I, like most Brits, love a cup of tea. It’s engrained in our heritage, entwined in our culture; our go-to drink of choice to warm up on chilly days and cool down on sweltering ones. Everyone has their particular preferences too: I take mine milky, no sugar (but I wouldn’t say no to a custard cream).
Hidden up in the mist-draped hill country of Sri Lanka’s interior, the iconic Ceylon Tea Trails resort has been busy brewing up what can only be described as the world’s most beautiful spot from which to enjoy a cup of tea. In celebration of its tenth anniversary, Tea Trails has just opened the doors to a fifth bungalow: the incomparable Dunkeld. Named after the historic working Dilmah Tea plantation on which it sits, the bungalow teleports guests back to the day of James Taylor – the Scot who brought the tea trade to Ceylon back in the 19th century – and the founding of the long-beloved brew.
The sea of emerald green tea bushes surrounding the bungalow is studded with flashes of brightly coloured saris and the ever-present Sri Lankan smiles. Below, beyond the distant Dunkeld tea factory, the vast expanse of Castlereagh Lake reflects the kaleidoscopic blues and greens of the valley surrounds.
Inside the bungalow, private butlers adhere to your every wish – whether it’s a request for the finest silver tip tea with breakfast, or an early evening gin & tonic (or two) as you drink in the view from the bungalow’s infinity-edge Jacuzzi. Every morning begins with the traditional bed tea – a colonial institution dating back to Taylor’s day and surely the most delightful way to rise and shine.
Love birds seeking even greater seclusion can escape to Taylor Owner’s Cottage – a private love nest elevated above the tea fields and boasting unbeatable views. The cottage is made for two and comes with what must be the most romantic bathroom in the whole of Sri Lanka, featuring two free-standing baths side-by-side, overlooking the valley unfolding below. The cottage is named after Andrew Taylor, Tea Trails’ former resident tea planter (and grandson of James Taylor himself) who sadly passed away last year.
Languorous Dunkeld days are whiled away playing games of croquet on the lawn, cycling the tea trails which criss-cross the plantation, and tasting some of Sri Lanka’s finest local cuisine (the Moroccan mint tea soaked chicken breast is to die for!). Underpinning every aspect is the unique culture and community which grew up with the tea trade – plus an endless supply of our favourite refreshment, right where it all began. No custard creams required.
Lead-in rates for Dunkeld start from US$ 648 per room per night on an all-inclusive basis including all meals and the Tea Trails ‘Tea Experience’.
Lead-in rates for the Taylor Owner’s Cottage start from US$ 1,268 per room per night on an all-inclusive basis including all meals and the Tea Trails ‘Tea Experience’.