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“Loved it”
Review of Ceylon Tea Trails

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Ceylon Tea Trails
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hatton
Certificate of Excellence
UK
Level Contributor
57 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Loved it”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

We spent four nights in Norwood bungalow recently and had lunch at both Tientsin and Castlereagh. I may be bias and didn’t visit Summerville, but I liked Norwood the best. Tientsin is much nearer a village from which we could hear loud music throughout lunch. It was Sri Lankan Independence Day, so there were celebrations, but Norwood is more isolated and therefore more tranquil.

Ceylon Tea Trails certainly meets the “five C’s” of Relais and Chateaux’s membership criteria of: Caractère, Courtoisie, Calme, Charme et Cuisine.

They certainly have character, being original tea planters houses, although I was a bit taken aback by how much I was reminded of my grandparents’ house when I first arrived at and walked into Norwood! I think I had been expecting late 18th Century colonial chic, but instead it was a 1950’s postmodern bungalow with lovely polished concrete floors and dark wood furniture much of which probably predated the house. It achieves being of it’s era whilst being spotlessly clean and chic. Norwood is beautifully presented and the grounds and pool are stunning. Castlereagh is similar with less impressive grounds and swimming pool and Tientsin is older, more austere - a bungalow in a stately home style.

Staff appear to have received good training and the service was the best we received in Sri Lanka. The food was excellent - a combination of Sri Lankan and European.
There is a TV which is shared amongst the rooms which we borrowed at one point because of rainy weather. It was a bit of a faff having it set up in our room and I did feel that as we were in a suite, the suite at least could have had a TV permanently in the living area. I don’t know what happens if more than one person wants to borrow the TV. Also, some background classical music in the dining room wouldn’t have gone amiss – it can seem a bit stuffy in there – which I don’t particularly mind, but some music could improve this.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank JemmyButton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Aylesbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed February 20, 2013

Following a fascinating, but busy tour of the "cultural triangle", we arrived for a three night stay in Castlereagh Bungalow. The reception by our butler, the cool drink and discussion with the chef over our choice of meal set the scene for a stay of utter relaxation in exquisite surroundings.
The atmosphere here is more like a traditional country house party than a hotel stay, with a wonderful ambience and interesting fellow guests. It is reminiscent of staying in Delphi Lodge in Connemara, made famous by that outstanding host, Peter Mantle.
The food, the wine, the service, the accommodation, the surroundings and the views would be hard to beat anywhere in the world.
Congratulations to the whole team, we could not have asked for a better stay. Thank you.

Room Tip: The garden suite was excellent.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Be prepared for pure relaxation and culinary indulgence! We had a fantastic 3-day experience at Tea Trails, despite an unexpected out-of-season downpour which lasted most of our stay.

Some of the best and most unique things we found about this hotel:
-They were very flexible in allowing us to cycle from one bungalow to the next, organising transfer of bags and laundry, and not minding when we showed up sodden and muddy.
- They manage to create an extremely informal and relaxed atmosphere which is sometimes lost at many top-notch hotels. We found it very social as well - pre-dinner drinks with other guests in the drawing room and an intimate dinner setting led to some great introductions and conversations.
- The food was delicious. Faultless.
- The Tea Experience, a tour of one of the local working tea factories, was incredibly interesting and guided by a fantastic guide. Very worthwhile.
- The walking/hiking in the mountains is stunning. The nearby Adam's peak is absolutely worth doing one morning, and is a good way to work up an appetite for all the food available throughout the day.

We would definitely go back, and hope we can one day.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank btsincolor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reigate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2013

We stayed at Norwood Bungalow for 2 nights on our holiday in Sri Lanka. It is a wonderful colonial style tea planters bungalow set amidst the tea plantations not far from the Norwood Tea Factory. The service is impecable. We were greeted at the door by the butler and shown to the sitting room where we were given a soft drink and the butler gave us an explaination of what goes on. Then the chef arrived to ask us if we had any dietry requirements and then discussed with us what we wanted for dinner. Tea is served in the afternoon consisting of delicious sandwiches, cake and scones with cream and jam. The 2 dinners we had at Norwood were both ecxellent, one western style and the other a curry. We asked if we could go over to Tientsin for lunch which was quickly arranged for us. A car and driver collected us and brought us back to Norwood afterwards. Everything is included in the price you pay, all food, drinks and even the laundry.

Our room, Jeffery, was very comfortable and opened out onto the gardens, the bathroom was not huge but it had a lovely bath with shower over as well as 2 basins and loo.

We had a tour of The Norwood Tea Factory the morning after we arrived. We were taken round by Andrew Taylor who gave us an extremely informative tour which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Unfortunatley for us the weather was not brilliant and we were unable to use the pool or take a walk in the tea plantations due to the rain but it was lovely to sit, relax and be waited on hand and foot. I wish we had stayed longer.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank fmdb23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
62 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2013

We stayed in the Castlereagh bungalow for 4 nights. It was a lovely stay. The service was great - friendly, helpful and always available. The food was of a very high standard and interesting. The bungalow itself is charming, however I felt that our room (the Palmer Garden Suite) was somewhat dowdy and needed a makeover. That was really the only thing that was not of a consistently very high standard during our stay. It is a long drive to get to, along very potholed roads at times, so I was happy that we had a few nights to enjoy it before we headed off. We enjoyed the trails themselves, as well as the ability to have lunch at other bungalows (if you're thinking of being rowed across the lake to another bungalow bear in mind that the boat is a primitive row boat and in our case the owner required us to help with the rowing). The tea factory tour was engaging enough - while Andrew Taylor is very entertaining, I felt that it could have been halved in length. I think that a 3 or 4 night stay would be the perfect amount of time to stay.

Room Tip: We saw 3 bungalows - but 2 for lunch only (we didn't see Tietsin). Castlereagh was great as it h...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank rqf55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, NZ
Level Contributor
32 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2013

We stayed 2 nights at Tientsin Bungalow and had a king sized room with beautiful 4 poster bed draped with mosquito nets. french doors opened onto its own deck and you could step straight our into the beautiful garden. Staff very attentive with butler and chef checking each day what we would like to eat. Food was beautifully prepared and fresh and surroundings were full of colonial charm. we wandered around the garden and the gardener took great pride in explaining the plants and garden features to us. The stay was all inclusive of everything, accommodation, food, drinks and a tea factory tour. There were marked walking trails through the tea plantation which was a great way to walk off all the delicious food we had consumed. It was slightly cooler in the highlands which was a welcome change after the heat of the cultural trangle. We loved our stay here and would recommend a stay at Tea Trails as an oasis from the main tourist areas.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank WhitiKitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
55 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2013

We stayed two nights at Castlereigh which I suspect is the best of a very great group of bungalows.
The staff are fantastic, it is genuinely all inclusive and the drinks are not stinted
The location is superb and all in all, considering that everything is included,it is not nearly as expensive as it might appear to be on first sight.

It cannot be faulted, although as there is not much to do beyond lovely walks I think two nights is enough.
We took canoes across the lake to have tea at Summerville which was great fun.

Room Tip: We stayed in one of the more expensive garden rooms. Actually we preferred the cheaper rooms as they...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Snoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ceylon Tea Trails

Property: Ceylon Tea Trails
Address: Dunkeld Estate, Hatton 22000, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Hatton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hatton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Ceylon Tea Trails 5*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka's first Relais & Chateaux resort, is a collection of five colonial era tea planters' bungalows restored to impeccable style, offering a taste of gracious living in 26 suites and rooms, with butler service and original furnishings, accompanied by gourmet meals. Walking trails connect the bungalows which are from 2km to 15km apart. Follow the Tea Trail from one unique bungalow to the next, staying a night or two at each or just laze in one. Rates are fully inclusive of gourmet meals and drinks, including spirits and wines. Even service charges, taxes and laundry are included. We won't bother you with bills. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ceylon Tea Trails Hatton
Ceylon Tea Trails Sri Lanka/Hatton

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