Review: Stafford Bungalow, Sri Lanka

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Days of Raj class stay on behind the white picket fences on the Stafford Bungalow. The roads to Ragala snake, writhe and wriggle endlessly upwards by the tea fields of Sri Lanka’s central area. A mile above sea degree, in Sri Lankan hill nation, sits the Stafford Bungalow. A luxurious boutique villa with full service.

Set amidst a working 50 acre plantation, dotted with yellow acacia timber and morning glory crops, the bungalow remembers the luxurious life-style of the colonial tea planters. Built in 1884 the black-and-white timbered structure appeared to the Home Counties for its inspiration.

Although the unique planters Sir G.H.D. Elphinstone and J. Paterson Senior have been Scottish, the native space turned often known as Little England. Not only for the billiard-table flat inexperienced lawns and English nation backyard roses but additionally due to the cool local weather and common rain.

Recalling the homely model of the plantation years, the bungalow has 4 visitor rooms and an extra two throughout the proprietor’s cottage.

A way of privateness and timeless class have drawn the Sri Lankan President to remain at Stafford Bungalow as a retreat from the pressures of workplace.

The welcome

Whilst we have been travelling, Christy our butler, rang asking for alternatives from the lunch menu. On arrival, with drizzle within the air, we’re met by employees with umbrellas.

We recognize heat flannels and scorching chocolate after the lengthy drive.

The room

The floor ground Master Suite leads out on to a lined patio with an inviting couch in addition to desk and chairs. Wrapping across the nook of the twin side suite there’s a small walled backyard.

Burgundy curtains and darkish picket flooring create a way of opulence. Still life paintings of flower preparations wouldn’t look misplaced in a Royal Academy summer time exhibition.

Renowned inside designer Taru Fonseka makes use of furnishings to recreate the aura of a misplaced age. Dark wooden wardrobe, dressing desk, desk, chests of drawers and chairs encompass a stable 4 poster mattress to construct a way of heritage and custom.

Recently, two new bigger rooms have been created within the Owner’s Cottage with the bogs that includes free-standing baths in addition to showers. Both rooms have direct entry to their very own backyard.

The rest room

Returning to the main bedroom, the place the Sri Lankan President stayed, the toilet is massive, gentle and spacious. It has each rainfall and directional showers.

The amenities

Adjacent to the main bedroom there’s a studying room for books borrowed from the bungalow’s library. As there’s a chill within the air, Christy lights a hearth in a lounge the place afternoon tea and pre-dinner gin and tonic are served. “It is a tradition,” Christy declares as he pours earlier than asking what number of slices of lime and what number of ice cubes we want.

In the eating room, glass doorways slide again to disclose the totally glory of the backyard. After each meal the Head Chef Sanjeewa seems, in his white chef’s hat, to debate the menu for the subsequent meal.

His options for dinner start with a feta cheese and peashoot salad, adopted by a roasted pumpkin soup accompanied by heat oregano rolls. Flavours of cumin and coriander counsel that the kitchen has made the a lot of the natural herb, spice and vegetable gardens on website.

Atlantic salmon, sourced from Norway, and beef tenderloin from the USA are the choices for the principle course. We negotiate the warmth of the accompanying curry sauce with Sanjeewa.

A swimming pool, sun-loungers and jacuzzi beckon. Unless it’s the moist season when the video games room comes into its personal.

Location

Most visitors begin by exploring the property: birdwatching, taking a Stafford plantation trek or choosing a tea plucking and tasting expertise. Nearby Ravana Rock provides quite a lot of hikes which might be mixed with a picnic lunch.

Having learnt find out how to pluck two leaves and a bud, visitors can e-book a manufacturing unit tour to witness the subsequent phases of a tea leaf’s journey.

For a scenic trek from Stafford Bungalow there may be The Pekoe Trail, a brand new 300 km lengthy distance strolling path by the Central Highlands. Adventurer Miguel Cunat’s mind little one has been funded by the EU and USAiD, benefiting villages that don’t often see vacationers

Guests can even take a strolling tour of Ragala while a tour of its temples can be obtainable. Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus and Moslems fortunately co-exist within the city with many combined marriages happening.

A little bit additional afield, the Hill Station of Nuwara Eliya was a favorite escape from the Summer warmth for the British. The racecourse, golf membership and Victoria Park all contribute to the city’s Little England nickname.

Other good touches

Breakfast begins with an eye-opening wholesome shot, maybe ardour fruit juice or gooseberry. When the solar is shining breakfast is taken on the garden surrounded by dew-sprinkled flame lilies, false jalap and white dianthus.

Almost each merchandise that emerges from the kitchen is home made: marmalade and jams for breakfast, oats biscuits with espresso, the cake or scones or dim sum that accompany afternoon tea.

If there’s a chill within the air, the turndown service locations scorching water bottles into the beds.

The value

Deluxe rooms start from US$ 650 on a half board foundation together with breakfast, afternoon tea, 4 course dinner and tea/ espresso with meals throughout January and February 2024.

The all-inclusive fee of US$ 780 per room, per night time, contains contains breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, complimentary comfortable drinks, beer, home wine, home gin/vodka/whisky/arrack with mixers in addition to tea and low.

The finest bit

A trek by the tea fields is a traditional introduction to the tea property. The tea-pluckers, principally ladies in vibrant saris, are dotted across the waist-high tea bushes.

Walkers study concerning the routines of the tea fields. The pluckers choosing two leaves and a bud for six days every week. The inspectors who weigh and examine the standard of the decide. The property employees who undertake pruning and upkeep each 4 years: brushing moss from the bark, loosening the soil around the timber’ roots with a fork.

The closing verdict

Far extra intimate than even probably the most boutique of motels, Stafford Bungalow supplies an interesting perception right into a misplaced period. Far from residence, the planters turned to reassuring touches of the homeland: caddies on teapots, Marmite on toast, wellies and slippers prepared for walks.

Service is impeccable. The butler offers you his card with a 24/7 quantity which you could ring at any time.

Disclosure: Our keep was sponsored by the Stafford Bungalow.

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