Staying in Sri Lanka’s elegantly restored tea planters’ houses

New openings sparkle in the highlands and the south-coast hotspot of Weligama

Halala Kanda villa is located just outside the Sri Lankan coastal hotspot of Weligama
Halala Kanda villa is located just outside the Sri Lankan coastal hotspot of Weligama

The emergence of Sri Lanka as a hive of thoughtfully crafted independent hotels owes a great deal to a visionary few, among them Malik J Fernando, George Cooper – and Henry Fitch. Fitch’s Teardrop Hotels (teardrop-hotels.com), which include Colombo’s Wallawwa and Galle’s fantastic Fort Bazaar, layer contemporary style into old colonial buildings. Now he’s introducing to Teardrop a small circuit of intimate restored tea planters’ bungalows in the highlands. First up is Goatfell (from about £265), with just four suites and cinematic views over electric-green hills and the city of Nuwara Eliya, and shortly thereafter Nine Skies (from about £440), lush with private gardens and croquet lawn and boasting five discrete bungalow suites. If a sprawling private villa closer to the sea is what you’re after, Halala Kanda (halalakanda.com; $1,300 per night for exclusive use), near south-coast hotspot Weligama, is your ticket. Its interiors – six bedrooms (some with private gardens), living rooms, kitchen and wide terrace – blend Dutch colonial antiques, contemporary collectables and a Flemish-influenced palette.

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