“Four luxurious tea plantation houses set in stunning hill country, all with impeccable service and fine cuisine, linked by walking and cycling trails”
The houses are set between 4 and 15km apart. Here you can do as much or as little as you like, from strolls, bike rides and guided walks around the working tea estate to rafting and a sunrise trek to Adam's Peak. After a day's activity return to a refreshing pool, afternoon tea with scones and a crackling log fire. This could well be the highlight of your trip to Sri Lanka.
- The hill country setting is both magnificent and tranquil
- This is the region's first luxury boutique accommodation
- Guests have the option of walking or cycling from one bungalow to the next (availability permitting)
- Plenty of activities, including the helicopter tour - and you can add on a few days at beachside sister resort Cape Weligama
- Service and attention to detail is impeccable at all 5 bungalows
- This is a good base for excursions to Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka's most sacred mountain
- All this comfort and service doesn't come cheap, but all meals and most drinks, as well as laundry, are included in the daily room rate
- This is a somewhat off-the-beaten-track location with bumpy roads, and journeys can be long and tiring
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Luxury Villas
- All inclusive
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Tennis Court
- Bicycles Available
Surrounded by manicured gardens, the 5 bungalows have been elegantly refurbished by interior designer Deirdre Renniers to showcase their colonial architecture. Colours are creamy and warm; beds are large and deliciously comfortable; furniture is tastefully modern yet in harmony with the bungalows' heritage. Victorian features meet the 21st century: you get old-fashioned rolltops baths (no separate showers), as well as internet connections.
Each bungalow has a choice of 3 room types: the Luxury Rooms are the simplest (though still very comfy), the Garden Suites have verandas onto the garden and the Master Suites have a separate living room. You are normally assigned to whichever bungalow has space for your chosen dates, but if you have a preference you can but ask.
The Castlereagh bungalow is an imposing century-old house overlooking the reservoir, which has 3 superb garden suites and 2 luxury rooms. It features beautiful parquet floors, summer houses, a library, a swimming pool and open fireplaces in the dining and living rooms.
Summerville is 4 km away across Castlereagh reservoir and is more of a traditional cottage. Here you can book the Master Suite, 2 Garden Suites and 1 Luxury Room separately or together. Some suites have private gardens; all have easy access to the cosy living room with a fireplace and picture windows. High above the reservoir lake with views of the hills, it also has an infinity edge swimming pool, a summer house and a sunbathing deck.
Norwood is at the eastern end of the valley, 12 km from Castlereagh (15 minutes by car). This newer house (it was rebuilt in the 1940s) is set away from the lake in the heart of the Norwood tea estate and is sheltered by bamboo stands. The 5 suites and rooms, some with four-poster beds, are accompanied by a library, veranda, summer house, large swimming pool, sun deck, croquet lawn, imposing colonial furniture and elegant bathrooms. There are polished stone floors throughout and lovely black and white photographs adorn the walls.
Tientsin is 15 km upriver from Norwood and is named after the Chinese village from where the original tea came. One of the first houses to be built in the tea country, its magnificent gardens pay tribute to the English tea planters' wives who created 'a little bit of home' by planting glorious roses and arbours. Six airy suites and rooms, wonderful polished wooden floors, high ceilings, log fires, four-poster beds, an infinity pool, a sun deck and a tennis court contribute to Tientsin's delightful ambience.
Dunkeld is poised high above Castlereagh lake and the luscious Ceylon tea fields, nestled into the Great Western mountain range. We are yet to personally view the bungalow which was opened since our visit, but the colonial style and atmosphere of Ceylon Tea Trails transcends throughout. The four suites are adorned with plush four-poster beds, velvet and leather sofas and antique touches, whilst there is a secluded Taylor Owner’s Cottage hidden among the tea fields with its very own heated jacuzzi on the verandah.
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Plunge pool
Each bungalow has its own chef and staff. Meals are cooked to order using fresh produce, with dishes ranging from western fare to tea-infused creations and Sri Lankan classics. Choice is the watchword here - you arrange with the chef when, what and where you want to eat.
Wake up to a full English or a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast along with a fruit platter and toast. Picnic lunch baskets are provided for those on expeditions - perhaps cold roast beef sandwiches with a delicious salad - and for those who'd rather savour the views back at the house, there's soup and a range of curries. Just make sure you return by 5pm when a full English afternoon tea is served.
Sundowners can be taken on the terrace or in the garden - there is a cocktail of the day. Dinner usually has four courses - lamb with an Earl Grey tea crust followed by chocolate mousse cake, for example - and you can select your favourite tipple from the Australian wines and spirits on the drinks list. You can dine on the terrace (overlooking the pool if in Castlereagh), in the dining room, in your suite, on the veranda or in one of the summer houses in the garden (weather permitting).
- All meals included
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Go trekking along the marked trails through the wonderful Ceylon Tea country, past tea-draped hills, pine forests and the placid reservoir. You can walk from one bungalow to another if you like: Castlereagh and Summerville are 4 km apart along an 'Easy' trail, and there are 'Intermediate' and 'Adventurous' options as well
- Ask about the 4-night Tea Trails Package - spend the first night at Castlereagh, walk to Norwood for the second night, then head on to Tientsin for final two nights. You go at your own pace and enjoy picnics along the way
- If that sounds too terrestrial, book the 12-day helicopter adventure to see the best of Sri Lanka from above and avoid all those slow, winding roads. The tour includes Galle, Sigiriya, Colombo and 5 nights at the Tea Trails bungalows - click here for more details
- The spectacular landscape of hills and forests is home to a wide range of flora and fauna - the birds and plant life are particularly good (but beware of leeches)
- Each of the 4 bungalows has it's own swimming pool and Tientsin has a clay tennis court for all to use
- Enjoy the tea experience - watch the harvest in adjacent fields, visit a tea factory and discover the skills of tea blending and tasting; it's especially easy if you're staying at Norwood, next to a tea plantation
- Take the boat across the lake for tea from Castlereagh to Summerville or vice versa. The more adventurous can try kayaking with well-trained guides (only available sometimes)
- Tea Trails is perfectly positioned for sunrise climbing expeditions to the famed Adam's Peak mountain, which is just 1.5 hours away. At the top is a huge 'footprint' claimed by Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus as a place of pilgrimage for more than 1000 years
- The reservoir and nearby rivers provide excellent fishing
- Mountain biking excursions are easily arranged and guests can bike from one bungalow to another
- White water rafting is available at Kitulgala, about 1.5 hours away
- Spend an afternoon golfing in Nuwara Eliya
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
Children of all ages are welcome and cots are provided free of charge. Two children up to the age of 12 can share their parents' room and extra beds can be provided for a fee.
There are lots of fun activities for kids, including swimming in the lakes and exploring the grounds, as well as boating, cycling and nature trails for the whole family. There is even a Junior Tea Experience especially for children.
Note that Ceylon Tea Trails is primarily set up for couples and an older clientele, they try not to have several families staying at the same time.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Taylor Owner's Cottage is ideal for families as it has 1 master bedroom with 1 small, interconnecting bedroom with twin beds.
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities on site:
Swimming, tennis, croquet and cycling
Kids Activities nearby:
Nature trails, boating and the Junior Tea Experience