There is something to be said about the importance of historical significance at Thotalagala, one of the first and most beautiful 19th century tea planters’ bungalows in Sri Lanka. This niche boutique hotel, located within a collection of tea estates that produces some of the finest tea in Sri Lanka, was originally a tea planter’s bungalow created in 1870. The 145-year old house has now assumed the role of a luxury hotel to give travellers a taste of life on a tea estate, and the Thotalagala experience strives to pay tribute to its colonial past.
The hotel comprises of seven well-appointed rooms, three junior suites and four suites. The themed suites are based on personalities such as Major Rogers, Sir Thomas Lipton and James Taylor among others, who shaped the history of the province of Uva, one of the island’s foremost tea growing regions. Each of the beautifully decorated rooms comes equipped with all the luxuries of a 5-star hotel, but we recommend the suites for an indulgent soak in their deep freestanding baths.
Dining at Thotalagala comes second to none with communal dining in the old dining room, however guests aren’t restricted to the confines the restaurant and the boutique hotel encourages them to enjoy al fresco dining anywhere within the property. Champagne breakfast atop Lipton’s seat or High Tea at next door Dambatenne bungalow can also be organised. The hotel also has a shared infinity pool which overlooks the dramatic and breathtaking Haputale escarpment.
Thotalagala is located 20 minutes away from Haputale and is ideally located for hiking, trekking and bird watching. Many visitors hike from the town of Haputale right up to Lipton's Seat; it is quite a long hike but very interesting. According to the footprints guide of Sri Lanka, the Dambatenne road is one of the only places in Sri Lanka where you can technically see 50% of the island (the South and the East), and it really does feel as though you are floating in the clouds! Horton Plains, possibly one the most famous destinations for hiking in Sri Lanka, is also an hour’s drive from Thotalagala and has magnificent hiking and walking routes. Nearby is the Pitarathmalie forest reserve, a thicket of cloud forest which is marked as a bird sanctuary, as well as Thangamalai bird sanctuary beneath Adisham monastery.