Need to know
11am. Earliest check-in, 2pm, but both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $126.75, excluding tax at 31 per cent.
Rates include a full English breakfast with a choice of fruit, porridge or muesli. Half- and full-board supplements are available for USD$35 and USD$55 an adult, respectively, plus tax and tips (half price for little Smiths aged 4–7; free for under-4s).
There’s no TV or phones in the room; instead, pass your time testing the rooms’ silky soft bedding and cinnamon-scented toiletries, both tailor-made in Sri Lanka for the hotel.
Any bookings over Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve will involve a compulsory afternoon tea and five-course dinner (including house cocktails; not including wines and spirits). This will be charged at a rate of $55 a person ($25 for under-10s; free for under-3s).
At the hotel
Three acres of gardens, croquet lawn, tennis court, badminton, snooker room, kids play room, television room with DVD library, bikes to borrow, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: bathrobes, free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
Located on the hotel’s first floor, each of the five rooms takes its name from Sri Lanka’s tea-planting history. The largest, Pattigayama, has pale lemon yellow walls, a striking bed with four posters carved into tree shapes and the only bath tub in the house. With its draped four-poster bed and rococo vanity, Le Cocq has an air of French romance; all rooms are stylishly decked out with dark painted floors, bold patterned wallpaper and panelled ceilings.
The hotel’s curvaceous pool sparkles on a raised stone terrace circled by luxuriant trees, a row of royal-blue sunloungers and its own little pool house. Float away in total serenity to the sound of chanting from nearby temples echoing around the rolling hills; at dawn, the morning mist rising around this scenic stretch of old-world Ceylon can be quite magical.
The hotel doesn’t sell alcohol, but staff will happily chill your own sundowner supplies and postprandial tipples. It can get cool in the mountains at night, so bring a light knit.
Access through the gardens and the staircase to the rooms make the property difficult to navigate for disabled guests, although staff will help as much as possible.
Welcome. A free cot for under-3s and extra beds (from US$45 a night excluding tax and service) are available. The chef will happily adapt meals to suit little palates; free babysitting can also be arranged with a day’s notice.