Nestled amidst the Central Highlands’ tea estates, Ceylon Tea Trails consists of five heritage bungalows in Sri Lanka that have been sensitively restored to recreate the luxurious colonial experience – complete with four-poster beds, art deco bathrooms, vintage photos and well worn coffee table books, croquet lawns, and hand-on-foot Carson-style butler service.
Each bungalow, located to serve as a vantage point for planters in the 1900s, now provides the perfect perch to enjoy uninterrupted views of the misty mountains carpeted with lush green plantations and moody skies –best enjoyed over a cup of the finest Ceylon tea, of course; the estate is owned by the pioneers of Sri Lankan tea farming after all.
In fact, afternoon cream tea is kind of a big deal here – there’s that colonial throwback again – with the daily ritual of delicious pastries and scones becoming a real highlight as you ease into a slower pace, with little else but birdsong and that book you’ve been meaning to read providing the only distractions.
Every meal is like a feast, though. From made-to-order breakfasts to lavish lunches and dinners that range from a classic Sri Lankan multi-course curry fest to gourmet European dishes – many of which come with a tea-infused twist – the day feels like a non-stop ode to culinary indulgences. Of note, too, is the culinary attention to detail – with the chef taking time to speak to each guest to discuss the day’s menu.
The intimate bungalows are dotted across the plantations, each containing no more than six bedrooms. With inviting common areas designed for lounging, plus a no-bills policy (everything is included in the price), this is the kind of place where that elusive feeling of holidaying in a hospitable friend’s home is effortlessly achieved.
The complimentary Dilmah tea factory tours, where the entire process of tea-making – from plantation to packaging – is explained, are not to be missed. The surrounding landscape is ideal for hikes, with several walking trails around each bungalow. After dark, you can also opt for a night safari in an open-top Land Rover for wildlife spotting. For adventures further afield, day trips to historic town Kandy and nearby elephant sanctuaries are also available.
The Ceylon Tea Trails are in Bogawantalawa and rooms start from US$140 per night