When we booked our three-night stay at the Tea Trails bungalows in Sri Lanka we had requested to stay at Norwood bungalow. However, just before we left Australia, we were told we'd been moved to Castlereagh, as Norwood was being renovated and extended. While we didn't visit Norwood bungalow when there, we saw where it was as our tea tour was conducted at the Norwood Estate tea factory just down the hill from the bungalow. We also visited the other two bungalows in the Tea Trails group: Summerville, which is close to Castlereagh; and Tientsin, the most remote of the four bungalows and probably the prettiest because of its extensive gardens and its building style (it's the oldest of the four, with timber-panelled hallways). Castlereagh and Summerville face each other diagonally across the Castlereagh lake. Summerville, which is the smallest of the four, has the most spectacular setting and view, but all rooms lead off a tiled, slightly utilitarian corridor. Castlereagh feels much grander, and our room (Palmer), at the end of the wide hall, lead directly onto the garden. It was probably the pick of the rooms in this bungalow, however its side windows faced the early morning chanting broadcast by loud speaker from a nearby Hindu temple, which interrupted any plans to sleep in. Apart from the tea tour — which was a fascinating insight into the world of tea, led by the very knowledgeable and urbane Andrew — there is little to do but sit and relax and go for the occasional stroll around the plantations in an attempt to walk off the enormous amount of food (three and four courses at each meal) prepared by the talented chefs at each guesthouse.
The one downside is that we were a little disappointed with the country where the Tea Trails bungalows are located. It's certainly not as lush and verdant as other tea country we passed through on the way to Yala. Planting more trees on land not used for tea, such as the crests of the hills, which have all been cleared, would certainly improve the feel of the area and perhaps help alleviate erosion, which was starkly obvious in places.
- 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 27 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