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“A serene, tranquil and picture perfect place”
Review of Ceylon Tea Trails

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Ceylon Tea Trails
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hatton
Certificate of Excellence
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
335 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
“A serene, tranquil and picture perfect place”
Reviewed January 29, 2014

Staying at Tea Trails is like going back in time to say the 1960's when the pace of life was much slower and mobile phones didn't exist. Don't worry the bungalow's do have wifi. We stayed in the Norwood bungalow. It is set in beautiful grounds with amazing views of the surrounding hills and countryside. Including the tea plantations themselves.

There is an old fashion feel about the place. The decor of the bedrooms, lounge areas and the dinning room is somewhat dated. This is not a criticism although some guests may expect more modern facilities. But this feel is quintessentially what is strived for at the hotel.

The food presented is of a high standard. But a little note of caution. As an all-inclusive establishment a three course lunch is served, a superb afternoon tea and a four course evening meal in addition to your cooked breakfast. Pace and some application is required to combat overconsumption. Having pre and post dinner drinks in the lounges with log fires burning was a delight.

As you would imagine staff are ultra professional, courteous and friendly.

If you are a lover of luxury, of being pampered and wishing to return to a bygone age that you were fond of, this is the place to stay.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank kempr52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Dunkeld, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2014

We stayed at Castlereagh bungalow for 4 nights and it was the highlight of our trip to Sri Lanka. I can't add too much to the other reviews except to confirm that they are accurate and encourage everyone considering a visit to go for it. Food, setting and service all superb. Take the Tea planation tour, hugely informative and far more interesting than I suspected, and an opportunity to have lunch at Norwood bungalow if you aren't staying there.

Only caution I would have is that you should not stay less than 3 nights -- because of the drives involved you are unlikely to arrive before late afternoon on day 1, and will leave early on your final day. So if you only have 2 nights you will only have one "proper" day at the hotel.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank BobandJenPerthshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2014

We stayed at Sommerville Bungalow in January 2014.
We cannot say any more to add to the other excellent comments about this fantastic resort.
The Management and staff are doing things absolutely right.
hopefully one day we will return for a longer stay.

FYI: Anyone travelling around Sri Lanka: we went from Hatton Tea Trails to Kahand Kanda in Galle which also has a 5 star tripadviser rating.It truly was the worst hotel we ever stepped foot in. We left immediately after inspecting mouse or cockroach droppings all over the Suite that we had booked for $475.00/ night.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rob W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Falkirk
Level 6 Contributor
137 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2014

"Heaven. Tortuous climb on narrow roads with many hairpin bends but well worth it to arrive here at the Tea Trails Norwood Bungalow. Perched in the midst of the Norwood Tea plantation we have one of 5 luxury rooms. We have a butler, waiter and chef. The latter comes to discuss what we would like to eat. For lunch we have pea and mint soup (organic produce from their own garden), cheese ravioli and cinnamon apple pudding with ice cream, made for us. It is excellent. Our lunch is accompanied by decent wines, which are complimentary, and we finish with orange pekoe tea from the estate. Then relaxing by log fire before changing for dinner. After dinner the waiter enquires about our preferences for breakfast and at what time we would like 'bed tea' served in our room on waking. The views are splendid and the threat of rain has disappeared leaving a gentle evening glow." So we noted our first day at Tea Trails, Norwood.

Norwood is one of 5 bungalows which make up this 'hotel'. They are all individual and enjoy totally separate and different locations. Guests can access each for meals travelling by foot, bicycle or minibus. We had the Wyatt room at Norwood, a recent addition but still very much in keeping with the others, which while being a bit smaller was still a good size, complete with king- size bed, desk, chaise-longue and classic bathroom and bath (complete with proper, non leaking, plug on a chain!)

The essential element of a stay here is peace and relaxation in beautiful surroundings while being looked after by a fabulous staff team. Everything is made easy and everything is included. Meals are at time to suit you. If it becomes cool in the evening log fires are lit. The grounds are immaculate, bushes trimmed and tidied by hand. There are vegetable plots and raised beds with herbs discreetly placed above the bungalow which provide ingredients for the lovely food. After dinner, or at any other time, guests can avail themselves of drinks, complimentary, from the small bar area in the lounge though staff are only too willing to make and serve. The range may be small but includes good single malt and blended whisky, premium gin etc.. Cocktails are also available and staff do not skimp on the alcohol!

In short, we loved our all-too-short stay and wish we'd known more about Tea Trails before we booked our tour in Sri Lanka. It had not featured in the Kuoni brochure and we had made special request for it (our driver had not visited before). If we were to return to Sri Lanka we would almost certainly build in more time at Tea Trails, perhaps combining stays at more than one pif their properties. Very highly recommended.

Room Tip: Frankly, we doubt it matters too much but some are a bit larger.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank sakiScotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2014

These properties are marketed as five star properties and are priced accordingly. Travellers should beware, however, as not all the rooms are any where near 5 star standard. We were allocated a room at the back of Tientsin Bungalow, next to the kitchen, with no view and poor natural light. There was no AC , so even in this Hill Country location the room was hot at night.We had been allocated a "luxury" room on our Trail Finders Itinerary but the manager explained that a "luxury" room was actually their basic room! We found this cocept hard to grasp.
We also arrived at the Tea Estate during a 3 day holiday so there was no tea picking evident and the factory was not working so could not be visited. The administration did not make any alternative arrangements for activities until we spoke to the manager. In general add-on activities were expensive and priced in US Dollars - always an indicator of an over priced item in these regions.

Room Tip: Insist on a "Garden Room" - a luxury room is a basic room -as we found to our cost. (We le...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TeaTrails, Public Relations Manager at Ceylon Tea Trails, responded to this review, February 25, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to post a review. We have 3 categories of rooms as explained on the website – Luxury Rooms, Garden Suites and Master Suites. Apparently your travel agent had mistakenly shown you a photo of a Garden Suite although you had been booked into a Luxury Room. We apologise for your disappointment although our Luxury Rooms are spacious and well received. Traditional tea planters’ bungalows don’t have air conditioning and only ceiling fans, as the climate is generally cool. 5 Star type categorisations apply to conventional hotels, which we strive not to be! As the tea estates were not working due to the Thai Pongal harvest festival we offered a complimentary trek and bird watching walk with our activities manager. Guided Activities are priced in US$ as that is easier to understand for most guests and the same currency as the room rates. Once again I apologise for not meeting your expectations.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading, England, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2014

We stayed in Norwood bungalow as part of our honeymoon and the whole stay was absolutely idilic. The scenery was breathtaking, the bungalow itself was simple yet luxurious and the staff charming and helpful (almost oppressively so at times, but that was probably only because we're not used to the level of service and because we're British!)

We did the tour around the nearby tea factory and did the walking trail between Norwood and Castlereagh bungalows which were both highly enjoyable but for the majority of the time we just basked in the sheer tranquility. All of the food is prepared in house by a local chef despite the relatively small size of the bungalow and is all absolutely delicious. Be warned though, with four meals a day (afternoon tea of course), all with multiple courses, you may end up doubling in size during your stay!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ian G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2014

"Chef would like to discuss your requirements for dinner this evening," inquired our butler and I immediately thought, I could get used to this!..This is a truly magical destination. The view from the Castlereagh Bungalow overlooking the lake and the glorious fields of green, dotted with the occasional brightly coloured sari, was simply sublime. The excursion to the tea factory was great as our charming guide was so full of enthusiasm and good humour. Despite the elegant surrounds, luxurious rooms and outstanding food, this place is not at all stuffy. We had great fun playing croquet on the lawn and dipping our toes in the pool following the truly exceptional high tea. Oh I yearn to return.

Room Tip: Castlereagh Bungalow was beautiful.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank DreamingSydney
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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