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Ceylon Tea Trails - Relais & Chateaux
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Reviews (1,327)
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Reviewed 20 January 2012

We stayed in Norwood Bungalow for 2 days in late December 2011. It was a fantastic experience. Small and intimate, with only 5 guest rooms. Superb location on top of the tea plantations, which is so quite and peaceful, with beautiful gardens and a superb view.The bungalow is simply and tastefully furnished.
But it is the personalised service that you can only get in a small hotel that stood out, together with the delicious local Sri Lankan cuisine (western food also available).
All this combined puts this accommodation experience to number 1 on my list.
It's remote and the road trip is a bit of a slep. But that is part of it's appeal. The location.
Interesting that all my top 5 hotels are all remote locations!
I wished we had been able to stay a while longer.
Thanks to all the staff who made our stay so pleasant.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Holidaymaker039
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2012

Well, where to start.
We arrived at dark, after a long, long drive from Colombo. We never thought we would get their, it seemed interminable. Then after a hairy drive up a steep road, [not nearly as fearsome, mind you, during daylight hours] we arrived. Phew!
Ajith, welcomed us with a cool drink and cool hand towels. We were then taken to our room and after a blissful shower [over a bath with curtains - remember this is replicating a colonial British Tea Planter Home] were ushered into a lovely sitting room were we had evening drinks.
We were introduced to the chef of Norwood House, and told about our dinner for the evening.
This seems a bland way to state that without exception our every need was attended to. Our washing was done, our meals catered for, if we wanted tea on the terrace of a glass of wine, everything was done for us. Nothing was to much trouble. This was all done with grace and effortless professionalism.
We went on two walks. The first a short well directed tea plantation walk which had magnificent views and great photo opportunities. Our second walk, was a longer 10 km walk to the neighbouring bungalow, Castlereagh, were we again had a terrific lunch. I didn't feel too guilty about this meal, as the walk required mild exertion, and again we were blessed with fantastic views. Walking this tea trail, we kept meeting the locals and going through tiny three, four, ten house villages. Exceptional experience.
The Tea Trails group invites you to take the tea factory tour, which we did, and Andrew was a very informative tea tale historian.
Both my husband and I, felt without exception that this was the most restful and spoiling places we have ever been to.
Don't expect, Tv or gym or casino or any of the 'things' so many of us associate with going 'away'. Tea trails is hypnotic with stillness, quietness, and lovely walks if you want. It has an interesting library, and large swimming pool. Castlereagh also had a swimming pool, although much smaller,although it is beautifully situated overlooking the lake.
Would I go back - in a heartbeat, I would even put up with the long, long car ride. Exceptional! Ajith and all the staff are to praised and congratulated.

Room Tip: We had Jeffrey Room, possibly the smallest, yet an extremely comfortable room. Check the web site, and choose. Part of the fun of travel, no?
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank johannaaustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2012

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Castlereagh. The all-in system is such a relief - you know you won't be getting an unexpected bill at the end of the stay! The food was very very good and so much of it! The rooms were brilliant and the only place with reading lamps inside the mosquito nets so reading at night was no problem. It does take a bit of a time to get there, but once safely installed it is worth the drive. The tea factory visit was amazing and very educational as well as being fun. We only discovered later that the team was a stop-gap one due to some staff changes but they coped admirably. It would have been nice to have someone who spoke better English but that is a minor gripe. Lunch at Somerville was fabulous, and the boat ride home great fun. Apart from being lunch for a leech - it was perfect! So beware leeches on the grass, apparently they come in on the wild boar at night, as a result of my attack the staff immediately mowed all the lawns, they could not have been kinder!

Room Tip: choose one with a lake view
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank halftidy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2012

As soon as we arrived in the Tea Country we knew that we were going to love the experience. The journey up from Kandy was long and winding but by this time, having been in Sri Lanka for almost a week, we were getting used to the chaotic traffic. As soon as you turn off the main road after Hatton you move into the most stunning scenery, quiet countryside with virtually no traffic.

We were staying in Castlereagh Bungalow and passed Somerville on the way in. You cross the bridge on the lake and wind your way through a small village. We were met by the butler who offered us a cool, refreshing drink and the unique experience had begun.
There are 5 bedrooms, 2 guest sitting rooms and lots of outdoor space. The attention to guests' comfort is outstanding. Excellent food - the chef will discuss the daily menu with you, and creates just the right balance between Sri Lankan and international cuisine.
Attentive but discrete staff - we have fallen in love with the Sri Lankans.
You can do as much or as little as you want, great walks & cycling. We did the Tea Factory visit given by Tea Trails' Mr. Andrew Taylor and found it both fascinating and educational. We did not have enough time here to do it all and will go back to explore the area.
This was the highlight for us of our wonderful first visit to Sri Lanka - the Tea Trails' formula is outstanding on so many levels.
Treat yourself, have 3-4 nights here, any less is not enough.

Room Tip: Suites have outside space but our room Tate was extremely nice, well appointed and the bathroom was wonderful.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank vieuxrichard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2012

Castlereigh Bungalow was the 3rd place that my husband and I visited in Sri Lanka during our honeymoon at the end of May / beginning of June 2011. Due to the way that we had booked the trip we found ourselves in and out of a hot car, and being driven for hours at a time. Needless to say, by the time we got to the bungalow on day 4 we were tired, and although in awe of the beauty of the plantations, a little unnerved after the journey up!!

The staff at Castlereigh could not have done a better job of welcoming us. Our bags were taken from us and put in our room, we were shown into the lounge area and given a hot cup of tea while our butler explained the concept of the bungalows ("do nothing, want for nothing" seemed to be the gist!) and then we had a cool beer and a glass of wine before being presented with a scrummy meal.

This was the first chance that we'd had to relax since our arrival in Sri Lanka and I'm glad we got to do it here. The staff are discreet and polite, and you can always find somebody if you need anything. The rooms are comfortable and clean and the food is amazing! The only issue that I had was that I wasso well fed at breakfast that I was always too full for lunch so didn't get to try any, but thankfully all was well again by afternoon tea time!

I would recommend this place to anyone that wants to treat themselves. It truly is spectacular!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Flipsy27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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