Goatfell

Nuwara Eliya Kandy & Hill Country, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £489 per night

Stylish and intimate tea bungalow set high in the Hill Country, with exquisitely personalised service, infinity pool and jaw-dropping vistas
Perched dramatically on a hilltop 2000 metres above sea level, Goatfell's setting is astounding. Long views unfold over beautifully manicured tea plantations and ancient forests, while Badulla’s lofty peaks soar in the distance. Once a house for the managers of the Concordia plantation, this former colonial residence has been transformed into a sumptuous yet homely four-bedroom boutique hotel, kitted out with carefully chosen antiques and beautifully crafted bespoke furniture. It's the latest addition from the Teardrop team (of Camellia Hills and Fort Bazaar fame), renowned for their high standards and faultless service, and it certainly lives up to the hype. The large rooms are chic, light and airy, with plush four-poster beds covered in woven local fabrics, and luxurious ensuite bathrooms. And there's even butler service.

Step outside onto well-tended lawns fringed by woodland and pretty agapanthus to find the jewel in Goatfell’s crown - a shimmering infinity-edged pool set against a backdrop of cascading mountain views. We spent our days lounging poolside and playing croquet, before venturing out on one of the marked trails for a gentle walk amongst brilliant-green tea plantations. Returning at sunset, we slumped into comfy cushions and sipped G&Ts by the crackling log fire pit, ready for us as if by magic on our return. Dinner was a gorgeous selection of homemade curries incorporating locally grown produce - this area is Sri Lanka's garden, famed for its vegetable plots neatly arranged on terraces. A genuine slice of Hill Country heaven.

Information provided by Goatfell on 21/07/2020.

Cleaning and hygiene
Staff temperature taken on arrival and departure daily, and wash/sanitise hands at least every 30 minutes. Kitchen staff required to wash hands every 15 minutes while on duty. Face masks always worn by staff inside hotel. All direct contact surfaces in guest rooms cleaned & sanitised, with particular attention paid to high touch items such as door handles and telephones. All guest key cards, keys, in-room phones, and TV & AC remote controls sanitised again during turn-down. Some high touch point items removed, such as pens, pencils, books. Regular thorough cleaning and disinfection of AC systems, all units re-adjusted to ensure maximum fresh air circulation. Rooms cleaned 4+ hours after guest checked out.

Common areas
Social distancing expected throughout of at least 1 metre while wearing face masks (or at least 2 metres if not wearing masks). Masks can be provided on request. Additional signage placed throughout. Guests requested to regularly sanitise hands using dispensers provided throughout. Guests required to report any illness (particularly fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing) to hotel management.

Food and drink
Dining room set up to maintain applicable distance between tables, guests can reserve a particular table for duration of stay. Menus either disposable or sanitised before and after use.

Facilities
Additional cleaning of filters in swimming pool. Library still operating, any used/touched books placed into book sanitisation baskets.

Other
On arrival guests have temperature checked and fill in a Health Declaration form along with check-in registration. Guests met with traditional Ayubowan greeting instead of shaking hands. Guests in turn encouraged to adopt this traditional greeting while on the premises. Luggage sanitised by staff promptly upon arrival. Third party chauffeur guides not permitted to enter the building; they may remain in vehicles.

Highs

  • Incredibly helpful and friendly butler service
  • Rates are all-inclusive and the food is top-notch - much of the produce is sourced from the surrounding area
  • The view over tea plantations, forests and vegetable terraces is really sublime
  • Stunning walking trails straight out from the bungalow; picnics can be arranged too
  • Sunset G&Ts around the firepit and dining beneath starry skies were highlights of our stay

Lows

  • The pool is not heated so can be a tad fresh
  • Fairly isolated and a bit of a schlep down to Nuwara Eliya (15km)
  • It can get chilly in the evenings, but we loved the excuse for snuggling up by a roaring log fire
  • Not the easiest place to get to (5-6 hours from Colombo) but it's totally worth the effort

Best time to go

The months of December to April are probably the best as temperatures rise to around 28C during the day but cool down at night. June to September are the driest months here, when there’s almost no rain at all. Monsoon season (October to December) is best avoided.

Our top tips

Bring some comfy hiking shoes, the scenic walking trails around the bungalow through waist-high tea and lichen-covered woodland are not to be missed.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 4
  • All-inclusive
  • 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
  • Laundry service
Room:

Rooms

All the bedrooms are incredibly spacious and private, decorated in soothing natural tones and a stylish mix of hand-sourced antiques and chic contemporary pieces. Woven rugs are splayed across polished dark wood floors and big feature mirrors add to the spacious feel. Each room has its own beautiful ensuite bathroom replete with waffle robes, rain showers and bathtubs.

The three elegant double rooms - Ragala, Kandapola and Summerhill - feature kingsized four-poster beds with high-backed headboards, cosy armchairs and private terraces. We stayed in Kandapola and loved the pretty fireplace decorated with candles and potted plants, and the French windows opening directly onto the lawn and infinity swimming pool. The twin room, Park, has its own little sitting area and walk-in wardrobe, and can be connected with neighbouring double bedroom Summerhill to make a Family Suite.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Heaters
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Rates are all-inclusive and you can expect to be spoilt with fresh, homecooked meals and all the tea you could possibly want. Breakfast features tropical fruits, buffalo curd and homemade granola, followed by a mouth-watering choice of eggs, pancakes and other specials, including a traditional Tea Planter’s breakfast and bacon and egg fritters. Don’t miss the pumpkin granola parfait or the egg hopper royale with cured salmon, pickled shallots and caper hollandaise.

For lunch, there is a section of light meals - caesar salads, club sandwiches and grilled fish - or you can plump for heartier local vegetable curries. Dinner is a three-course extravaganza; we feasted on spiced prawn bisque with sour cream and juicy jumbo prawns, followed by succulent harissa dry-rubbed lamb chops with mint and fiery nai miris (chillies) and roasted Hill Country vegetables. For pudding, we devoured the most delicious homemade coconut ice-cream.

And if you're still not full, there's afternoon tea on offer every day, as well as complimentary snacks, soft drinks and tipples - best-enjoyed fireside or on the sunny terrace.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore the surrounding forests and tea estates. Staff can take you on guided walks or you can explore on your own via the marked trails. Picnic lunches can be prepared for you to take along
  • Visit the Concordia Tea Factory. A tour guide will show you around the factory, explaining how different types and varieties of tea are cultivated and processed
  • Catch a train. It’s a wonderful way to take in the Hill Country scenery, and the route from Nanu Oya to Ella is particularly stunning
  • Take a stroll around Nuwara Eliya. There’s a lake with swan-shaped pedalos, pony rides, a horseracing course and lots of pretty colonial buildings
  • This is a place to truly switch off and unwind. Lounge by the pool, have a game of croquet on the lawn or play board games in the lounge
  • Explore waterfalls. There are several in and around Nuwara Eliya and many of them can be hiked to

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Traditional cultures
  • Waterfalls

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and there are lots of fun activities for them in the area, including swimming in the pool and exploring the grounds, as well as cycling and walking trails for the whole family. The lounge is stocked with board games and DVDs for rainy days.

One child up to the age of 12 can share its parents' room; extra beds can be provided for a fee. Complimentary baby cots are provided subject to availability for kids aged two and under. The restaurant has children’s menus and highchairs.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Summerhill can be connected with its neighbouring twin bedroom, Park, to make a Family Suite. There’s also space for one extra bed for under 15s in all the double rooms (but an all-inclusive supplement applies).

Baby equipment:

  • Baby bedding
  • Baby cots
  • High chair

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

Distances:

  • Airport: 5.5 hours' drive
  • Hospital: 30-35 minutes' drive (Nuwara Eliya)
  • Shops: 15-20 minutes' drive
Kid Friendly:

Location

Goatfell is located in the small village of Kandapola, in Sri Lanka's Hill Country. It's 15km from the market town of Nuwara Eliya.

By air:
Colombo Bandaranaike is the closest international airport (174km), but it's a good five- to six-hour drive away. It's also possible to get a private seaplane transfer with Cinnamon Air to Gregory Lake, 35 mins' drive below the hotel.

From the airport
You can catch a train from Colombo to Nanu Oya, which is approximately 45 minutes from the hotel. It's a wonderfully scenic journey.

If you want to hire a car and driver for your whole holiday, enquire through our Tailormade Tour Operator; they can collect you at Colombo airport when you land, drive you to the hotel, then drive you to your onward destination(s) after your stay, as well as taking you on all day trips etc.

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

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike 174.0 km

Other:

  • Beach 175.0 km
  • Shops 4.0 km
  • Restaurant 4.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

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

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Goatfell

Arriving on: