After a 3 hour drive from Kandy, Nuwara Eliya seemed like a perfect place to stop and rest for a few days see the tea farming mountains of Sri Lanka.
The hotel is located on a working tea farm up in the hills of Nuwara Eliya. It’s a historic property and has an old English flair. The staff is incredibly helpful and really goes out of their way to help.
If you’re coming from Kandy, you can either take the train or drive. I drove and took the long winding road from Kandy. If you’re going to drive and use Google Maps, know that it’s going to take you through a windy road that most (including me) might find insane. The road there was intense.
It takes you through many half paved roads that really should be wide enough for only one vehicle but somehow it’s meant for two. The mountain roads also didn’t have guard rails for a lot of it so it just made the driving that much more intense. I felt like I was white knuckling it for much of the drive. Sure, say what you will about me being a baby, but every local person (tourist and local) I spoke with who found out I was driving myself, thought that was pretty impressive.
Once you’re driving on the property, depending on the weather and road conditions, you may not be able to drive up to the hotel. When I was there, there were a few minor mudslides from the constant rain that closed the road leading up to the hotel so the guests were being shuttled up the hotel.
Know that the hotel is old and that like any old house, it has it’s creaky floors and windows. Although it has modern touches, it isn’t a modern hotel by any stretch and it embraces it wholeheartedly. I guess you could call it “charming” or “rustic”.
As you enter, you’ll see this massive old wheel that is housed in the basement but goes all the way to the ceiling. The check in counter is just to your right as you enter and to your left is the restaurant and bar. As I was checking in, I was provided with a cup of their tea (I don’t know the type but it was delicious) and the whole process took about 5 mins. Since it was about a 3.5 hour drive from Kandy that morning, I guess I was a bit more tired than I realized because I ended up nodding off for a few minutes and the staff happily just let me be.
My room was on the 2nd floor and to get there, you can either take the elevator or the stairs. The elevator is really cool since it’s one of those old school elevators with the iron gate doors. It’s loud, small, and pretty much a novelty but it’s certainly a novelty I appreciated. If you’re traveling with kids, I’m sure they’ll really get a kick out of it.
My room was a standard room that overlooked the garden/front of the hotel. It was much more spacious that I thought it would be for some reason and it not only had plenty of space to move around the bed, a desk, a small sitting area to enjoy afternoon tea, and a full bathroom.
The one thing that needs to be stated is that this is an old hotel and not only do the floors creek and moan when you walk on them, you can also hear the goings on outside your room. Also, you’ll be able to hear any conversations in an adjoining room so know that going in.
Another thing I noticed with my room is that since it was located right above the restaurant, I could feel the temperature in the room rise as the kitchen staff prepared dinner. They use these old stoves throughout the property so it isn’t done by central air. Also, at night, they had a piano player who was singing and playing different tunes so I could hear that going on until about 10pm.
The bathtub/shower was a bit odd in that the tub floor is higher than the bathroom floor. They had a small step to get in and out of the tub but it just seems odd that these are out there. I honestly don’t know if this is a case where the tub needed to be raised due to the pipes or if it’s for giving kids baths. It just seems really dangerous to me especially if you’re coming out of a wet shower and asked to step down to a tile surface with wet feet.
The property offers a few fun activities onsite which are cheap and informative. I did the tea picking activity and it was 500 rupees (about $2.5 USD). The whole activity took about an hour and it was oddly fun. I can’t say I did a good job (or even a half decent one at that) since I was too busy taking photos but it was interesting to learn about the tea making process. You also get a package of tea to take home with you so that was kinda fun.
You can also take a nature walk through the property as well as do a tea tasting if you’d like. The prices range but I didn’t think it was too outlandish. I was hoping to get outside the hotel so I never fully committed to the time needed but eventually I didn’t get a chance to leave the hotel since it was raining so much.
The property is old and with it comes the issues with older properties vs. newer properties. I guess you could argue that’s the charm of this hotel but if you’re a light sleeper it could be problem. Since I’m a really light sleeper, I didn’t particularly enjoy hearing the music going on until 10pm especially since I wake up early but it wasn’t a deal breaker.
Know that the property isn’t really near anything. If you have plans to go eat in town, you’ll have to arrange transportation to/from the hotel. It isn’t near anything and you definitely won’t want to walk to town.