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Reviewed 31 July 2012

Like everyone else says--it's expensive but delightful. After the dry country or jungle of Sri Lanka the hill country--cool and and extraordinarily pretty in a very English way--is unexpected. We spent 2 nights at Castlereagh and one at Tientsin. The tour of the Norwood Factory is fascinating--a cuppa will never be the same again. Pleasant, gentle walks and we really enjoyed a short boat trip on the reservoir. Very decent food and high teas as Grandma knew them--in fact much of the charm of the whole experience is the feeling you've stepped into the 1950s. Beautiful bungalows and friendly, helpful staff. We didn't fancy the idea of a windy drive and so took the train up to Hatton from Peradeniya Station just outside Kandy (and yes there are toilets on the intercity train.) Get seats in the observation car--it's a fantastic journey through jungle turning into misty forest and you can open the window and take lots of photos. You can book seats in a carriage owned by a private company but for the Hatton-Kandy run the observation car is cheaper and more fun. We did buy seats on a private carriage from Hatton down to Colombo (you can purchase these online) and this was probably a good idea because it was a/c and the journey might have been hot without--however there was less leg room than in the normal observation car and it was impossible to take photos because the windows didn't open and hadn't been washed for a long time. For a small fee Teatrial will arrange for transfers to and from Hatton Station.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank CuriousCustomerDerby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2012

We stayed at Castlereagh in the Baker Suite for 4 nights and it was fantastic; very relaxing.

The drive from Negumbo took exactly 5 hours and wasn’t that bad. It’s slow but only the last 5km or so were a little bumpy.

We really enjoyed wandering around the bungalow (marked walks are available). The Tea Tour at Norwood Tea Factory with Andrew Taylor was really interesting. The tea tour could only have been bettered with a nice hot cup of tea at the end of it.

Castlereagh has a chef looking after the 10 or so guests and the food was consistently excellent. We had to ask for Sri Lankan food as the tendency was toward Western food, which, while delicious, seemed a very long way to go for. We may well return and if so we will be asking for Sri Lankan food: morning, noon and night (and we will allow a token Western High Tea only!). One thing that I’d do if I ran the place would be to offer a choice of tea each time tea is offered. There are such an interesting variety of teas made in Sri Lanka, and as we discovered at Amangalla, it’s interesting to try different ones with tasting notes in hand.

Small tip
As noted by another reviewer, Tea Trails don’t help arrange transfers for you, instead if you ask them, they refer you to two travel agents. The one we used - Flamingo International - was not good for us, and included miscommunications and overcharging =>you might be better organising your transfers from your point of departure.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Kes G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2012 via mobile

Had a smashing stay, in every way. I would highly reccomend the place. Yes it is very expensive, but if you want to splurge this is the place. Rather than repeating the qualities of TT i would point out thingS that could be better:

- the coffe is ok but nothing to write Home about. I guess thats what you Get for odering coffe at a tea plantation.

- allthough most og the food is fine dining, the explanation og the food is not. This is probably due to language difficulties, but we where amazed every time as the meals where a lot better than what you would think from the explanation.

- Overall the food is very good, i Think its an overstatement to compare it to Michelin resturants. And as pointed out in previous reviwes there is room for improvement on the soups.

-the Chefs seemed stress if we wanted something Else than suggested, its not a big problem but it made us uncomfortable if we wanted something Else.

Regardless of theese comments the place is absolutely amazing. I Would return if i go to SL again, and i would reccomend everyone to spend at least 2 nights

  • Stayed: July 2012
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2  Thank bjos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2012

It was my first time to Sri Lanka and decided to spend my 4 days in this place after reading all the rave reviews. Surely, I wasn't disappointed.

Its about 4-5 hours away from Colombo airport, coming in the wee hours was handy for sleep and clear traffic! Road can be bumpy as some parts are still not well constructed yet, so do take the anti-nausea pills if you require so. The drive closer to Hatton was beautiful as you catch a glimpse of the rolling hills and cool weather. My driver from Jevin Tours was wonderful, very safe and considerate!

I stayed at both Castlereagh (Tate) and Norwood (Jeffrey) both are wonderfully furnished, but I do prefer the Tate room as it offer me a glimpse of the lake each morning, and was more spacious. Both have its own character, I found Castlereagh to be more the sunshine bungalow and Norwood has a private and quietly strong character. So with Castlereagh you get a pool but the pool at Norwood allows for more of a cardio workout, you get views of the lake with Castlereagh and views of the mountains from bottom up and Norwood you get views of the tea plantations from top down. Norwood has a nice backyard garden with herbs around and beautiful bamboo trees! Both bungalows hold its own, you will enjoy them!

The bathrooms was beautifully furnished with bathtubs, all the bubble bath you need and towel warmer - which was a lovely touch, it was nice having warm towels each time! There were bottle of waters in each part of the room to ensure that you are well hydrated! The living rooms were both well stocked with books, great music is always playing and it carries a good range of alcohol and of course TEA!

I love the idea that you were meant to treat this like your home. On arrival, they explained that no key is given unless I request for one. Every time after I step out for a short while, I return to a spanking neat room (I'm a very messy traveller) they remind me of very efficient ninjas. Very impressive. And they never fail to leave "2 leaves and a bud" decors around the room.

The staff was very attentive to everything and was very helpful! From the butler assistants, to the butler and assistant manager - they were very hospitable and happy to share on the culture and life in Sri Lanka. When I was at the poolside lounge chair getting ready for my afternoon read, they immediately set up the chair nicely to ensure you are comfortable and happy!

Food is great! Mostly western - so do request for the Sri Lanka meals if you can! The breads were freshly bake daily (yum!) and great scones for tea (yum!yum!) Can't fault the food at all. The Sri Lankan curry dinner which I was recommended to have with my hands was delish as well! You can try the range of teas from Dilmah which is lovely as they really make a good pot of tea! The bed tea served in the morning for you to enjoy in your room is great as a wake up call.

You can do walks around the area, cycling or just laze around the bungalow. The Tea Tour with Andrew Taylor is a must! Very cool guy who will share with you all his knowledge on tea and it makes you appreciate you cuppa more! =) The tea planters and everyone I met has been so wonderful and friendly. What impressed me was during one of my hike with my guide Lalip from Castlereagh, I was wondering what tree are we looking at - he did not know and rang up someone to ask - I was impressed.

Its the monsoon season I know, but rain or shine you will enjoy your stay in this lovely all inclusive resort with first class hospitality. It was a great place to relax, breathe fresh air and to enjoy the tea! Only thing is during this period, it was low tide for the lake - but its still lovely!=) Will be back for more!

Room Tip: Tate @ Castlereagh for lake view
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled solo
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6  Thank vivacircus30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2012

Not a single complaint could ever be made about the "tea trails". I stayed a Norwood Bungalow. The place was out of this world in the mountains. The room was British Colonial Style luxury, with four-poster bed & a beautiful batroom, with an attached private segment of garden. The food was fine dining at its best, with breakfast, lunch, high tea & dinner each better than the one before. The service was superlative & friendly, without being intrusive. I cannot recomment this place enough!!

Room Tip: All rooms are fantastic!
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank drsjsidhva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
malikjfernando, Brand Manager at Ceylon Tea Trails - Relais & Chateaux, responded to this reviewResponded 23 July 2012

Thank you very much for your lovely review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay at Ceylon Tea Trails and certainly hope we have the opportunity to welcome you back soon!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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