Set among the verdant foothills of the Knuckles Mountain Range, Ashburnham Estate is a boutique hotel with a cosy, communal atmosphere. You are bound to be relaxed here as the property has a distinctly homely feel about it, thanks to its friendly staff, and you will find yourself surrounded by nothing but the phenomenal scenery of Sri Lanka’s beautiful Hill Country.
Sitting within its own 100-acre working tea estate, the wonderful guesthouse was originally a 1930’s tea planters' bungalow. The six double-bedrooms make the most of the property's heritage and, in true boutique style, none of them look the same; however, they all share a simple yet striking look, with vibrant velvet furniture, fourposter beds and tasteful local and Indian decorations. Each comes complete with an en-suite bathroom and families can choose between two different suites (the aptly-named 'Family Room' and cheery yellow 'Ash Suite'). Also, some of the rooms have scenic outdoor balconies with colonial deckchairs, where you can soak in the impressive views in your own secluded spot.
The hotel’s front veranda offers breath-taking views as far as the eye can see, right over the property’s inviting swimming pool to the rolling hills beyond. Hours can easily be whiled away here simply admiring the foliage as it changes in the light and shade of the day, and chatting to fellow visitors with a drink in hand - opt for a cup of Ceylon tea in the morning and a classic G&T in the evening. The cuisine served here is delicious, and guests can dine on Sri Lankan dishes or more international alternatives in the comfortable dining room or alfresco on the terrace.
Ashburnham Estate offers an array of activities and excursions that embrace its prime position in the tea country. A stay here would not be complete without a ‘tea tour’ led by the charismatic estate manager ‘Mr ‘Das’ (Dassanayake), on which you will learn about the planting and picking process, join the vibrant tea ‘pickers’ in action and taste a selection of locally-grown tea. We also recommend walking with the lovely resident naturalist through the winding plantations, passing locals and tiny temples as you go, up to a scenic hill for a memorable high tea. This is bound to be a highlight as the panoramic views from here are just incredible, especially at sunset. You can also explore the rural surroundings on other guided walks and hikes, including those to nearby cascading waterfalls and natural plunge pools, where you are sure to be tempted to take a refreshing dip.
Features in the following itineraries
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Anonymous, India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India