Ceylon Tea Bungalows

Mirahawatta, Kandy & Hill Country, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £159 per night

Relaxed 5-bedroom Hill Country hotel near Bandarawela with a pretty garden and superb valley views
Occupying an elongated plot of land on a verdant hillside, Ceylon Tea Bungalows comprises a pair of modest low-slung bungalows connected by a gently curved veranda. Fringed by the 20-acre Hilpankandura Tea Estate and superb mountainous views, it’s no surprise guests spend most of their time outdoors. Watch clouds trailing through the tangled treetops of the valley or the encroaching mist encircling the grassy peaks - it’s meditative stuff. With just 5 rooms, a small open-sided dining area, a lawn sprinkled with sun loungers and hearty food, this is a relaxed, simple boutique hotel that families and couples of all ages will enjoy.

The setting is incredibly serene and, at an elevation of 1,200-metres, the climate is kind - hot during the day, cooler at night, and free of the humidity of the coastal plains. The busy market town of Bandarawela is 8km down the road, and Ella, Nuwara Eliya and Haputale are all within easy reach, making this a relaxing off-the-beaten-track base for touring the Sri Lanka’s mountainous sights.

Highs

  • The peaceful setting - glorious valley views and a tea estate for strolls and cycle rides, plus a colourful garden with lizards, monkeys and squirrels passing by
  • Just 5 spacious four-poster bedrooms, most with mountain views
  • Within day-tripping distance of Ella, Nuwara Eliya and Haputale, plus plenty of hikes, waterfalls and temples nearby
  • Good value
  • Kind and professional staff

Lows

  • No on-site swimming pool
  • You'll need to taxi it to local restaurants for a change of scene
  • No in-room WiFi and our hot-water supply ran low in the evening
  • The hotel only serves beer and wine (no spirits)
  • Some might find it a little too peaceful...

Best time to go

All year round. Because it is so high up, it rarely gets unbearably hot here, plus the climate is generally drier than the western Hill Country. The driest months are June to August. Showers happen at any time of the year though the wettest months are October to December and April.

Our top tips

Visit the restaurant of the Bandarawela Hotel to soak up the colonial-era vibe of this ex-British institution; we'd recommend afternoon tea or lunch on the lawn.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 5
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Deluxe Room - Coniston

Rooms

The 5 bedrooms are spread between 2 bungalows, which share a long furnished veranda overlooking a valley and mountain peak. Inside, decor is tastefully bright, with floral wallpaper and comfy four-poster beds.

Rooms are named after villages in the Lake District; the most spacious is the romantic Windermere Suite, which has a sitting area, a huge TV and sliding doors onto the veranda for private dining. The Eskdale Suite is similarly large, and a good option for families (each suite sleeps up to 4), although it looks onto the rear gardens rather than the hills. The 3 Deluxe Rooms sit side by side; all overlook the garden and mountain to the front of the property.

We were pleased to find ceiling fans, electronic safes, satellite TVs, tea/coffee making facilities and mini fridges. Bathrooms offer hot-water showers, bathrobes and local toiletries.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • DVD player
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • TV

Eating

Food here is wholesome, hearty upcountry fare. There’s a small dining terrace, or you can request a table in the garden. For romantic occasions, staff can arrange a private starlit BBQ amongst the estate’s tea bushes.

Breakfast is English or Sri Lankan - eggs, bacon and sausages, or milk rice, string hoppers or hoppers (bowl-shaped rice flour pancakes) served with curry and a sambol.

The à la carte lunch menu offers international dishes and at dinner the chef creates a 3-course daily changing meal. Rice and curry is always an option, though we had devilled chicken and fried rice with curries on one night and on the second, a Western menu of soup and grilled chicken. Desserts are simple - think jelly, banana fritters and ice cream. The hotel serves beer and a few wines, along with juices and soft drinks. The closest local restaurants are in Bandarawela; staff can arrange a tuk-tuk.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
Eating: Dining veranda
Activity: Dunhinda Falls

Activities

  • Go for a wander through the 20-acre tea estate - in the mornings you can usually glimpse the female tea pluckers at work
  • Play a game of badminton on the simple court behind the hotel, borrow a bike to explore, or just relax in the garden with a good book; you might see lizards, monkeys, squirrels and mongoose going about their day, too
  • Trek up to Lipton’s Seat, a panoramic viewpoint (revered by Sir Thomas Lipton) near Bandarawela, or hike to the steep drop-off of World’s End at Horton Plains
  • Visit the town of Bandarawela, where there’s a lively Sunday market; just outside the town you’ll find Ravana Falls and Dhowa rock temple
  • Day trip to the charming Hill Country villages of Nuwara Eliya, Ella and Haputale. Alternatively, take the train to see rolling tea plantations and densely forested mountains en route

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children are welcome but there isn’t a lot for kids to do here. There’s no kids' menu at mealtimes but the chef can customise meals for children (and meals are free for younger kids). Best for babies, toddlers and older children who enjoy nature.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 3 Deluxe rooms can each fit 1 baby cot or extra bed, and are set side-by-side on a shared veranda (not interconnecting). The Suites can each fit 2 baby cots or rollaway beds.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Distances:

  • Distance to airport: approx. 5 hours' drive (Colombo Bandaranaike)
  • Distance to hospital: 30 mins' drive
  • Distance to shop: 15-20 mins' drive
Kid Friendly:

Location

Ceylon Tea Bungalows is located 8km from Bandarawela, just off the Welimada/Nuwara Eliya road. It sits amidst the Hilpankandura Tea Estate, in the Hill Country of south-central Sri Lanka.

By Air:
Colombo Bandaranaike (187km) is the closest international airport. Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the Airport/Train Station
The hotel can arrange a car and driver to pick you up from Colombo airport (approx. 5 hours' drive), another hotel on the island or from Bandarawela Railway Station (for those arriving on the Hill Country Express services from Colombo, Nuwara Eliya or Kandy). They can then organise tuk-tuks for visiting local attractions, and cars with drivers for day trips and onward transfers.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Sri Lanka and getting around

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike International 187.0 km CMB

Other:

  • Beach 150.0 km
  • Shops 12.0 km
  • Restaurant 12.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
6/10
Food
7/10
Service
8/10
Value
7/10
Overall

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