The Governor’s Mansion Luxury Tea Estate Boutique Hotel stands prominent in its garden setting in the foothills in Dickoya amidst Sri Lanka’s renowned tea estates.
From the the immaculate lawn, guests can catch a glimpse of the tea pluckers, with their traditional wicker baskets, and in the background, Adam’s Peak, a site venerated by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike.
Many flowering plants collected and nurtured over decades, and which still flourish beneath the stately 100-year-old trees, give the garden its unique and colourful character.
What was once a magnificent British colonial-era private house has had many eminent guests in its distinguished past, including the UK’s Princess Elizabeth in the years before she was crowned Queen.
And for today’s travellers and local patrons it continues to provide a unique taste of elite luxury and pampered living 4,000ft above sea level in the cool climate of the famed tea-growing valley of Hatton-Dickoya.
Its beautifully accommodations all reflect the timeless elegance of the period, including the splendid, extra-large Queen’s Suite, and the Governor’s Suite, with its four-poster bed and panoramic views.
Others include the secluded Victoria and Edwardian suites, the Royal, Albany, Regency, Grovenor, Kensington and Doncaster deluxe double rooms, and the Buckinghamshire, a deluxe single room.
But it is the public areas and gardens that most reflect the gracious and privileged existence once enjoyed by the planters and administrators of British colonial times.
The clubby country-house ambience, including a full-sized billiard table and a dining-room straight out of a Tatler guide to British ‘upper crust’ lifestyles, is soothingly pervasive.
Which sounds stuffy, but isn’t. Enough local character and personality shine through so that this monument to the past provides a fresh and contemporary welcome to families, solo guests and passing travellers alike.
For the hotel’s many and loyal non-residents seeking a brief dose of nostalgia, taking high-tea in the garden or lunch or dinner in the escutcheoned dining room leaves a lasting impression.
As does the location, which provides ample opportunities to experience and explore some of the most spectacular scenery and locations in Sri Lanka’s renowned Hill Country.
Guests can hike or cycle along the winding roads of the tea valleys, ride the white-water rapids of a nearby river, and visit religious sites including Buddhist temples and old British churches.
Golfers have the choice of two top-class courses—the 117-year-old Nuwara Eliya International and the Victoria at Kandy, regarded as one of the most scenic and challenging in Asia, possibly the world.
But for many, it is the Viceroy Special luxury steam train that runs between Colombo and Hatton that offers the most memorable experience, with its restaurant car, smoking area and bar providing a wonderful journey back in time.
Check out the Governor’s Mansion website here.