Hill Country, Sri Lanka

Thotalagala

Rates from (ex tax)$190.43

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD250.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Steeped-in-history bungalow

Setting

Aromatic tea plantation

Hillside tea-planter’s bungalow turned boutique hotel Thotalagala is a colonial-style, seven-room stay, decorated with original 19th-century furnishings and odes to the heritage of Sri Lankan Hill Country. Take alfresco breakfasts on the emerald-green lawn and look out over rolling tea plantations as you nibble baked goods and sip locally grown tea; in the evenings, dine in old-world splendour at the long antique dining table. Spend your days exploring the grounds, climbing up to nearby Lipton’s Seat, or simply lounging on the cream-coloured sofas in-between tea times.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

One three-course dinner for two (not including drinks)

Facilities

Photos Thotalagala facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Seven, including four suites.

Check–Out

Noon; earliest check-in is 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $190.43, excluding tax at 31.28 per cent.

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD250.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include Continental breakfast.

Also

When in tea country, stopping for afternoon tea is basically compulsory. Take yours – with tiered plates of scones, lashings of whipped cream, cucumber sandwiches and cakes – in the antique-dotted living room, or outside on a table-for-two with views of the rolling hills.

At the hotel

Manicured gardens, cigar room, free WiFi throughout, laundry service. In rooms: free WiFi and Spa Ceylon bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Each of the seven rooms is individually decorated with antique furnishings – a roll-top desk here, an artfully arranged taxonomy of fragrant plants there – and named after a historical figure with a tea-country connection. We especially like the stunning four-poster bed in the Rev Walter Senior room.

Poolside

The adults-only unheated pool has views of the rolling green plantation and poolside sunloungers on which to lie and sip tea (or G&Ts).

Packing tips

Bring your hiking boots and binoculars: Haputale is ideally located for trekking and birdwatching.

Also

The architecture of this historic home and the surrounding hills may make this stay less suitable for guests with mobility issues.

Children

Over-fours are welcome to stay in suites for US$100 a day; cots and extra beds aren’t available, but there are sofa beds in the larger suites.

Food and Drink

Photos Thotalagala food and drink

Top Table

Be sociable and share your day’s experience with the other guests, or ask for a more private table outside. The terrace is tops for alfresco lunches.

Dress Code

There may be a little chill in the air, so pull out a cosy jumper or cardigan. Add ornate cufflinks, an antique broach or a string of pearls.

Hotel restaurant

The large, colonial-style dining room has a one long table that seats up to 20 guests. There’s no menu, but you’ll have a choice of Sri Lankan and western-style dishes at every meal; offerings change daily, based on what’s available locally, and the chef discusses options with guests at the start of each day. Expect to see an assortment of curries served with Sri Lankan roti and spicy sambal sauce; if it’s on offer, don’t pass on the lentil dhal. In warmer months, elaborate candle-lit barbecues can be arranged for alfresco dinners. Dessert options range from banana fritters and cinnamon ice-cream to chocolate tarts and fresh fruit. 

Hotel bar

There’s no dedicated bar, but G&Ts aren’t hard to come by, and a fireside armchair in the teak-panelled cigar room is the perfect place for a post-dinner cognac.

Last orders

Meals are arranged at times that are most convenient for guests; if you fancy breakfast at 11am or dinner at 5pm, just ask.

Room service

You're made to feel at home here, and room service can be arranged at any time.

Location

Photos Thotalagala location
Address
Thotalagala
Dambatenne Road
Haputale
Haputale
Sri Lanka

Planes

It's a five-hour drive to Thotalagala from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport. SriLankan Airlines flies direct to Colombo from Sydney and a handful of European destinations; one-stop operators include Emirates and Singapore Airlines. Call our Smith24 team to arrange flights and transfers.

Trains

Haputale Railway Station is 15 minutes away by car; let the hotel know when your train is due, and they’ll arrange a free pickup (and drop-off) for you.

Automobiles

It’s best to leave driving to the professionals in Sri Lanka, but if you are careening around on your own set of wheels, there’s limited free public parking down the street; however, it’s not monitored and spaces aren’t reserved for guests.

Worth getting out of bed for

Enjoy leisurely walks around the estate’s gardens or lounge with a book on one of the cream-coloured sofas. Ask nicely and hotel staff will rustle up breakfast picnics and afternoon teas.
Tour nearby Dambatenne Tea Factory, then take a page from Sir Thomas Lipton and hike up to his favourite look-out spot; you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and tea estates. To get there, it’s an eight-kilometre trek through lush tea plantations, but it’s also possible to hail a tuk-tuk up to Lipton’s Seat, if you’re after a more leisurely outing. Just three kilometres west of Haputale, Tudor-style home turned Benedictine monastery Adisham welcomes tours through its library and English-country-style gardens. After you’ve poked around this former home of tea-planter Sir Thomas Lester Villiers, swing by the shop for a jar of monk-made pineapple jam or mango chutney.
 

Local restaurants

Dining spots are few and far between in this remote region, but luckily all meals are included with your stay, so you’ll have no trouble finding sustenance; in fact, it will be delivered to you with a flourish worthy of tea time with Sir Lipton himself.

Reviews

Photos Thotalagala 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 boutique hotel in the Hill Country and unpacked their loose-leaf teas, a full account of their countryside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Thotalagala in Sri Lanka…
 
Surrounded by greenery and full of antiques and colonial charm, this former tea-planter’s bungalow is still set up as a private home, so make yourself comfortable as any welcome guest would. Sprawl out with a book and a cup of locally grown tea in one of the two living rooms by day, and grab a scotch in the cigar room for your after-dinner digestif by the fire.
Meals are included, and everything from breakfast to dinner and afternoon tea in between can be arranged alfresco, the better to enjoy the serene, green scenery. Wander around the emerald-hued grounds, or venture slightly further afield for tours of tea plantations and views over the Hill Country valleys; just remember to take a cue from Sir Lipton and pause frequently for tea breaks.

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Thotalagala’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The service – nothing was too much trouble. The view from the rear of the property. The staff, who were so friendly and helpful.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Aug 2017

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