You don’t often get to stay at a hotel that has to offer something out of the ordinary. One such experience we had was when we stayed at a hotel called “The Tea Factory Hotel” in Sri Lanka.
As the name suggests, it is the hotel that was earlier a tea factory and is located on top of a small hill overlooking the sprawling tea plantations all around.
Getting To the Hotel
Getting to the Tea Factory Hotel involved a drive past the quaint and historical town of Nuwara Eliya, which was a summer Retreat for the British during the colonial era. Therefore, you will find many of bungalows having English names.
It was a long and a scenic drive till we reached the tea factory. It has no semblance to being a hotel, which was I think was just right because its name did signify that it had been converted from an erstwhile factory!
This factory was a part of the Hethersett plantation, which was named after its owner Mr. Flowerdew’s town in the Blighty. The theme of this Hotel has been well preserved in the form of the original pieces of tea processing machinery that has been kept intact. We also found informative signboards that gave out the history behind every machinery and location inside the premises.
The tea packing room for instance, is the hotel’s bar now. The room allotted to us was the withering loft, which I found quite interesting!
Soon we were imagining the days when these very rooms would have been carrying the faint fragrance of the original Ceylon tea being freshly processed.
Locals call this plantation the “Poopanie Estate”, and its literal translation means “Flower dew”.
It may also have been called the Poopanie because of the picturesque thick grey mist that surrounds the hills around this hotel almost all the time. On getting up the next morning it felt as if we were on a cloud as we woke up and saw a thick blanket of white clouds outside the hotel window.
Our stay at the Tea Factory Hotel was comfortable and totally different from what we had experienced anywhere else. The next few days were spent walking around in the various pathways in tea plantations. It was nice interacting with the tea workers most of them being Tamil speaking people who appeared to be very sincere and happy.
There was also a small modern tea processing factory nearby, where we could see the entire process of tea making.
The hotel stay turned out to be very comfortable and very different. The hotel staff was very helpful and guided us in making our daily programs of “things to do” around the place.
The in-house restaurant specializes in most of the traditional Sri Lankan dishes which we all enjoyed.
It was an ideal setting with fresh air and lots of green open spaces. What also made it more picture perfect was a small railway station nearby, with a signboard that said ‘Hethersett Railway Station’ – where we found a few tables placed so that the guests could enjoy a cup of fresh tea in the authentic tea plantation surroundings.