Thotalagala, Sri Lanka
Like a catapult into the past, a stay at Thotalagala is like being in Sri Lanka’s Tea Country during its 19th-century prime. It really is old-world luxury living, so much so that you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d bump into Sir Thomas Lipton, the legendary tea merchant who made his fortune here in its heyday.
In fact, Thotalagala is a beautifully restored tea planter’s bungalow on Pitaratmalie Estate next door to Dambatenne, one of the few tea estates that Lipton planted himself. It’s where Lipton’s Tea was founded and its first pound of tea sold. We’re yet to even mention Thotalagala’s incredible location, lying five miles north of Haputale and perched on an escarpment overlooking a stunning panorama of the rolling Haputale hills, covered in tea fields. It’s a view that’ll make even the most experienced of travellers misty eyed.
The bungalow itself is a step back in time to Sri Lanka’s colonial era, dating back to the 1870s and still featuring original fireplaces. The seven suites (each named after a Briton ingrained in Sri Lanka’s tea heritage) are characterised by furniture, polished wood flooring, four-poster beds and oil paintings all harking back to Lipton’s era. Surrounding the estate is 20 acres of lawn and patana grassland – the perfect place for breakfast in the morning.
Speaking of food, you can expect hearty plantation fare and a tasty assortment of curries, while in the summer months a candlelit barbecue is the order of the day. High Tea is included in your stay, which you can enjoy in the gardens of Thomas Lipton’s former mansion.
Pitaratmalie is a working tea estate and as guests, you can wander around it freely and learn about its living history and tea processes. Those staying at Thotalagala are also granted exclusive access to nearby Dambatenne Tea Factory, which Lipton built himself. Climbing Lipton’s Seat (yes, him again) is a scenic hike through lush plantations to the top of Poonagala hill and an epic viewpoint the tea baron would have likely used himself to scan over over his empire. Other day trips you can take are to Diyaluma Falls – one of the highest waterfalls in the country – and wildlife-rich Horton Plains National Park, where you can wander trails in search of leopards, sambar deer and purple-faced langurs.
Tailor-made Holidays with Turquoise
Every Turquoise Holiday to Sri Lanka is tailor-made and expertly crafted. Please contact our team of travel specialists on 01494 678 400 or via our online enquiry form for a bespoke quotation and we’ll apply the best available offers for your travel dates.
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