Ceylon Tea Trails is described as “the world’s first tea bungalow resort” and Norwood Bungalow, where I will be staying, apparently “abounds in fifties character”. Neither phrase whets my appetite or prepares me for this excellent new concept in luxury travel. Accommodation is in four renovated tea planters’ bungalows, dotted around the 1000-acre estate, each with four to six rooms discreetly attentive staff and chefs. Each has its own colonial style, with period furnishing and exotic English gardens combining giant bamboo stands with croquet lawns, swimming pools and incredible vistas of the surrounding Bogawantalawa Valley. The Bungalows are linked by scenic paths, and I discover the genius of the place when I take an eight-mile hike, past traditional villages small Hindu temples and a maze of laurel-green tea bushes, from Norwood to the lakeside bungalow of Castlereagh, where I have booked a table for lunch.
The estate lies at an altitude roughly equivalent to the top of Ben Nevis, so it is temperate and breezy, but the tropical sun can still be punishing. After my hot hike, the gardens of Castlereagh appear before me like a scene from a Noel Coward play. Smartly dressed honeymooners loll about on lawn armchairs, sipping spritzers and weighing up the merits of mint-crushed lamb (delicious) or tarragon-infused chicken (divine) for lunch. Read more:Daily Telegraph UK Ultratravel Feb 13