and tea tastings, where you’ll not only learn about how tea is grown and produced, but the history and biodiversity of the plantations themselves. After an early morning walk in the hills, take to a kayak on the lake or book an in-room massage.
A climb to get your heart rate up is an ascent of Adamas Peak – Sri Lanka’s famous mountain that is sacred to Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus alike. Guests can learn the basics of Sri Lankan cooking with one of the executive chefs, or maybe you’d just like to relax with a book on the verandah of your summerhouse, or have a slow game of croquet. This is a chance to take a very leisurely break.
Whilst there are facilities and activities for families, and the rooms and suites can accommodate children, Ceylon Tea Trails is a tranquil retreat, where guests enjoy the peace and quiet. We would therefore only recommend this for families with much older children.
The family behind the Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company are devoted to their surroundings, with 15% of all profits going to humanitarian charities. Their sustainability agenda covers climate action, looking after the land and honouring the local population and culture. They are committed to reducing their use of fossil fuels and using renewable energy wherever possible; conserving the ecosystem of the plantations and creating zero waste. They are also dedicated to raising awareness in local communities of the importance of the flora and fauna and responsible tourism practices.
Bogawantalawa, Sri Lanka
On the slopes of Lake Castlereagh in Bogawantalawa - Sri Lanka’s Golden Valley of tea - four hours from Colombo and just two hours from Kandy. Arrive by car, train or seaplane.