Posted On 5/02/2017 by Team iCynosure.
Tuesday, May 02, 2017
Set in the cool climes of Nuwara Eliya, surrounded by mountains and hills, way above sea-levels, the Heritance Tea Factory Hotel is the first factory to have been converted into a hotel in Sri Lanka, earning a UNESCO Merit Award for its restoration. A modern architectural masterpiece, the old tea factory used under the British rule, boasts of a great ambiance highlighting the Colonial times while offering the best services to make our family getaway filled with luxury of history.
We arrived at the hotel after a few hectic days in Kandy, and were greeted with the rustic quaint, cooler than the rest of the country; breeze. The staff welcomed us with warm towels followed by a traditional Sinhalese welcome. The elaborate welcome made us feel like modern day royals; as we firmly wrapped our overcoats to protect ourselves from the dropping temperature. We waited for our rooms to be assigned while being serenaded with a variety of tea flavours from the hotel’s own tea estate. N sipped on Vanilla tea while I warmed up to a cup of Broken Orange Pekoe tea infused with a handful of spices.
The hotel is indeed ‘on top of the world’ at 3600 meters above sea-level, almost dancing into the clouds. The backdrop changes colours every second of the day, from a sunshine yellow, to a burning orange, melting into a teal blue and finally seeping into a grey hollow. Needless to say we spent one of our three days just gazing into the skyline against the plush green stage offered by the plantation.
The owners have done an amazing job with preserving the heritage of the factory while remodeling it to meet the needs of the new age traveler. Instead of taking down the original machinery they have created installations out of them to overwhelm the visitor. One of the most bewitching visuals that as a hotel guest we witnessed was the minute long running of the original engine that powered the factory, placed in the basement. The hooting and the force we felt from the top floor of the hotel is still as real as when we took the pictures that day.
Another win for the hotel is responsible tourism. The overall facility leaves little to no carbon footprints with their own water management system to waste reduction initiatives; organic farming to utilising local produce and generating local employment. All around the premises we saw numerous placards explaining the importance of that particular feature or in-room material emphasising ways and means of preserving natural resources. The hotel is the perfect example of luxury combined with eco-friendliness, which otherwise is a rarity.
If we thought that we had seen and experienced everything that the hotel had to offer, we were so wrong. As soon as we entered our room, we were amazed with the spacious Flowerdew Suite, which included a master bedroom, a kid’s bedroom and a sitting area with the best views of the Ragala and Randeingala reservoirs. And to top it all, we had a twin bath tub in the master bedroom opening into a Jacuzzi; overlooking the hills. It was indeed heavenly, perfect to relax and unwind at the end of a super cold day.
As vegetarians, we were restricted in terms of cuisines in the island country with so much of sea-food in abundance. However at the Heritance Tea Factory Hotel’s main restaurant Kenmare, there was a full-buffet for vegetarians as well as a large a la carte menu. We tried the buffet and were pleasantly surprised at how tea-themed dishes can add flavour to the palate. One afternoon, we indulged in a unique dining experience at the TCK 6685 restaurant, a 1930’s train carriage that was initially used to transport tea from the factory to mainland, now converted into dining chambers. The experience is unique with the Head Chef understanding the culinary preferences of each ‘passenger-on-board’, and then serving dishes specifically made for the guest with ‘whistle-blowing’ antics by the attendants immaculately dressed in railway uniforms. It is definitely a must-do at the hotel.
The hotel has a lot of activities organised within the facility as well as in the surrounding areas. A spa along with a gym, games room, library and a putting green form recreational activities within the hotel, while they also arrange activities such as pony rides, nature trekking, bird-watching and tea factory tours. We signed up for a couple of an eco-tours including plucking-your-own tea leaves experience and #PrincessHeer took to the pony riding adventure with her dad. However with the volatile nature of climate we had to cut out on a few activities, though we did not want to miss out on the beauty of the hills so we ventured out for short walks even during the slightly drizzly day. It was by far the most beautiful and romantic part of our stay at the hotel ….. walking through a gorgeous place in the rain. The hotel’s guide, Anniken was a pro and knew practically everything about the hills, the history and the village. He also narrated stories about wild boars, leopards and mountain lions during our trek over the hills.
Doesn’t that make you want to plan your trip to Nuwara Eliya’s Heritance Tea Factory Hotel right now? If not, follow iCynosureinLanka for some inspiration or see the images below...
Until next time, even #PrincessHeer says ciao!
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