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Governor's Mansion

Ottery Estate, Dickoya 22050 Sri Lanka
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#1 of 2 hotels in Dickoya
Fully Restored English Style Mansion Set Above 4700 Feet Above Sea Leavel In The Tea Valley Of Dickoya. Offers The Guests A Trip Back In Time Where British Planters Made It An Exclusive Home. Frequented By Royalty In The Past. Surrounded by lush tea plantation.
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grsmith47 wrote a review Jan 2020
UK43 contributions55 helpful votes
Pay no attention to the reviews complaining about the access - they're so exaggerated. Yes it is a little drive but worth it. Setting is really magnificent. The 'house' is quite something - and there is a full snooker table to wile away the evenings. Menu is little pretentious but good if you stick to simple or local. Staff couldn't have been more friendly or helpful.
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Date of stay: January 2020
1 Helpful vote
Nicky I wrote a review Mar 2019
London, United Kingdom58 contributions43 helpful votes
My husband and I have just come back from a two week holiday in Sri Lanka. On the whole our accommodation was luxurious and the establishments five star. We were booked in to the Governor's Mansion as our initial choice of tea plantation could not fit us in for two nights. The Governor's Mansion certainly could, as only one other room was occupied. I should have been warned by this ... Let me say first that there are many lovely things about the hotel. The staff are extremely attentive, perhaps intimidatingly attentive if you are the only guests. I did feel that we were the focus of all their attention the minute we stepped out of our room. The decor of the hotel is straight out of the first half of the last century - many drawing rooms full of over stuffed furniture and occasional tables. The views from the hotel are gorgeous and the grounds are impeccably kept and quite beautiful. However, five star is quite definitely is not - or at least not in the ways that I have come to expect. We were housed in the Royal "suite". To my mind a suite implies more than one room - a bedroom and a sitting room, for example. That was not the case here. The bedroom was spacious and filled with old, impressive dark wood furniture. The wardrobe contained half a dozen flimsy, plastic hangers (not impressive). The bathroom was clearly an add-on and carved out of the original room. It was tiny. It contained a small shower with no door, but a horrible black, plastic shower curtain. Not what I would have expected. We were also warned to leave 15 minutes in between showers for the water to heat up. Again, not five star. The towels were no more than adequate, being rather thin and limp - not the fluffy thick towels we had in other hotels. Unfortunately we arrived after dark, and the road is pretty appalling, being full of pot holes, twists and turns and vertiginous. By the time we arrived I was feeling slightly nauseous, and was in need of a little tlc. I was underwhelmed by the room, though cheered by the attention of the staff. After a wash and brush up, we came downstairs and were offered a drink before dinner. I had a gin and tonic - the gin was a dribble so I don't think it can have been that that tasted so unpleasant, it must have been the tonic, which definitely was not a brand with which I am familiar. We had chosen our meal when we first went up to our room, as every meal is cooked to order (I was optimistic about this). We were led to the dining room, which was all laid up, though we were the only guests and felt we had to whisper the whole time. I asked for sparkling water, but all they had was soda water. Being the only guests, we did not have long to wait for the food. Mercifully I cannot remember everything that we ate, but I do know that the pork chop that I was given reminded me forcefully of my boarding school food - back in the 70s! My husband and I were also bemused by the melange of vegetables that we were served, which included an overcooked brussel sprout. It was a bit of a relief to end the meal. The bed was comfortable and I am sure it was just a coincidence that I had raging indigestion during the night. In the morning we went for a walk round the garden, and that was absolutely lovely. Clearly a huge amount of time and trouble is taken to keep it in tip top condition. Breakfast was a disappointment. I had asked for apple juice and when it arrived I discovered that it was completely undrinkable as mountains of sugar had been added to it. Maybe Sri Lankans like their juice with added sugar, but we had not encountered such a thing in the previous four hotels we had stayed in. My poached eggs were rubbery and the whole meal was the worst breakfast we had whilst we were away. I can honestly say that it was a relief to leave and move on to another, infinitely better style of tea plantation. In conclusion I would say that the staff were not at fault, and I am sure that they were doing their best. The building was not at fault, in that the original fabric of the place is very impressive - if you like colonial style elegance (which presumably you do, or you would not be visiting). What is at fault is the frankly slightly shoddy modernisation of the building. The menu needs updating and the cuisine needs a great deal of improvement. I quite enjoyed the thought that Hercule Poirot might appear at any moment from round a corner, but not that he might well be followed by Basil Fawlty. Having now read many of the reviews for this hotel, I quite expect to be accused of lying by the management, or even being a spy for a competitor. You will just have to take my word for it. I am sure that there are many worse places that you can go, but I know that there are also many better, and not that far away.
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Date of stay: March 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
3 Helpful votes
Response from CHRIS S, General Manager at Governor's Mansion
Responded Mar 27, 2019
Valued guest Mrs.Nicky Isard, We are never in the habit of accusing guests under any circumstances. If we have evidence beyond any shadow of doubt then you would expect us to clarify our position. I will respond to your review accordingly. The title says "wonderful staff". Then you go onto say "...perhaps intimidatingly attentive". They are all highly experienced and no guests has ever remotely accused them as you have. You have stated on a couple of places that "only one other room was occupied". This is not the case at all. There were six other guests and also our CEO who came in quite late the night you stayed at the GM. Royal suite is one of the favorite suites in the hotel. You were given Royal when we could have allocated any one of the other rooms. The furniture in Royal happens to be antique furniture that was at the GM. They have been restored by specialists. No one has ever complained about the coat hangers. GM is in the cool climes and you do not use cloth covered hangers in such conditions. Towels are brand new and they are grade "A" the very best hotels use. They are not limp and are clean, well laundered and fluffy and absorbent. We apologise for the state of the public road which happened to be under repairs by RDA. They have to maintain busy roads regularly. The road is used by buses, coaches, cars, motor cycles, cycles and pedestrians without any problems. If you felt vertiginous then it would be wise to seek medical attention asap. When our CEO is at the hotels we offer complementary drinks to our guests. You had a few Gin (Gordons- London) and Tonic (Schweppes) and it did not incur any charges. We have never known anyone to enjoy free drinks and then complain. We will contact Gordons UK and Schweppes SL to establish if there were any problems with the contents of the bottles. It was not a dribble of Gin you were served. They were substantial drinks. Our staff are qualified in managing bar duties. You claim you were "optimistic" when you ordered the meals. (Dinner). All meals at the GM are prepared using the very best ingredients, cooked and served. You requested for two prawn cocktails (fresh prawns) and Grilled Pork chops and vegetables. You were not served Brussel Sprouts. We only serve BS with X'mas lunch and BS plants are quite small in our organic garden. You then had fresh fruits. You also enjoyed a few glasses of Red Wine (Merlot the very best you can buy in Sri Lanka). You claim your fresh "apple juice was completely undrinkable as mountains of sugar had been added to it". Our chefs never add any sugar to any fresh juices we offer. Sugar syrup is served separately for those who wish and need it. Our E Chef does prepare Poached eggs exceptionally well. How your turned up "rubbery"is again a mystery. The menu contains no less than 65 items. Imported meat etc. It is reviewed, updated regularly. We also do special menus for particular guests parties who may have particular preferences. Thank you for at least giving your honest opinion regarding how well our gardens are kept and maintained. It is not every one who has the taste for, appreciate and admire colonial buildings. GM was built in 1815 and we went to no end of expense to restore it back to its original glory. We have 99.9% of the guests and guest reviews who love the Governor's Mansion. Perhaps your initial choice was not right since you had not looked at the details and photographs rather than just booking through the cheepest booking site. We are open to any constructive suggestions but not for sarcasm. When you refer to "Hercule Poirot and Basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers you begin to insult humanity and professionals. Was your hedding "WONDERFUL STAFF". Now you equate them to Basil Fawlty and staff. How could you even resort to conflicting you own opinions. You have stated that " I quite expect to be accused of lying ..... being a spy for a competitor"? Can you perhaps explain your statements "I can honestly say that it was a relief to leave and move to another better style of tea plantation, I know that there are so many better and not that far away". These statements and all the misrepresentations will give anyone to doubt the purpose of your one day visit to the GM, enjoy the experience and them give such unjustified, negative review we do not deserve.
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Nicholas B wrote a review Mar 2019
Alderley Edge, United Kingdom13 contributions7 helpful votes
The hotel is set among mountains and tea plantations, and surrounded by stunning terraced gardens. The staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. The public rooms overlook the terrace and across beautiful hills and steep-sided valleys towards Adam's Peak. Our party made full use of the full-sized billiard (snooker) table and tennis court and we were able to watch a six-nations rugby match on the television. The house itself must have been magnificent when owned by the governor of the surrounding tea estates; the bedrooms have been converted to include en suite bathrooms and, in some cases, divided; this could have been done more imaginatively and the decor has become rather tired. The food was good if not outstanding and the menu limited but perfectly adequate. High-tea was totally over the top with piles of sandwiches and cakes; to be ordered only if very hungry. Pre-dinner drinks on the terraces were a delight. Wine is available but we were warned to bring our own gin (very cheap in the duty-free shop in Columbo airport); the staff happily supplied us with tonic, limes and ice. We enjoyed walking around the estate, meeting local villagers and watching children play cricket, but other exploring - for example to visit a tea factory or Houghton plains - necessitated tiring journeys on bumpy roads. Whilst there are 'smarter' hotels in Sri Lanka, the ambience and overall experience of the Governor's mansion made it one of the most memorable highlights of our holiday.
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Date of stay: August 2018
Response from CHRIS S, General Manager at Governor's Mansion
Responded Mar 22, 2019
Thank you for your constructive and candid review. Our staff appreciate your comments and do take note of any suggestions you have made. It is a listed/classified building dating back to year 1815. We cannot alter the decor or make any external changes or alter the structure or layout. It was very difficult initially to create ensuite bathrooms in all the rooms and we welcome suggestions if any that could be considered by the authorities. We do our utmost to maintain in the best possible way without breaching regulations. If you visit Country Homes in UK you will note similar conditions where they cannot alter the appearance. I am a little concerned to note whilst you have made very good complimentary remarks why you feel 65 items in the menu is limited. We welcome your suggestions which you can send directly to governorsmansionsl@gmail.com I do agree the E Chef has got carried away with High Tea which is much in demand. Only ten days ago our CEO instructed the EC to reduce the selection of Sandwiches and leave the Scones, Savoury items, Rolls, pastries, a few finger sandwiches and choice of miniature cakes unless someone request for more. Thank you for endorsing our thoughts and actions already taken. No one needs to warn our guests regarding alcohol prices. We do not sell any alcohol. Guests are given complimentary drinks when our CEO is around the hotels. We of course will purchase anything on your behalf and serve you. We do provide mixers FOC. The section of the main road is under repairs at the moment and reaching completion. Majority of our guests do visit places of interest without much difficulty. The 2.3Km sections of the road under repairs will be fully resurfaced by the end of March 2019. We are very proud (sincerely) of just what you have stated. Quality services, quality staff, ambience and a memorable experience at Governor's Mansion.
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Richard 123 wrote a review Feb 2019
Hungerford, United Kingdom99 contributions55 helpful votes
Sadly this hotel came as a great disappointment to us. It was sold to us by an Agent as a luxury small hotel and is most certainly far from that. Yes, it is a lovely old colonial building, in a beautiful setting, with fabulous gardens and delightful hard working and attentive staff. That I am afraid is where the praise has to end. In my opinion this is an overpriced establishment with the atmosphere of an old peoples home. I expected Hercule Poirot to appear at any moment and I don't think he would have been impressed The 4-5 kilometre road up to the hotel is a nightmare especially in the rain. The numerous potholes are so deep that the bottom of the car scrapes the road. The 4 odd kilometer drive up to the house takes 45 minutes from Hatton and by the time you finally get there you have lost the will to live. Our reception was good but when we finally got to our room, the rather grandly named Regency Suite, turned out to be a pokey little room and thoroughly old fashioned , nowhere to sit, no storage space accept a1950s brown hanging cupboard with a variety cheap plastic hangars with no bar for trouser hanging. There were none of the modern comforts one expects these days from a luxury hotel. There was no safe, so they kindly brought one in and screwed it to the bottom of the cupboard, thus utilising what little storage space there was. It locked itself during their demonstration on how it should be used, and we did not dare to use it thereafter. The bathroom, I can only suggest was last updated about 30 years ago. Again very small with a shower in tiny bath with a black plastic shower curtain that envelopes you in a cold hug, the moment you turn the shower on. The shower runs out of hot water quickly and the bath towels were very mean and thin. There was not a lot of choice on the menu, maybe 3 starters and three mains. The food was cooked adequately but it was not exciting and I did not look forward to meals at all. There were no candles on the tables (see website) and little effort was made to warm the atmosphere in the room. It is one of those dining rooms where you always find yourself whispering. What should have been an idyllic walk around the well kept gardens was ruined by 4 hours of non stop singing and talking at high volume through a loud speaker system somewhere in the valley below us. Judging from some other reviews of this property, there appears to be a market for it. If however you are expecting a beautifully run, modernised small Colonial Hotel, with very good food and comfortable rooms, this is not the place for you. At the price charged I expect a very great deal more. We really could not wait to move on.
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Date of stay: February 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1 Helpful vote
Response from CHRIS S, General Manager at Governor's Mansion
Responded Mar 8, 2019
We are sorry to note that the GM came as a disappointment to you. We are pleased that there have been only a couple of disappointed guests whilst we aim to please all. There are so many misrepresentations, non-factual statements and as an establishment we need to flag up and clarify the points. It is grossly unfair to compare a hotel to an "OLD PEOPLES HOME". We in Sri Lanka highly respect our senior citizens and there will be no doubt hundreds who would love to stay at the GM. Perhaps the guest might like to share with us where in UK you have OPH that remotely resemble the GM. We do agree the final 2.3 Km from the water pumping station to the entrance to our estate is under repairs currently and is not the best to negotiate in the rain and in the dark. We must never lose sight this is a public road maintained by the RDA and thousands of other motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians use the road with care. No accidents have occurred for which we are thankful. One can walk from Hatton to the GM in 20 minutes. 45 minutes is an over exaggeration. Regency is a deluxe double and is larger than Deluxe doubles in any other 5* hotel. The suite is fully furnished with storage and chairs to sit in comfort. The staff were told that the guest had difficulty in operating the lap top locker. They immediately changed it. This is perfectly all right is it not? The bathroom has never been a concern. It is well laid out and the towels are Grade 1 towels used in all 5* hotels. Now the menu? To say there were only three starters and three mains is so far from the truth. We have a selection of 8 starters and 65 main items for the guests to select from. The menus are in the dining room, living rooms and suites so that the guests can peruse and select. Where and Why this non-factual representation? I am even happy to forward the menu to Trip Advisor. We have established that there had been a Hindu celebration on one day for just 3 hours during the day. People have the right to celebrate. The temple is 3Km from the GM and the noise was minimal and could hardly hear it by others. It is Sri Lanka and this is how Sri Lanka is. No one breaches noise pollution levels and we have an excellent understanding with the neighbors who are 3-4 Km away from the GM. We are the TRAVELERS CHOICE AWARD RECIPIENT and all other guests, contributors and visitors speak volumes of the GM. Thank you
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Divetreklover wrote a review Feb 2019
106 contributions9 helpful votes
It took us for than 5 hours by car to reach there from Negomba and it was worth it. My wife and I love the huge and beautiful garden and the excellent service and food. The personal service by Duminda is commendable
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Date of stay: February 2019Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1 Helpful vote
$336 - $384 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
governor`s mansion hotel hatton
Sri LankaCentral ProvinceDickoya
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