Hill Country, Sri Lanka

Nine Skies

Price per night from$315.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD315.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.


England in the emerald hills


Dashing Demodara

Comforting, refreshing, warming, very moreish: we could be talking about the perfect cuppa, but in fact it’s Nine Skies we have in mind. This boutique bungalow set on a working tea estate in the town of Demodara is a delicious tonic for body, mind and soul. Harking back to the region’s colonial days, rooms are styled with a refined British sensibility, but things are firmly Sri Lankan in the kitchen – and beyond your bedroom, where Hill Country’s emerald-green scenery beckons. Enjoy delicious rice and curries, take a dip in the view-toting pool and unwind in the snug library with a book or two. Just add tea (or a G&T from the honesty bar) when you’re thirsty.

Smith Extra

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A cookery demonstration for two


Photos Nine Skies facilities

Need to know


Five, including one suite.


Noon; earliest check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability and a charge: the cost of one night for check-in before 2pm; 50 per cent of one night, for check-out by 6pm; a full night for check-outs after that.


Double rooms from £337.37 ($419), including tax at 33.12 per cent.

More details

Make yourselves at home: the all-inclusive rates usually include three meals a day, plus tea and coffee, soft drinks and alcohol.

At the hotel

Lovely grounds; lounge; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: black-out curtains, free bottled water, kettle, tea- and coffee-making kit. Rooms don’t have televisions, but there’s one in the lounge.

Our favourite rooms

The Demodara Rooms are spacious and relaxing; for direct access to the garden and pool, opt for Badulla, but Walimida has charming twin-aspect views of the valley and grounds. If your budget permits, go large and bed down in the biggest sleeping quarters: the Ella Rock Suite.


In the eye-pleasing gardens, the shimmering infinity pool has jaw-drop views of the Hill Country (be warned, though: it isn’t heated.

Packing tips

Bring comfy walking shoes and an interest in all things tea-related.


This boutique bungalow is suitable for wheelchair-users; all rooms are equipped with walk-in showers.


Little Smiths are very welcome. The hotel has a limited number of extra beds and cots so be sure to book in advance; a bed can be added to the Demodara rooms or the Ella Rock Suite for $36.36 (but an all-inclusive supplement applies).

Best for

All ages.

Recommended rooms

The Nine Skies Bedroom has twin beds perfect for little Smiths; two of the rooms can be connected to form a family suite. The Ella Rock Suite’s sitting room can be converted into a sleeping area for bairns.


There’s a stash of board games and a fleet of bikes for children aged between 10 and 12; toddlers can totter around the lawn and in the grounds.

Swimming pool

There’s no lifeguard, so keep an eye on your budding Michael/Michaela Phelps.


Little Smiths are welcome in the dining room at all times; there are high chairs if you need them. The relaxed al fresco space is well suited to families, but you can also order meals to your room.


Babysitting can be arranged with 15 days’ notice ($10 an hour).


The hotel can provide cots.

Food and Drink

Photos Nine Skies food and drink

Top Table

The alfresco restaurant surveys the pool, but it has with a roof, should the weather turn.

Dress Code

Something to take you from tea to G&Ts: comfy layers designed for lounging; splashes of emerald to honour the leafy surroundings.

Hotel restaurant

Enjoy delicious rice and curries rustled up by the chef, served in the al fresco dining area. If you’re craving something Western, you can enjoy flavour packed salads, sandwiches and the ilk. Begin the day like Sri Lankan champions by opting for hoppers (savoury pancakes, served with sambol relishes).

Hotel bar

There’s an honesty bar in the lounge; you can also enjoy drinks in the restaurant, by the pool or in the grounds.

Last orders

There are no set times for meals; guests can just let staff know their preferences. Complimentary tea and coffee is served between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

Room service

Should you fancy an in-room treat, dishes from the restaurant menu can be brought to you.


Photos Nine Skies location
Nine Skies
Demodera Estate
Sri Lanka

Nine Skies is sitting pretty on a tea-fringed hill in the town of Demodara, near Ella, roughly 200 kilometres east of Colombo.


Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport is around five hours from Ella by car. If you’re already in Sri Lanka, you could hop on a domestic flight to Nuwara Eliya Seaplane Base on Lake Gregory, which is 60 kilometres away.


Demodara Station is just one kilometre away (a 10-minute drive), with services connecting to Colombo, Kandy and other Sri Lankan destinations.


Only drive if you don’t mind looping roads and hair-pin bends – intrepid drivers will relish having a car for exploring the handsome Hill Country surroundings. You’ll need to drop your luggage off at the hotel entrance as the car park is a walk away; there’s free valet parking.


Arrive in style by hopping on a seaplane with Cinnamon Air.

Worth getting out of bed for

The Hill Country is ripe for culture, wild adventures and natural highs. At the hotel, unwind in the library, mix a drink or two at the honesty bar and go for a wander in the grounds. Walk to local icon, Nine Arch Bridge, along the famous railway track. You can potter down to the tracks and then be taken back up by an obliging tuk-tuk (it’s around three kilometres in total). Hop on one of the Iron Devils – the famous local steam trains that chug through the hill country, giving passengers jaw-drop views. (You could get to Ella this way from Nuwara Eliya, for example.) Borrow wheels from the hotel and go mountain biking in the region’s emerald scenery; for the tastiest views, pack a chef-prepared picnic, too. You could also hike up Mini Adam’s Peak: it takes about 40 minutes to get to the top, but you can extend the experience by scrabbling gamely across the neighbouring ridges. You’re in tea country, so make sure you visit a local tea estate and factory; if possible, join a tour and absorb a brew-tastic education.

Local restaurants

Have breakfast, brunch or lunch at casual Dream Cafe in Ella; for a memorable dinner, you can’t beat the Ceylon Tea Factory on Passara Road. Other than that, stick with the excellent hotel food – rates are all-inclusive, after all.


Photos Nine Skies reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this rural hotel in Demodara and unpacked their cashmere jumpers and loose-leaf tea, a full account of their Sri Lankan break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Nine Skies in the Hill Country

At Nine Skies in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, soft woollen scarves from Peru hang by the front door and bicycles are propped up invitingly outside. They’re subtle cues to treat this historic hideaway like your long-lost Sri Lankan home – a home with a stunning infinity pool, a talented chef, a relaxing lounge and view-toting grounds, of course. Like its sister hotel Goatfell, Nine Skies is a stylish boutique bungalow that once housed the head honchos from the on-site tea estate. These days, lucky guests can get a taste of the quintessential Sri Lankan tea-country lifestyle without having to lift a finger to help those local leaves flourish. Rooms are styled with an old-meets-new medley of designer furniture and antiques; overall, the feel is rather British, harking back to the region’s former life as Sri Lanka’s ‘Little England’. (The Brits were big fans of the cool climate.) Days here begin with a cup or two of the perfect brew – naturally – alongside traditional Sri Lankan breakfasts, followed by Hill Country excursions, hiking trips, tea-estate visits – or afternoons that just unwind leisurely by the pool…

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Price per night from $315.00