Location: This hotel enjoys a stunning and unique location, nestled high in the hills of Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea region, bordering the World Heritage Central Highlands.
Service: Each room and suite comes with a personal butler, who serves guests Bed Tea in the morning and draws them a bath.
History: The world’s first-ever tea bungalow resort, this hotel celebrates the historic tea plants of Ceylon, first discovered over a century ago.
Sri Lanka, once known as Ceylon, is one of the world's historic centers of tea production, replete with rolling green hills and genteel plantation homes. Ceylon Tea Trails, run by the Dilmah Tea Company, has restored four classic colonial bungalows built for British tea estate managers in the days of the Raj. These historic houses offer guests the unique experience of life on a working tea estate in the highlands (elevation here is over 4,000 feet). The bungalows range in size from four to six rooms and two have their own pools. Summerville and Castlereagh are situated opposite each other on the shores of the Castlereagh Lake, Norwood is at the other end of the valley about 15 minutes away by car and Tientsin is about 30 minutes away in the next valley. Maintained trails with beautiful views run between all the bungalows, and through the surrounding hillsides and plantations. Each house comes with its own manager, chef, butler and houseboys; in-house massage appointments can be arranged. Meals and afternoon tea are prepared by your private chef using gourmet ingredients and produce grown right on the property, and can be served indoors or on the lawn.
The Ceylon Tea Trails has four bungalows, each with its own characteristic, from a country cottage feel, to another with a high colonial quality. Inside each bungalow are 4 to 6 rooms and suites, for a total of 20. Each house comes with its own manager, chef, butler and houseboys.
This 50s style bungalow is nearly a century and a half old, having been rebuilt over 60 years ago. It contains spacious suites, an ample lounge, a plentiful library, and majestic colonial-style furniture. Outside is a croquet lawn, a large swimming pool, and a sun deck for lounging under the warm Sri Lankan sun.
The youngest of the four bungalows, Castlereagh has a style all its own. Guests will fall in love with its glorious water views and stunning garden suites. Fireplaces in both the dining and drawing room, amongst parquet floors and classical furniture all add to the simple elegance of this bungalow. An outdoor pool surrounded by plush sun loungers is also provided.
Sitting at a lofty altitude of 4,000 feet, this bungalow is perched high above the lake at the edge of the tea plantation. Stunning views from such heights are no surprise, and guests will fall in love with the panoramas visible from Summerville's picture windows. A cozy lounge containing a fireplace is the perfect meeting place, while four well-appointed suites provide privacy, some with private gardens.
This historical bungalow has kept its colonial charm, having been named after the Chinese town from where the original seedlings came. Delightful English gardens with rose terraces and leafy arbors provide wonderfully relaxing outdoor reading and bird watching spots for guests. Also outside is an ample-sized pool with lovely panoramic views of the majestic mountainous surroundings. There are six rooms and suites, each with polished wooden floors, and many with four-poster beds.
All bungalows come with their own croquet lawn for guests to experience this colonial activity. A game of tennis can be played at Tientsin Bungalow, which has its own fast clay court.
Spa treatments can be enjoyed from the comfort of guests' rooms. Massages are especially popular after a day of exploring the natural surroundings of the resort. Also popular are the resort's special aromatic baths; guests may choose from such aromas as cinnamon spice and black pepper and orange.
Guests can learn the intricacies of the tea making process from the Ceylon Tea Trails' resident tea planter. Follow the trails of planters past, and observe the ritual of tea plucking. Finally, taste test various brews and pick your favorite. Tours take place daily and are complimentary for guests.
Nature lovers will adore the resort's surrounding trails, which provide hikers with stunning views of the mountainous surroundings. Guests may explore the marked trails on their own, or in the company of a guide. The resort also has mountains bikes for guests' use.
Bed Tea is a lovely way to wake up in the morning. Served by a personal butler, this traditional colonial institution is a guest favorite. The butler also draws guests a bath.
After an early-morning stroll through the nearby surroundings, guests may choose from either Sri Lankan or English breakfast. Lunch often consists of such dishes as Asparagus and Ceylon Young Hyson green tea soup, or pan-seared pink salmon pave with braised potato, spinach and baby beetroot, cinnamon tea hollandaise. Afternoon high tea is served in the gardens, while a four-course dinner finishes off the day, complemented by perfectly-paired wines and aromatic, authentic Sri Lankan ingredients.