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Ceylon Tea Trails - Tientsin Bungalow - Central Highlands, Sri Lanka | Hotel Review

Lovely Gardens, Superior Service, Magical Nights


Tientsin bungalow is part of Ceylon Tea Trails, a collection of four colonial era tea planter’s bungalows near the Castlereagh lake in Bogawantalawa Valley in Central Sri Lanka. Built in 1939, this colonial bungalow has been named after the Chinese village from which the original tea seedlings came here.

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Located 4000 feet above sea level, Tientsin bungalow has 3 types of accommodation. The three Luxury Rooms have a garden view while the two Garden Suites have a private veranda with a garden view. The Master Suite features a separate living room with views across the valley and the tea fields.

Upon arrival, we were quickly shown to the Master Suite. Reception was simple and was handled in the suite itself. Polished wooden floors, high ceilings and authentic period furnishings added to the colonial charm. Both the living room and the bedroom were quite spacious and had individual fireplaces. During each night of our stay, we had a fire on in the fireplace. It created a magical and special atmosphere.

To our chagrin, we found that the living room windows of this suite looked out to the front of the bungalow where the tables and chairs were located. It took away any since of privacy.

While they did offer complimentary Wi-Fi, the bungalow was sans TV. They say the point of being there is to relax and unwind.

All meals and in-house liquors and wines were included in our package. The in-house wine list was small with just two reds and two whites. All were Chilean wines. The premium wine list had about half a dozen different wines. The wine prices were quite reasonable.

Tientsin bungalow is a member of Relais and Chateaux, a luxury hotel and restaurant membership group that allows only the best of the best to join them. Hence, we were expecting the food at this Ceylon Tea Trails bungalow to be up to Relais and Chateaux standards, but sadly, it wasn’t. Each lunch and dinner consisted of a soup, main course and dessert. While the service and presentation was excellent and faultless, the food just did not excel.

The swimming pool was set amongst some of the most beautiful gardens I had ever seen. Sun loungers lined the sides of the pool. The only negative was that the pool was not heated. A tennis court and a croquet lawn were also present among the gardens. The gardens were charming and a pure joy to roam around in. There were little sitting areas throughout that were perfect for drinking tea or wine while taking in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The library or the communal living room had a serve yourself bar and a fireplace. This room was pretty spacious and was softly lit. Even the dining room was pretty big and sported a fireplace. We had a candle lit dinner in this dining room with a fire in the fireplace. It was a truly bombastic experience, except for the food of course.

The staff and the assistant manager at this Ceylon Tea Trails bungalow were wonderful. They were highly service orientated and really made us feel at home during the course of our stay. The general manager was located off premises since he oversees all the four bungalows under Ceylon Tea Trails.

Overall, Tientsin bungalow was a wonderful experience. We felt as if we had stepped back in time to the colonial era. However, if I were to go back I would book a Garden Suite with a fireplace. Though you end up losing the living room, you can make up for that with the private garden. Plus, it is much more private. Our rating for Tientsin bungalow is Bombastic.

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