The Hill Club Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

If you have a vacation in Sri Lanka, then a trip to Nuwara Eliya which is where the British used to retreat to, for coolness in the summer heat a century ago is essential, , to stay at The Hill Club, because I guarantee you won’t find another place like it anywhere in the world.

Nuwara Eliya is over 5000 feet above sea level and visiting there is like going back in time, in fact just getting there is an adventure in itself.

We hired a vehicle, plus driver from our beach side hotel, and booked a night in Kandy, and a night in Nuwara Eliya, to visit my uncle’s old stomping grounds when he was a tea planter in what was then Ceylon.

I’m not going to write about the drive, which was quite amazing, but rather about the hotels we stayed in.

In Kandy we stayed in the Queen’s Hotel, situated on a very English corner, and looking very much like an English town hotel.

Inside, the hall and reception area were wood panelled, with an old fashioned sliding grill lift, you could have been in Edwardian England. Our room looked as if the last visitor was Queen Victoria, and my wife was very concerned abot bed bugs. Having said that although the room was dowdy, it was clean, but the ceiling fan sounded like a spitfire going down the runway!

The hotel had a garden with a swimming pool, mostly frequented by ‘gap year’ public school like students, who could get a cheap shower, and good food at very good prices.

Dinner was served in an almost deserted restaurant, by a black tie waiter, and we worked out my curry cost a little over £1 stg!!

In fact the meal was superb, drinks cheap, and our total bill for two rooms, plus dinner, drinks, and drinks around the pool, came to a massive £75!!

The road to Nuwara Eliya was not long in miles, but it took hours, due to the steep climb, and the narrowness of the road, plus the number of vehicles and buses we encountered.

The views of the tea plantations and the hills were amazing, and a trip round a tea plantation factory well worth while

Shortly before arriving in Nuwara Eliya we were amazed to see road side shacks selling such vegetables as leeks, carrots, cauliflowers, all memories of when the traffic was mainly English residents.

We went to Nuwara Eliya for two reasons, the main one of which was to stay at The Hill Club, still a private club, but also an hotel, although you had to join as a temporary member to use it.!!

Seeing it for the first time it looked like a Lake District Hotel in the 1930’s and inside just confirmed that.

Dinner was a jacket and tie affair[supplied if you had left yours behind!!], with a classic English menu with fish course included, all served by white gloved waiters.

Our room was as you would expect old fashioned, with hot water bottles in our beds.

As a hill town Nuwara Eliya from a distance looks totally English, including the ‘Gardens’ with bandstand, it was for a short moment a bit strange seeing no white faces.

The golf club is totally home counties 1930’s, and the course immaculate. If the sudden lack of English names on the honours board after 1973 was dramatic, it brought home the end of Empire.

I was able to see the name of my uncle on the immaculately kept honours board, plus that of a university friend, plus well cared for old photographs.

Nuwara Eliya is a ‘must do’ if you take a vacation in Sri Lanka.

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