It is an adventure going up the very narrow bumpy 4 km track to get to this hotel. I wouldn't plan to leave the hotel grounds more than once a day though, because then the adventure becomes a real pain in the neck ... literally.
The first thing we noticed about the hotel was not the beautiful scenery around it, because we travelled through the same gorgeous scenery on our trip to the hotel; neither was it the interesting architecture of the Tea Factory, because we stopped by another tea factory on the way, and you do see other tea factories with similar structures on your trip. It was unfortunately the strong smell of curry throughout the hotel and even in your room. ou do seem to get quite desensitised to the smell after a day though!
We had planned to go to Horton Plains very early in the morning the day after our arrival, so upon arrival, we asked the font desk staff whether they could provide a baby-sitting service for our young children until we came back for a late breakfast. They said that they did not provide a baby-sitting service at all. As we were going up to our room, a manager followed us and said actually they could provide a baby sitter, but only a male one. We thanked him but declined and said that our young kids would not want to wake up and see a male stanger in their room. As we proceeded to our room, we were approached again and told that they could provide a female babysitter. The baby-sitting situation in this hotel is very dynamic indeed, and can change considerably within a matter of 5 minutes. This did not reassure us, and we decided to cancel our Horton Plains trip.
We were told by the bell-person that our room was one of the top 3 rooms in the hotel. It was of reasonable size, comfortable, had a beautiful view, and adequate facilities for a family of four. It did not appear special. The bathroom was average. Because the shower was in the tub, and there was a fixed shower screen, you had to endure a spray of cold water when you turned it on before you retracted until the water warmed up. There was moderate noise both at the beginning and at the end of the day from car horns and loud talking; and during both nights we stayed at the hotel we heard what sounded like nearby gunshots (don't worry ... I think it was probably men of the nearby village shooting boars! The people around there are very nice!). I did not expect as much noise in the Sri Lankan countryside.
The food was above average, but nothing special compared to other places we stayed at in Sri Lanka. You had to walk through the main restaurant to get to the main bar. I'm not sure why they didn't have the main bar at the front of the hotel where there was cosier furniture.
The surroundings were beautiful, and we really enjoyed a 2-hour walk in and around the hotel grounds. With one or two exceptions the staff were helpful and friendly, and very responsive to your expressed needs. I wouldn't say though that they were pro-active or took the initiative to make sure they provide a professional service - but that's the case in many hotels in Sri Lanka and not unique to this property.
Yes, the place does look rather dated, but I think this adds to the charm, and you should not expect a modern contemporary feel from a converted tea factory in the middle of the countryside. I think areas of improvement are food, staff training, kitchen ventilation, and noise levels. Having said all that, our family had a worthwhile stay at the Tea Factory, and I am glad that our kids experienced something different.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.