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Reviews (1,352)
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Reviewed 27 February 2011

What an amazing location, high in the hills at more that 4000ft above sea level! We stayed for 3nights at Castlereagh Bungalow and were treated like royalty. Our bedroom and bathroom were superb and lacked nothing. The food could not be faulted - breakfast, lunch, high tea, pre-dinner cocktails and excellent dinners. We had our own butler and were so very well looked after in sheer luxury by Mahendra and Sanjaya.
For our Ruby wedding anniversary the staff put on an amazing candle-lit 5 course dinner.
CTT really is a hidden gem and it felt like we had found our little peace of heaven. We left feeling that 3nights just were not enough. If you have thoughts of visting Sri Lanka the ensure that CTT in on your itineray!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank WelshConblocCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2011

Stayed 2 nights at Tientsin bungalow. Cannot speak highly enough about the whole experience. Staff, food, location, ambience, hospitality...wonderful! Nothing was too much trouble for the staff but still informal and relaxed. We went on a tour of Norwood Tea Factory and were captivated by Andrew Taylor's passion and enthusiasm for tea! The staff provided information about walking trails, and there are bikes to use if desired. The gardens are beautiful and well looked after. Another 2 nights would have been perfect!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank TonyandChristine50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2011

I've been raving about Tea Trails to anyone who will listen since returning from a 10 day holiday in Sri Lanka last month. My only complaint - and this is credit to Tea Trails - is that our stay was far too short. We stayed only two nights after a long (7+ hr) drive from Galle so our time there was limited. But what we experienced we loved and I am already planning a return. Castlereagh bungalow is enchanting - gorgeous setting on the reservoir, beautiful gardens, exuding colonial charm. The bathrooms are fabulous - I loved the black and white decor and claw foot tub. Service was excellent, and the food very good. This is a unique and precious place. I hope success and endless raves do not change it.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank smk78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2011

We loved our three nights at "Tea Trails," and only wished we could have stayed at least one night longer. We stayed in a different bungalow each night, and walked the trails between the bungalows during the day (our luggage was transported by their driver each day and waiting in our room upon our arrival). Each bungalow is unique, but they are all very clean and comfortable, and decorated with antiques and memorabilia from the era of the "Raj." You can easily imagine being a "guest" of the tea plantaton manager, while enjoying a round of croquet, before retiring to the study for a sumptuous high tea!
The hiking trails between the bungalows were so special, because you actually walk through real working plantations, as well as local villages. The views were gorgeous, and the Sri Lankans were so friendly and happy to talk with us and answer any questions we might have.
The meals served were so delicious, from the huge English Breakfast or Sri Lankan Breakfast, to the three-course lunch, high tea, and four-course dinner! We felt so spoilt and pampered!
There are other activities , like tennis, swimming and Scrabble, but for us the hikes were the best part of all.
This holiday was one of the best we have ever had. Truly memorable and worth every penny. Even the exhausting four-hour drive from Columbo was worth it!

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank dudette59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2011

Tea Trails’ location and beautiful bungalows give it such a head start that it is difficult to imagine that one could ever have less than a marvellous time there. The all inclusive nature of the pricing, leading to a truly “house party” feel to staying in the small bungalows, makes the holiday at very least reasonable value for money even if the headline price at first appears high.

For those visiting for the first time, the trip to TT can be somewhat daunting, particularly if travelling from Galle or Colombo and even more so if arrival is after dark. Don’t overlook this fact. The roads for the last hour or two (irrespective of the direction of your approach) are poor and slow. Plan ahead, accept that, and make sure that you are going to be fresh enough and that it will be light enough to appreciate the dramatic scenery and treat the journey as a sight seeing trip. Ask your driver to stop off for tea or lunch at the Bridge Hotel where they filmed the Bridge on the River Kwai. Its an hour or two from TT on the road up from Colombo and a lovely hotel in a beautiful location.
Having visited twice, I found the booking staff in Colombo consistently unpleasant and off putting and note from other reviews that I am not alone. To first time visitors, bite your tongue and carry on. It really isn’t representative of the place itself. Goodness knows how Saliya keeps his (her?) position.

The bungalows really are broadly very similar and all lovely. That said, the website doesn’t quite do justice to Tientsin which is clearly the grandest and prettiest of the bungalows (if by a fairly small margin) with the loveliest and most modern swimming pool. Castlereagh is in the most picturesque location and with the most photogenic gardens. Staff shuffle about a bit and so there is little material variation in service. On that subject, I thought that there was a noticeable shift this year towards a slightly less personal and rather more corporate approach. Still lovely but veering (by way of example) toward sending the chef to interrupt you no matter what you are doing in order to tell you what you will be served (subject always to any active objection on the guest’s part). A year or two ago it felt rather more like the chef waiting to speak to you and making some suggestions for today and tomorrow’s meals. Perhaps this is partially an inevitable result of the business’s success and occupancy but I do hope it does not also reflect the influence of their new partners in the world wide (French) brand Relais&Chateau. Additionally, and more worryingly, there were rather more well meaning but somewhat inept trainees running around sporting the Relais &Chateau “Trainee” badge and rather less top notch staff rushing to pre-empt ones needs. When staying for four days, ought it to be necessary for a smoker to have to ask for an ash tray every time and never once to be offered one? Last year I told my butler that I would like a cigar after dinner and found an easy chair with footstool, a decanter of port and an ashtray laid out on the balcony whilst the butler cut and lit the cigar. This year I was offered a vegetable knife to cut the end and plate as an ashtray.

Still beautiful and still a haven of peace. But Tea Trails does need to be careful about consistency and standards as it would be a crying shame if they let something really special become just very good.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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7  Thank noah2366
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
malikjfernando, Owner at Ceylon Tea Trails - Relais & Chateaux, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2011

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your generally positive review.

As a Tea Trails “regular” you have noted some service slippages during your stay, which I do acknowledge. As you point out, we have been incredible busy in the past few months and the bungalow teams have been under pressure. We recruited some new staff just before Christmas and they had not all got to the high standard we set when you visited in January.

The Relais & Chateaux accreditation has raised the bar further for us and we are confident that the service glitches are behind us.

Our booking office in Colombo is somewhat overloaded due to the volume of inquiries and this is being attended to.

I thank you for your support for Tea Trails and the useful feedback. We look forward to your next visit, when I am confident you will note that the slippages are a distant memory!

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