Taylors Hill

Near Kandy, Kandy & Hill Country, Sri Lanka Book from Book from £167 per night

A secluded colonial-era mansion in Kandy's tea-planting highlands, with gardens, a pool and just 5 rooms
The story of Sri Lankan tea began in the hills surrounding this handsome 5-bedroom country house. Named after the pioneering Scottish planter James Taylor, who sowed the first tea bushes here in 1867, it's a gloriously private idyll. A 90-minute drive from Kandy, the house is nestled within 3 acres of lavish gardens, with a swimming pool, tennis and badminton courts, even a croquet lawn. The neighbouring countryside (rarely explored by tourists) is dominated by vast tea estates, including Taylor’s original plantation – Loolecondera – where Sri Lanka’s oldest tea bushes still thrive to this day.

Built over a century ago, Taylors Hill is a grand example of colonial-era elegance, with granite exteriors, huge windows and clipped lawns. The high-ceiling interiors have been given a contemporary makeover, with finely-restored colonial touches. On the ground floor you'll find the charming living and dining areas, a glorious billiards room, A TV snug and a kids playroom. The 5 colourful bedrooms await on the first floor, and are visual stunners. Bathed in sunlight and vibrantly designed, each individual room is named after a mogul or estate that helped make Sri Lanka the world's 4th largest tea producer. Given its remote location, the hotel attracts romantics, but it's also popular with young families seeking the quiet life. Kids will enjoy exploring the great outdoors, while mums and dads can laze on the lawn with a good book and a large G'n'T. Does it get more heavenly?

Highs

  • The house is a colonial gem. It has a warm atmosphere, with lovely sun-dappled rooms and huge beds
  • The large gardens include tennis and badminton courts, plus a charming croquet lawn
  • The superb swimming pool provides stunning panoramas of Kandy's rugged highlands
  • The hotel's resident naturalist leads daily walking and cycling trails (with bikes to borrow)
  • The food is delicious. Stays include a Half Board basis

Lows

  • It’s a bit of drive to Kandy, so book an entire day if you plan on visiting the city
  • We adored the secluded vibe, but some might think it too remote – there are no restaurants or shops on your doorstep
  • Staff are very discreet, so if you need something you may have to seek them out
  • Presently, it's not suitable for guests with disabilities

Best time to go

Hikers and explorers should avoid the wetter months of May, June, October and November. Sri Lanka’s biggest festival – the Kandy Esala Perahera – takes place across 10 days around the full moon in late July or early August. It’s an incredible occasion to witness and the hotel’s distance from Kandy allows you to calmly dip in and out of the festivities.

Our top tips

The hotel’s location is remote, so aim for 3 nights or longer. It will give you plenty of time to enjoy the gardens and the surrounding countryside as well as explore the local area – Loolecondera Estate and walking/cycling trails. This also allows for a day trip into Kandy – after you’ve toured the sacred Temple of the Tooth and other sights, dive into the Empire Café for a casual lunch.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 5
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • 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
  • Tennis Court
  • Snooker Table
  • Bicycles Available
  • Badminton
  • Croquet
Room:

Rooms

Vibrant wallpaper in exotic prints and theatrically-styled furnishings ensure that each of the 5 bedrooms is visually unique. Blue-hued Le Cocq, named after the estate’s first manager, was our favourite; a French-themed dazzler with a 4-poster double bed. Corner room Taylor, another favourite for its double-aspect garden views, has twin double beds. Pattiyagama is the largest – the 4 posts of its ornate bed are carved with trees! – and it has an additional ante-room with twin beds (ideal for children) plus a vast bathroom with bathtub. Loolecondera also has space for 1 extra bed. Solo or budget travellers will find Lipton comfortably snug.

Pattiyagama, Taylor and Loolecondera all face east and get gorgeously bathed in morning sunlight. We loved the fact that many rooms still had their original Bakelite light switches. Ensuite shower bathrooms are fairly compact, but come with high-quality locally produced toiletries.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The cuisine is Asian fresh fusion, though traditional up-country cuisine features alongside Tamil-inspired recipes such as Mulligatawny soup. Fish and chicken feature more so than red meats, and a modern European menu also champions seafood and delicate infusions of Asian flavours.

For breakfast, the multi-course set menu proffers fresh fruit platters, curd and honey, homemade granola, and either a Western choice of eggs, sausages and bacon or a Sri Lankan option of coconut roti with tomato and dhal curries. The lunch menu is light – think soup of the day, mango and chicken salad, club sandwiches or a warming Thai curry with fragrant rice.

For dinner, we tucked into a pumpkin soup, grilled prawns and a white chocolate fondant pudding. The chef loves his sweets – he gave us a divine ginger pudding to try, plus cake and cookies with afternoon tea.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Float in the pool, play a game of tennis, badminton, or croquet on the lawn!
  • Explore the surrounding countryside and Hindu kovils on foot or by bicycle, with the hotel’s excellent naturalist guide
  • Take a half-day trip to Loolecondera estate, the birthplace of Ceylon Tea and former haunt of James Taylor. You can even picnic in Field No. 7, where Sri Lanka's first tea bushes still thrive
  • Take a day trip to Kandy and visit the Temple of the Tooth, the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, the British Garrison Cemetery and the Ceylon Tea Museum at Hantane, which has a dedicated room to James Taylor
  • Back at the hotel, watch a classic movie in the TV room, play a game of snooker or curl up with one of the books or magazines

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Badminton
  • Birdwatching
  • Croquet
  • Cultural insight
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historic houses
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Waterfalls
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

The hotel welcomes children and is very well set-up to host families. Facilities include a playroom with boxes of Lego, books and plenty of games; a TV room with movies; tennis, badminton and croquet in the garden; and a billiard & snooker room. Bicycles are available for exploring the countryside surrounding Taylors Hill.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Pattiyagama has an ante-room with twin beds, so it’s ideal for a family of 4. Loolecondera has space for 1 extra bed in its sitting area. Under 7s are fine to share their parents' bed in the Taylor room (additional costs applies). Since all bedrooms are on the first floor and located off the same corridor, families with older children can sleep in separate rooms, next door, or across from one another.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is free (24-hour notice required)

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots

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

Children's meals:

The chef can customise meals for children, and serve them at special mealtimes if needed

Kids Activities on site:

  • Playroom (Lego, kids DVDs, books & toys)
  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis, badminton, croquet and billiards
  • TV room with movies
  • Children's bicycles to borrow (with helmets)

Kids Activities nearby:

Guided bicycle rides and walks are available for families. The surrounding area is ideal for cycling, bird watching, trekking and mini-adventures. There's also guided family tours to the first-ever Ceylon Tea factory nearby.

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 120km (4.5-hour drive; Colombo International Airport)
  • Shops: 1.5km
  • Hospital: 2km
Kid Friendly:

Location

Taylors Hill is located in rugged tea-clad countryside 90 minutes from Kandy, in central Sri Lanka. The nearest village is Deltota, around 3km.

By Air:
Colombo Bandaranaike is the closest international airport (120km), a 4-hour drive away. An alternative is to fly with domestic airline Cinnamon Air to Kandy’s Polgolla Reservoir Airport (30 minutes), which is an hour’s drive from the hotel. Taylors Hill can offer transfers from either airport.

If you want to book a car and driver for your whole trip, see our Tailormade Tour Operator.

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

Airports:

  • Colombo Bandaranaike International 120.0 km CMB
  • Polgolla Reservoir Airport 31.0 km KDZ

Other:

  • Beach 100.0 km
  • Shops 1.5 km
  • Restaurant 6.0 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

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