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Ceylon Tea Trails - Relais & Chateaux
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All reviewscastlereagh bungalowgarden suitesri lankaour honeymoonother guestsstayed nightscourse dinnerinfinity poolmaster suitefactory tourworth every pennysea planewalking trailseach morningpre dinner drinkscolonial styleoverlooking the lake
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Reviewed March 8, 2014

We stayed in the Baker room at Castlereigh.Having read visitor's reviews,the Tea Trails literature and saw the Relais logo our expectations were high.First the good news;The property has a fantastic position with fabulous views,a beautiful garden and lovely clean infinity pool.The staff was generally pleasant and eager to please although we felt that to some extent we were being "processed".This may be due to the high turnover of guests since we believe most are new and only there for a night or two. Now the disappointing part;What we didn't appreciate was that we will be staying in what we recognized to be a British 60's style bungalow that was now somewhat tired and ready for a significant makeover.We were reluctant to use a bathtub/shower with a curtain that at least to us smelled of mildew,grout that confirmed mold and similarly afflicted caulking.In our bedroom their were stains on the ceiling complemented by cobwebs and dust on the windows and poorly painted woodwork.We may simply have been unlucky.When it comes to meals however,we felt truly mislead by the impression given that a chef was on hand to prepare high quality meals to please every guest.In fact,given the remote location of the property and the small number of rooms ,it is clear to us now that,when offered,such variety came at the expense of freshness.Based on our experience we would recommend sticking to Sri Lankan food which was wasn't always on offer but was very good.
We discussed our concerns with management who appeared to appreciate the feedback.Hopefully refurbishment will take place(the season ends very soon) and Sri Lankan cuisine, based on fresh seasonal local ingredients ,will feature more prominently.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank sweetiesPennsylvania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TeaTrails, Public Relations Manager at Ceylon Tea Trails - Relais & Chateaux, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2014

Thank you for your kind comments on Tea Trails’s location and the staff. We have not had complaints of poor maintenance before but have arranged a complete deep clean of your room. My sincere apologies. The bungalows have been busy and we will be refurbishing in the low season. As for food, being in a remote location, we need to bring provisions in but we do so carefully. The head chef travels to the fishing village of Negombo twice weekly and brings back seafood which is then portioned and refrigerated. We haven’t had prior complaints of freshness but will ensure that Sri Lankan cuisine is always available to those who prefer it. Thanks again for your feedback.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2014

Tea Trails Castlereagh really is everything that the other reviews say it is: A gorgeous 'country house' type property nestled among the tea fields. The visual appeal is out of this world as you pull up to the steps to be greeted by the manager. The rooms are large and luxuriously furnished, the bathrooms enormous, and the views of the lake are to die for. The food is incredible and plentiful and staff can't do enough for you. It's a place to come to relax, eat and drink, and soak up the atmosphere. There is a highly informative tea factory tour given by the engaging Andrew Taylor (though perhaps a tad long), and there are hiking trails to walk off the inevitable carb loading that comes with afternoon tea.

So why the caveat?

Unfortunately, it's soundproofing. The rooms are not soundproof enough to muffle outside noise, and you will hear every last sound from the hallway and even the lounge area. There are only 5 rooms, and they are all down one hall off the lounge. If guests are very quiet, there's likely to be no problem, but when we were there a family with 3 noisy children was also in residence and it made for a couple of very early mornings (I'm talking 6 AM) as the children slammed doors, ran up and down the halls and generally made a lot of noise. The stay at Tea Trails went from paradise to purgatory -- just like that. The children were also in evidence absolutely everywhere in the house and on the grounds, so there was no getting away from it. We felt as though the house had been invaded and we couldn't wait to leave.

I like kids as much as the next person, but this is not the place to bring them. I'd like to encourage the management to designate one of the Tea Trails properties as 'child-free', and I'd advise parents to think long and hard about bringing children here. There's not much to do if your kid isn't into quiet reading or long hikes. It's a simple equation: bored children = unhappy fellow guests.

Room Tip: The suites don't face the lake, so if you want a lake view then take a standard room. And bring earplugs!
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank CopenhagenChow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TeaTrails, Public Relations Manager at Ceylon Tea Trails - Relais & Chateaux, responded to this reviewResponded March 13, 2014

Thank you for your kind review. I am sorry about the nuisance from the children. We are usually careful with such bookings to allocate bungalows appropriately but have fallen short on this occasion. We will review our policies as you suggest. Please accept my profuse apologies.

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Reviewed March 2, 2014

Our second visit to Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows and this time we were at Castlereagh for 3 nights.It was simply delightful and we could not fault it.
We stayed in "Tate" a standard room with a wonderful view over the lake. The room was very spacious and comfortable with a huge bathroom.
Service was superb throughout and the staff could not have been more attentive, In fact we were thoroughly spoiled.
Meals were excellent and served on the veranda from where we had a view over the tea plantation and the lake. We simply could not fault the food and ate rather more than we attended, but managed to shake off some excess weight by taking walks through the tea gardens. We will certainly return in the future.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TonyRoberts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2014

Tientsin is a lovely bungalow at the end of the road & well worth the long drive. We stayed in one of the garden rooms, which had every amenity & comfort. The staff were wonderful & the manager is very attentive & runs everything exceptionally well. Food was delicious. There was very little sound from the village. I would recommend doing the T1 walk, where around every corner is beautiful scenery, also the visit to the tea factory is very informative.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank sajackie54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

Like everyone else who has stayed at one of the Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows we absolutely loved it. The journey to the bungalow is a bone-shaker however when you get there you are rewarded. We stayed at Norwood and could not fault it. The setting is stunning, the bungalow itself so beautiful (we felt as though we were in an Agatha Cristie movie and everyone would meet for pre-dinner drinks to discuss the plot so far!), the food is exquisite (the chef will discuss the options for lunch and dinner with you), the portion sizes are perfect so you can enjoy a 3 course lunch and a 4 course dinner.

We made the most of our 3 night stay doing the marked trail walks from Norwood (N1 & N2) we also walked from Norwood to Castlereagh (12km) had afternoon tea, then kayaked across to Somerville and got a ride back to Norwood. We would recommend these walks.

We went on the tea tour, it was very interesting, but maybe a little long - but that's just our personal opinion.

We did the Adam's Peak climb during our stay, Tea Trails booked us a guide and pick up at 1am. My friend and I would consider ourselves to be fit, but this climb is very tough, and after 4 days my legs are just starting to feel normal again. We went up to the top for sunrise, and back down again in 6 hours. It was an amazing experience, but be prepared to hurt afterwards!! 11,000 steps is a lot, 9,000 feet up and then back down.

I will end on the staff, they are fantastic, they cannot do enough for you and you genuinely feel that they want you to have the best stay possible.

I would highly recommend anyone to Tea Trails, yes its expensive but worth every penny.

Room Tip: We stayed in Trevaldwyn which was a twin room - it was excellent
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank DubaiDreamers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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