Ellerton

Kandy & Hill Country, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £132 per night

Serene hilltop bungalows near Kandy with a dreamy backdrop of highland tea gardens and distant blue mountains, but above all, incredible hosts
As you wind up through the mountains high above the bustle of Kandy the air may begin to cool, but it's the scenery that will take your breath away. Meander though verdant jungle, ancient forest groves and lush green plantations and arrive at this gorgeous hideaway: a vintage bungalow originally built more than 100 years ago on a nine-acre organic tea and spice estate. Inside the Main House bedrooms are simple and homely, while separate bungalows offer more space and seclusion with private balconies and verandas. The newest addition, Aurora Bungalow, is a stylish two-room suite with sleek furnishings and expansive French windows to maximise those views. Step outside to explore the grounds and you’ll find a spring-fed infinity pool, stunning gardens and an oasis of tropical greenery with views across deep valleys towards the Mawanella mountains. The setting is so peaceful it would be easy to forget that Kandy is within easy day-tripping distance.

But it’s your charming hosts Luca and Iromi, and their dedication to ensuring you have the best stay, which will really melt your hearts and make your time here unforgettable. Steaming cups of Italian coffee and homemade biscuits delivered to your veranda in the morning, yummy little unexpected treats served by the pool, and big screen movie nights under the stars to keep the kiddos happy while you sip your G&T. Heaven.

Highs

  • Fabulous owners and staff who couldn't be more welcoming and create a convivial, easy-going atmosphere
  • The infinity pool boasts killer views down through the forested valley
  • Amazing value with lots of lovely little extras during your stay
  • The tropical garden wildlife: a profusion of fruit and flowers, birds and butterflies
  • The highland weather: cooler than the coast and not as chilly as the higher hill country

Lows

  • The neighbouring tea factory can be a bit noisy (mostly the rumble of vehicles and machinery)
  • There’s no air conditioning, but at 2,500ft up you don’t really need it
  • Rooms in the Main House are a little darker and more traditional than the others

Best time to go

The peak season, December-February, offers the best weather. From March onwards it starts heating up (March/April are the hottest months of the year; October/November are the wettest). However, up here in the hills the temperature is pretty comfortable all year round - and you can get a tropical downpour more or less anytime.

Our top tips

Pack your hiking boots and explore the incredible scenery around the estate and surrounding villages, Luca can show you all his favourite trails.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 7
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor 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:

Rooms

There are nine rooms: three in the Main House (two doubles, one twin), three in the Valley House annexe (two doubles and a double/twin), two self-contained Garden Rooms (doubles) and one in the Aurora Suite (two single beds can be added to the living room to accommodate two extra people).

The Main House rooms are charming, with an authentic, plantation-house look: flowered curtains, cottage furniture, painted floors. The two doubles have dressing areas and vanity units; one double and the twin have an extra little room which can be used as triples or family rooms. Bathrooms have showers and tubs.

Just across the gardens, the two Valley House rooms have a contemporary feel, with polished cement interiors, bold colours, high-beamed ceilings and a wide veranda with spectacular views - a great place for sundowners. Furnishings are antique in style (French polished chests-of-drawers) but bathrooms are modern, with walk-in wet-room showers (the doubles have a tub, too).

We loved the Garden Rooms: bright and airy with panoramic views and a private balcony for relaxing. Bathrooms are modern, with bathtub and rain shower.

The stunning Aurora Bungalow is the latest addition and features modern, stylish interiors, four-poster bed and French windows leading onto a private sun deck with loungers.

All rooms have ceiling fans and mosquito nets, though you are unlikely to need either as it’s generally cool up here. You might hear squirrels and the odd monkey scampering across the rooftops at night.

Features include:

  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • WiFi

Eating

A Sri Lankan breakfast of hoppers, sambol, tropical fruits and buffalo curd makes a fitting alternative to a typical English breakfast, though for those who prefer the familiar, this is on offer, too. Lunch is also available - usually simple dishes like sandwiches, soups and salads.

Meals can be taken in the Dining Pavilion, by the pool or on your veranda if you are staying in one of the separate bungalows.

Dinner is an informal, three-course set menu using many of the vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices grown on the estate. Perhaps quail's egg or warm okra salad to start, baked whole fish with hot butter sauce and avocado salsa, or honey and ginger prawn with noodles for main; and green tea panna cotta or passion fruit soufflé for dessert. Alternatively, you can order a proper Sri Lankan curry (meat, fish or vegetarian and several dishes of rice, vegetables and dhal). Cocktails before dinner; good-quality wine and other drinks during the meal are included in the dinner rates.

Bottled water, local beer and spirits are available throughout the day. Ellerton also has its own supply of clean spring water. There are tea- and coffee-making facilities in the Valley House and Aurora Bungalow and afternoon tea is served in the lounge.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Find a quiet spot to relax: on a veranda, in a shaded corner of the garden or by the pool

  • Enjoy a stroll along the paths around the plantation or to nearby villages. Or borrow one of Ellerton's mountain bikes for a cycle through the village of Gurukelle and the hydroelectric Nilambe Dam to see the amazing natural rock formations there

  • Birders will enjoy spotting sunbirds, parakeets and the Sri Lankan hanging parrot

  • The ancient city of Kandy is only a 30-minute taxi or tuk-tuk ride away: don't miss the iconic lakeside Temple of the Tooth or stunning Peradiniya Botanical Gardens

  • Visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnewala (1.5 hours' south); bath time in the river is a particular highlight

  • Overnight trips to the Cultural Triangle (2-3 hours' north) include the famous Sigiriya Rock, Polonnaruwa and the Golden Temple at Dambulla. Ellerton can recommend drivers/guides

  • Ellerton guests can enjoy a private tour of the nearby Orangefield Tea Factory

  • Take a train or car to the ‘Little England’ hill station at Nuwara Eliya (2 hours south) for tea gardens, waterfalls and colonial throwbacks

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife

Kids

The ethos of Ellerton is easygoing and relaxed, so it's no surprise that it warmly welcomes children of all ages. We took our two toddlers and felt totally at ease from the moment we arrived. Kids will love the pool, the gardens, the wildlife (there are lots of monkeys) and Ellerton’s friendly dog, Sam.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Two of the rooms in the Main House have a small room attached to accommodate families (cots and rollaway beds provided). There is also a twin room in the house that would suit older children. The Aurora Bungalow and Valley House are also fantastic options for families wanting their own space.

Babysitting:

Babysitting by arrangement

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced and there is no lifeguard.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Ellerton sits on a hilltop, roughly 18km south of central Kandy. The last leg of the journey entails some hairpin bends on very steep gradients - not for the fainthearted.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Colombo Bandaranayake Airport (120km), roughly 3-4 hours by car. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.

From the Airport
The hotel can arrange a transfer service - see Rates - and most people arrive this way, or with a driver as part of a trip around Sri Lanka. Our Tailormade Tour Operator can arrange drivers if you need.

By Train:
If you prefer to travel more independently, take a train from Colombo to Peradeniya or Gampola station. It’s cheaper and generally quicker, but not necessarily more comfortable (try to get first class tickets). The hotel can arrange a pick up from the station (approx LKR 1,500).

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 Bandaranayake Airport 120.0 km CMB

Other:

  • Beach 150.0 km
  • Shops 8.0 km
  • Restaurant 8.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Excellent food, very welcoming hosts and great visit to the local tea factory they suggested! Great place to relax and bike or just read a book.

10/10,

Ellerton was a wonderful, everything was so well executed. It was so relaxing to come back to the hotel after a day in the hills or Kandy. Richard and Cary were a wealth of information about the area and Sri Lanka. We really got a chance to relax! The kids loved it and we now have to have afternoon tea every day at home.

10/10,

Lovely retreat in the mountains

10/10,

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Rates for Ellerton

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