Whether you’re a heritage-hotel lover or tea connoisseur in search of a fresh estate-brewed cuppa each morning, we’ve curated the best hotels for your next trip to the Hill Country of Sri Lanka – book your stay with Culture Trip.
One of the greatest joys of exploring the Sri Lankan tea-growing capital is the wonderfully varied hotel scene here. Once the major colonial-era escape in Hill Country, today Nuwara Eliya is packed with centuries-old bungalows, heritage mansions and reimagined tea factories, all backed by jagged hills, jolly gardens and rolling jade-green plantations. And if you’re searching for a hotel in Nuwara Eliya, you’ll find something to love in this collection of bursting-with-history manors, small-scale boutique retreats and lavish plantation lodges lost in the mountains.
Design fans will dote on this romantic early-20th-century tea bungalow, converted by Teardrop Hotels, the luxe homegrown brand behind some of the standout boutique lodgings in Sri Lanka. It’s perched 6,560ft (2,000m) high on the Concordia Estate in Kandapola village, 13km (8mi) northeast of Nuwara Eliya, with knockout views across tea-carpeted hills – especially from the flower-fringed infinity pool. A luxurious country-chic feel graces the four rooms, which have sleek four-poster beds, French doors, bathtubs and a blend of vintage and contemporary furnishings. Ease into the Hill Country pace over Sri Lankan breakfasts on the veranda.
One for heritage-hotel lovers, this stylishly updated planters’ club dates back to 1875 and today stands strung around lovely landscaped gardens, just north of central Nuwara Eliya. Antique furniture, calming pastels and tropical-stamp curtains and cushions create a smart, historical atmosphere. Deluxe rooms are charmingly designed with timber ceilings, floors and walls, while the five suites have vintage four-poster beds. The farm-to-fork restaurant stars organic homegrown fruit, vegetables, herbs and honey; fireside cocktails await in the elegant bar; and a biomass boiler and water-treatment plant are among the sustainability initiatives.
Some of the most memorable places to stay in Nuwara Eliya are scattered around the sprawling tea estates. This thoughtfully converted, century-old tea factory will delight history buffs and luxury lovers, with dazzling plantation views from its remote ridgetop perch, 13km (8mi) northeast of town. Much of the original brew-making machinery sits on display, and rooms have a smartly refreshed, old-world look. For the best misty-mountain panoramas, go for an upper-level semi suite with a bath set into the window. Dining here, among repurposed tea crates and ancient ironwork, is a Hill Country highlight.
Wander 5km (3mi) northwest of Nuwara Eliya centre for an intimate, independent stay that makes a boutique splash. There’s a creative touch to the handful of rooms, with their jazzily tiled bathrooms, framed fabrics, espresso machines, candle-lit corners and black-and-white photos of local life. You might fancy the Devon Junior Suite, which has tea-field views from a king-size bed and cosy lounge, or the garden-facing Aberdeen Deluxe Double. Linger over high tea (what else?) in the colourful gardens after hiking through plantations, exploring local estates or day-tripping to wildlife-rich Horton Plains National Park.
There are just 13 elegantly upgraded, historic-feeling rooms engulfed in tea-field panoramas at this delightful plantation stay, 10km (6mi) southwest of Nuwara Eliya, and courtesy of the small Sri Lankan chain Amaya. Expect electric fireplaces, walk-in showers, floral-print fabrics, fresh flowers and morning tea delivered to your door. A heated hill-view pool – bordered by manicured gardens – drinks in the scenery, while the spa offers aromatic-oil facials, reflexology and steam baths.
One of the most magical escapes in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka (and a serenity-seeker’s dream), these five tea-planters’ bungalows lie dotted around a working plantation fringing Castlereagh Lake, 45km (28mi) southwest of Nuwara Eliya, near Adam’s Peak. Luxuriously styled with historical flair, each bungalow has gardens, roaring fires, in-room massages, butler service and a twinkling pool. Inside are 26 soothing rooms, all with roll-top baths and antique furniture. Days start with divine home-cooked breakfasts (hoppers, coconut sambal, spiced curries), while market-based dinners are custom-tailored. We love the Dunkeld bungalow for its lake-view infinity pool and jacuzzi.
There’s a reliable Sri Lankan chain, with properties dotted around the Hill Country, behind this smart mid-priced resort, opposite flower-filled Victoria Park – perfect for anyone after a stash of amenities in the heart of town. It’s a sprawling operation, with an in-house food court and shopping arcade, not to mention a heated turquoise-tiled indoor pool, a charmingly old-fashioned bar and a cosy wood-walled Balinese spa. Rooms are plushly styled with green-carpeted floors, wooden furniture, fireplaces and paintings of local birds and horses. The best have leafy views over Nuwara Eliya.
Around 40km (25mi) southwest of Nuwara Eliya, in the tea-growing Hatton-Dickoya area, this early-19th-century British-built mansion pulls in history-loving types with richly adorned interiors, roaring fireplaces and terraced gardens. Vintage furniture, four-poster beds, exposed beams and teak floors grace the cosy rooms, while dining delights include scone-and-cream teas and homestyle Sri Lankan breakfasts. It’s within easy reach of Dalhousie, the starting point for hikes up fabled Adam’s Peak, and there’s a 100-year-old snooker table to keep you occupied.
This super-central stay is another Araliya-brand charmer, overlooking forested hillsides, a five-minute walk from Victoria Park and the Nuwara Eliya racecourse. Smart armchairs, writing desks, tropical-print carpets and French doors lend an elegant yesteryear vibe to the rooms (the suites have lovely beamed ceilings), while the lobby impresses with chandeliers and decorative wooden elephants. After fresh breakfasts of egg hoppers, spiced dosas and more, treat yourself to a cleansing spa ritual, a sauna session or a dip in the climatised indoor pool.
If you’re concerned about budget, try out one of the best cheap hotels in Nuwara Eliya – bookable with Culture Trip
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