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“very weird and controlling”

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Tea Hill's Bungalow
Ranked #1 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Hatton
Certificate of Excellence
New York City
Level Contributor
139 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“very weird and controlling”
Reviewed December 5, 2013

From the start, when we pulled in, we couldn't believe we were in the right place. It didn't look like any guest house or bungalow we've ever stayed in, anywhere in the world. It seemed like a dirty back entrance, but in fact it was the front of the bungalow. We'd also wondered why there were no pictures of the hotel, but seeing it, we understood. Sanjay met us and escorted us upstairs, where he gave us a bouquet of cellophane-wrapped flowers, which was a nice gesture but what were we to do with them? We didn't have a vase.

After getting settled in our room, we wanted to take a walk into town but this seemed to make Sanjay very anxious; he tried a couple of times to push us to accept someone accompanying us, but after pushing back harder than we've ever had to do, we escaped by ourselves. We'd only walked a short way through town when Sanjay dashed across the street to lead us to a van with a driver! We felt stalked, and we finally decided our only real recourse was to surrender because it was not going to be possible just to do what we wanted to do during our stay. After being driven to the waterfalls, the driver offered to drive us to Kandy the following day and said we could call him at any time and he'd be right over. No specific arrangements were made in terms of the time, and we told the staff this when we returned to the hotel. No specific arrangements were made, no specific time.

Dinner was GREAT -- the food was delicious, beautiful, marvelous, and just so special -- but our experience of eating dinner was not. People hovered over us while we ate (we were the only guests) and when a dish on the table still had about 1/3 left, someone would whisk it into the kitchen to fill it up. We just wanted to finish the food that had been served. We were really uncomfortable during the meal, which was especially disappointing because the food really was special. Kudos to the chef; if we were rating the food itself, we'd be writing a very different review. (And the sweet men in the kitchen really were wonderful too.)

The room was fine except it had no view and it was extremely overpriced compared to all the other places we stayed in Sri Lanka (and for what we got, for that matter). It was right off the living room, so when other guests arrived later in the evening, we could hear them talking and laughing in the living room and dining room.

We'd asked for breakfast at 8 and when we walked out of our room at 8, instead of being allowed to go to the table on the upstairs terrace -- which does have a beautiful view -- we were told to sit on the couch in the main living area. Why couldn't we just go sit and enjoy the view? We felt controlled and unable to enjoy ourselves. Again, the food at breakfast was delicious and quite special (the homemade yogurt, the milk rice, the muffins, really wonderful, along with all the rest of the huge and delicious meal), but again someone stood right next to us the whole time. We just wanted to enjoy our breakfast and the view without being hovered over.

After breakfast we wanted to take a walk and we were told the van would be there at 10am to take us to Kandy. We hadn't set up any time with the driver! Once again, the hotel staff decided what we would do and when we would do it. We pushed back and asked for 10:30 and were told to be ready at 10. And in fact, someone knocked on our door at 10 to take our suitcases to the waiting van.

This bungalow really is set up for people who do not want to do anything on their own. We'd noticed that almost all the reviews for this place were written by visitors from Dubai, and were the only reviews they have made here on TripAdvisor. It seems to be primarily set up for people from Dubai -- there is some kind of arrangement made to reserve the bedrooms on the top floor just for Emirates -- and the hospitality may well be appropriate and suitable for Emirates. Had we gone to the UAE, we'd have prepared ourselves for that culture and known what to expect. But we were in Sri Lanka, and at this point we'd had nearly two weeks' experience with Sri Lankan hospitality, so this was surprising and very unpleasant and entirely controlling. We felt suffocated. If you are interested in wandering around and exploring the country and culture on your own and making your own decisions about what you do and see, this is not the place for you.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Marc_Lori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kamaleesan, Owner at Tea Hill's Bungalow, responded to this review, December 6, 2013
Dear Katherine,

Thank you for your detail review about our Bungalow.

My apologies for the inconvenience caused during your stay with us specially the noise from the guest when you were sleeping.

Its our first review that you have rated us Poor which is an alert for us to be aware about our standard of service.

Regard to your comment about driving you to town. Our staffs politely asked you if you need the transport for free or you want to walk alone? when our staffs met you in town they asked you if they can drop you back, we did not charge for the transport to take you to town, I cant find what was wrong just offering a lift for our own guest.

Thank you for the comment about our food, however you have mentioned the food plate was taken inside the kitchen to replenish, due to hill country side cold weather, our staff want our guest to have the warm food, we keep replenishing the food to make it warm for the guest. We did not service less quantity or poor quality food which you have agreed. One of our staff will stay just corner of the table with a good distance to observe if you need anything or to replenish water, bread, wine etc. You are the only one who did not like these kind of more personalized service. When you come for the breakfast, we showed you the down stair table, its for privacy, again we did not refuse if you asked us that you want to have your breakfast upstairs. Our staffs informed you that the other guest are from Emirates who were on a tour during your stay, we did not mentioned that we dot allow anyone else to upstairs other than Emirates.


You have checked in at 13;30 and have sent your vehicle back, Our staffs realized you need transport to go back to Kandy, they offered if you need transport, after you agreed the transport was provided only for 45$ to Kandy. You have mentioned that you had breakfast but you never mentioned any of our staffs when you need the car. We never forced to leave our bungalow before 11, we just informed you our car is ready whenever you want to leave, it would have been fair if you have rated us poor if we refused to accept you request to let you stay longer.

We have given you our master room with the view, we are unable to keep open doors to the rooms to get better view due to weather conditions.

Please note following points from our side.

*First time I have ever heard some one did not like to be welcomed by fresh flower bouquet
*We have given you a free tour to Devon/St.Clair water falls which you did not mentioned anywhere and you have stated we over charged you. We charged you only 110$ for Bed and Breakfast with the free tour to water falls.
*You have published only some photos part of our Bungalow, I am sure there were so many better photos of our bungalow which other guest have published. Seems like you have look all around our bungalow to get these photos to support your comments. We regularly paint and polish to keep our standard. Due to hills side raining weather last two months we couldn't paint only open areas which will be done after raining season. Please check our web site we have published all our bungalow photos.
*You have mentioned that we haven't published any photos on our web site, please check again our web site, we have published all the photos without any photoshop editing. You don't need to be in Dubai to check our web site, you can check anywhere in the world.
* We agreed to reserve the room without even the payment when you made the booking due to extra cost for sending the money to us, we accept your booking and reserved the room just to give you an good impression about us.
* As a Sri Lankan what ever we offer you or try to provide you more personalized service, you have taken it wrong that we are forcing you.
* I just had meeting with all my staffs, they all commented, they did not refuse for any of your request during you stay, specially if you ask you prefer to have breakfast upstairs, they will be happy to offer you or if you want to stay longer instead of leaving at 10;30am. The only comment you made was "The Bungalow Was Beautiful" "Food is spicy"

Once again, we regret that we could not meet your expectation.

I am sorry to respond you more in detail as we don't want any of our valuable guest to be mislead by your comments. We will continue to do our best for guest.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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191 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
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English first
Dubai
1 review
Reviewed November 15, 2013

My write up is almost a year late. We went in December 2012 its now November 2013. Only reason I've not written this sooner is pure laziness BUT I have not stopped talking about this amazing holiday. Infact I've been suggesting it to almost anyone who asks me about where to go on holidays. We organised this trip in such short notice but the details and efforts that went into it its as if we had been planning this for months. From the moment we made contact with Kamal it was as if he was planning a dream holiday. Well he definitely didn't let us down. There was nature, amazing home cooked food by our own chef, Sanjay with his knowledge and information about the about country. We stayed in Kamals house in Hattan, then the Bungalows we stayed in where breath takingly beautiful. Clean and tidy. But the view was to die for! We couldn't take our eyes off it! We wanted to be in it, part of it, eating in front of it! Any thing to see the view of all the greenery. We were looked after so well that to this day we both have said we haven't had a holiday sooooo good and so worth our money. Infact we feel it was too cheap. Most certainly worth every cent and more. I have no complaints or any suggestions for improvement.

Every day there was a new activity to do a lot of hiking and walking and exploring which is exactly what we wanted to do. If your not up for a lot of exploring this may not be the tour for u. They truly looked after us and paid so much attention to our needs. Most certainly in my top 3 of best holidays I've ever had. Thank you to the team for making it a holiday to always remember. Katherine

  • Stayed December 2012
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Helpful?
Thank katherinedubai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed November 6, 2013

With my friend we stayed in Sri Lanka for 6 days and it was a memorable stay with lots of wonderful surprises, although it was booked last minute, everything was planned for us so we didnt have to worry about anything, everything was all inclusive including stunning green hills covered with tea trees ;). Clean bedrooms with magical sunrises and sunsets were waiting for us together with polite and professional staff always prepared to make our dreams come true and spoil us... Cooked food was adjusted to our tastes, as I dont eat spicy&hot food and my friend does...The local fruit was heavenly, still remembering those small bananas,papaya and pineapple..Small drawback was that the dogs woke us up in the mornings and the shower heater took quite a long time to heat the water. However, I enjoyed all the trips and lovely people, as well as breathtaking nature and culture. Thank you all, for your endless effort and hospitality!;)))

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Dani267
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lytham St Anne's, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2013

Hatton was disappointing, there were much prettier places in the Tea Hills. The bungalow was very nice and comfortable and the staff very accommodating but we were told that all rooms had en-suite. This was not the case as all four of us had to queue up to use one shower as the second shower was not connected to a water supply. Also, the immersion had to be switched on at least 20 minutes beforehand to heat the water as we told it must be switched off when not in use! The first night we hardly slept as dogs guarding an old tin warehouse next door to the property barked and howled from dusk till dawn!
The owner Kamal, whom we never met despite him being resident at the time, arranged our six day tour and the other accommodation he organised was most definitely less than three stars. The accommodation arranged for our trip to Kandy was disappointingly twenty five miles outside the town situated down a very steep dirt track which meant we were unable to enjoy the famous elephant festival we were so looking forward to in the town that evening. My son and grandson also had a large black rat in their room which disappeared amongst the rafters!
The tour itself was well organised and the staff extremely attentive but it entailed between 2 and 5 hours of travel between each destination and was so tiring that we decided to leave a day early to recover at our beach hotel for the last few days of our holiday.

Room Tip: Make sure you are given the room with a working shower!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank RIEWatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kamal-dubai, Owner at Tea Hill's Bungalow, responded to this review, October 7, 2013
Thank you for your review and positive comments about our staffs service.

We apologies all the inconvenience caused in our bungalow. Due to leakage of the hot water line , we were unable to provide you the hot water only one of our wash room. I belive our staffs offered you an alternative option which is down stairs room with attached wash room with hot water.
We regret that we were unable to control external noise due to local festival time and dogs noise because of fire works.

I have spoken to kandy hotel management about your comment, they refused to accept your comment that rat in room and the hotel located only 13 km from kandy city with surrounded quiet environment.

We will take all your comments positive and continue to work on improving our standard and service.


Thank you
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2013

Booked this trip at the last minute, and we were on the plane the VERY next day to Sri Lanka!
We were both warmly greeted at airport arrivals with a very nice suprise of fresh flowers and were quickly whisked off to Tea Hills Bungalow in a very comfortable, pillow supplied car!
Upon arrival at Tea Hills Bungalow, this was to be only the very beginning of an incredible and wonderous mini adventure held over 6 days.
We were sent the itinerary via email before we arrived, so we had some expectation of what was in store. Little did we know that it turned out to be a complete and unexpected suprise!!
Although have been to Sri Lanka many times, to be able to experience it with such friendly, and professional staff at each and every step of the adventure, was truly amazing!
No words can describe how well we were looked after throughout the 6 days. All we had to do over the 6 day adventure, was to sit back, relax, and enjoy it!!!
Have to admit, the favourite part of the adventure was staying overnight in the Eagles Ridge Log Cabin. This place was absolutley getting back to nature at its best. Eagles Ridge was more than beautiful; being out amongst nature and right next to a mini waterfall; so at night could be soothed by the sounds of the running water right next to the log cabin. The natural rock swimming pool underneath the waterfall topped off such a beautiful, natural getaway.
Prior to spending the night in Eagles Ridge Log Cabin, we also spent the night in Mount Royal. This place was not was expecting as per the itinerary, so when we walked into Mount Royal and saw out room for the night, we were completely in awe by such a beautiful, and again, back to nature hotel.
Each day of our mini adventrure was more than we were expecting; so we were more than elated by the care, and attention we received every step of the journey.
Would highly, highly recommend this amazing experience to family and friends.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank StarBluebelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 15, 2013

It was great 6days of trip to Kandy city and Hatton in Sri Lanka. Ted Hills Bungalow has nice cosy rooms and view from 2nd floor patio which overlooks tea plantations. My friend and I, we loved all the activities(White water rafting,trekking around mountain,Beautiful view from the peak of the Lion Rock Mountain,Tea Plantation etc.) Especially, staying at the Log Cabin was AMAZING.!! It is in the middle of the mountain with waterfalls, surrounded trees and natures.
I really appreciate the service they provieded for us,we had 2 guides with us all the time and they were so attentive and helpful! If i could i would definitely come back again. highly recommended!!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jin37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2013

Two weeks ago in August 2013, we undertook our first Sri Lanka holiday. It turned out to be a truly wonderful trip thanks to the product, planning and the final execution of the team at Tea Hill’s. From the time we were picked up from our hotel in Colombo to our drop off 6 days later, our entire itinerary worked beautifully and exactly as planned………the initial planning itself was very thoughtful and included food preferences if any etc. for all of us (we are a family of 4 , with 2 teenage daughters).

This establishment is owned by Kamal and the day to day operation managed by Sanjay and his team. And what a superb job they do; one would think they have worked in the hospitality industry for years and not just got into it! The accommodation, food and service at Tea Hill’s was amazing, with the breakfasts on the terrace overlooking the tea hills; Sri Lankan spices adjusted to our tastes; a nice living / lounge area with tv and music to relax in; and free wifi offered everywhere, included in the vehicles, which were very well maintained, and driven safely!

There were many high-lights and unique experiences in our itinerary which included water rafting, tea tasting (and we bought enough to last us many months!), Sigiriya climb, fishing and one night at an eco-lodge. This is a really rustic place and great to disconnect; you just see, hear and feel nature! Surrounded by greenery, with a natural stream running through and a spring water pool, views of the stunning lake, this was really great. We got there and went for a trek - the scenery was stunning - and ended the day with a sumptuous barbecue dinner! Definitely a key high-light of our trip. The hotel in Kandy was very nice too although we didn’t get much time there between our arrival at dinner and departure at breakfast. Given the amount of driving to and from Kandy, we shared this feedback and understood that alternative accommodation options are being looked.

The value for money and overall peace of mind of this trip was great esp given the various activities and places visited. For tourists to put this together on your own would typically require either considerable knowledge or extra costs, without any guarantee of quality. Thank you and our compliments to the team at Tea Hill’s.

Mehta family
Dubai

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank Samir M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tea Hill's Bungalow

Property: Tea Hill's Bungalow
Address: Lynd Hurst | Fruit Hill, Hatton 22000, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Hatton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Hatton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
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Also Known As:
Tea Hill's Bungalow Sri Lanka/Hatton

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