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.
- 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