Thotalagala

Location: Sri Lanka's Hill Country | Sri Lanka

Price guide: £££££ £200-£350 per person per night

This historic 19th-century tea estate is nestled in a beautiful plantation setting amidst mountains and jungle, with elegant colonial-style suites and pretty views. Set in 20 acres of landscaped, flower-filled gardens in one of the premier tea-growing countries in the world, this is an idyllic and exclusive spot to enjoy drinking and learning about the history of tea amidst the ethereal tropical landscapes, as well as discover the surroundings.  
Perfect forTea lovers, historians and anyone looking for a slice of authentic Sri Lankan life.
In the know
  • Learn about tea in a beautiful, historic setting in one of the world’s top tea-growing countries
  • Exclusive access to the neighbouring Dambatenne estate
  • Stylish colonial suites
  • Panoramic views over jungle and mountains
  • Hiking, birdwatching and wildlife-spotting opportunities

Recommended for...

  • Boutique Hotel
  • Landscapes & Scenery
  • History & Heritage
  • Cultural Immersion

Hotel Overview

Sense of Place

Thotalagala has a spectacular location on Pitaratmalie Estate, part of the large Agarapatana Plantations. It sits above Sri Lanka’s south-eastern plains, on the edge of the Haputale escarpment and between the mountains and the jungle, guaranteeing panoramic vistas.

Rooms at Thotalagala

There are just seven themed colonial-style suites at Thotalagala, each one celebrating a figure central to the history of the Uva province, one of the most significant tea growing regions in Sri Lanka – one is named after Sir Thomas Lipton. Housed in one of the first 19th-century tea planters’ bungalows in the country, their beautiful interiors feature dark woods and light creams, with four-poster beds, antique furnishings, plush sofas, stylish tiled bathrooms and panoramic vistas over the countryside.

In keeping with the serenity of the location, there are no TVs in the rooms. There is complimentary Wi-Fi, but we recommend taking this opportunity to switch off and relax!

Food & Drink

Wake up to a glorious sunrise and enjoy morning breakfast on the lawn, overlooking the mountains: including (of course) a cup of single estate, premium quality tea, served in a china cup, alongside bread fresh from the oven, homemade preserves and fruit from nearby orchards - or have a picnic breakfast by the stream.  

In the afternoon, linger over a classic afternoon tea with scones, finger sandwiches and cakes, and feast on a delicious candlelit barbecue of hearty plantation fare in the evening.

Facilities

There are plenty of places indoors and outside to relax. Laze on the lawns or relive the lifestyle of the 19th century in an armchair by the fireplace in the lounge, where you’ll find plenty of books about the area and local tea-growing.  

Activities at Thotalagala

This working estate is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to learn about tea. Thotalagala borders Dambatenne, one of the few tea estates in the world that Sir Thomas Lipton planted himself. The term Ceylon tea was coined here, and this is where Lipton’s Tea was founded and sold its first pound of tea from the factory which still stands today. Guests have exclusive access to the factory and to Lipton’s home, and you can immerse yourself in the life of a tea planter, and walk through the endless acres of tea gardens. 

For a more challenging walk, hike to Lipton’s Seat, where Sir Thomas would survey his tea plantations. On a clear day you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over the Uva province and beyond, with mountains and lakes leading to the southern coast. If you prefer a gentler journey, the hotel will drive you up to the viewpoint.

Continuing the tea theme, you can also visit Nuwara Eliya, where some of the world’s finest orange pekoe tea is produced. Excursions can also be arranged to the 720ft-high Diyaluma (‘liquid light’) Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, which is rich in folklore, and to St. Benedict’s Monastery, which is beautifully preserved and has English country cottage-style gardens and a shop selling renowned jams made by the monks.

Thotalagala sits between Kandy and the southern beaches and wildlife parks, making it an ideal location to explore some of Sri Lanka’s many other gems. The area is wildlife and birdlife-rich - see leopards, langurs and highland birds such as the Sri Lanka white-eye and the flycatcher.

Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
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Best time to go

Hotel location

Kandy is 2.5 hours away. Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport is approximately 5 hours away by car.

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