Tea Factory Hotel

Tea Factory Hotel Journey to the top of the world across a limitless mountain vista adorned by a green carpet of tea plants. Enter a long lost era through a portal of clouds and feel the kiss of mountain mist on your skin. Breathe the pristine mountain air and let your soul be rejuvenated. Gaze upon the dreamscape of Nuwara Eliya. Reside at our inimitable four star theme hotel, The Tea Factory, and live inside a dream from a forgotten age.

The Tea Factory - A hotel of character and star-class, set in an emerald tea scape 6,800 feet above sea level, only six degrees from the Equator. In the mountain range, which gave the world Pure Ceylon Tea, the hotel began as a factory built in the days of the British Raj. It has been converted so that much of the original style and machinery remains, a reminder of the past in perfect blend with innovations of the present. To stay at the Tea Factory is to experience a hotel like none other. Step into its reception, and you are where the factory's leaf drying process was carried out. The atrium is latticed with steel and at its top, two giant wooden fans capped with brass remind you that the bedrooms are on floors that used to be the withering lofts. The tea packing room is now the hotel's popular bar. Where tea was sifted and graded is the hotel's fine restaurant of class; its modern kitchen used to be the engine room. The cuisine is definitely "my cup of tea", whatever your preference.

The withering lofts have been transformed into 57 bedrooms of cosy, carpeted comfort. Wood is the main material used, with doors, shelves and cupboards (plenty of them) left in their natural colours. The windows remain as they were in their original square wooden frames and these provide a glorious view from any bedroom or bathroom. Each bathroom has a bathtub and shower. Every bedroom is heated and has a built-in dressing table with wrap around mirrors, and beds designed for a perfect night's sleep. The view from the rooms at the front of the hotel is a wonderful panorama of tea and at its rear, a peaceful pastoral scene of hamlets, hills and forest, as well as more tea meets your gaze.

History of the Tea Factory is that in 1867 a Scotsman by the name of James Taylor first introduced tea to Ceylon (as the island was then known). Within a decade, the plant had become a popular crop covering over 5000 acres. As the number of requests to open tea plantations grew, the government sold virgin crown land to pioneer planters in the 1870s. Among the bidders was Mr. W. Flowerdew who became the first proprietary planter of what was to become Hethersett.

Mr. Flowerdew chose for his plantation the name Hethersett, after a village in England, which provides a clue to his origins. In Tamil, the plantation is known as Pupanie, which when translated into English means Flowers of Frost - a picturesque way of describing the cold mist that occasionally descends on Hethersett. By 1881 however, Flowerdew had sold the plantation, which then passed through the hands of different owners, each of whom contributed to its development.

The Hethersett tea plantation has played an important role in the development of Sri Lanka's tea industry. The Hethersett factory was the first to fetch the highest price in the world for silver tip tea from Ceylon. This exciting achievement ensured that the Hethersett mark would become synonymous with quality Pure Ceylon Tea.

In the mid-1930s a hill was scalped to create a plateau for the new factory, which is the hotel today. When it was first built it was regarded as a remarkable work of engineering. The factory was ingeniously powered by an oil fired engine with flywheels and pulleys to operate the large fans for withering the tea, and also the rollers and sifters.

By 1968 however, the Hethersett factory had passed its heyday and was finally closed in 1973. It stood disused, among the surrounding tea bushes, a silent monument to the great days of Pure Ceylon Tea.

In 1992, a man of some influence viewed the factory through some hills while on an excursion, and he immediately had a vision of transforming the superbly sited factory shell into a unique, luxury hotel, an idea brought to realisation through the talent of a renowned Sri Lankan architect.

Now restored, the Hethersett Tea Factory is poised to regain its former glory, this time not for its tea but as a successful and innovative hotel.
Distance From Colombo : 170 km
53 Standard rooms facilities include: Plush wall-to-wall carpeting / King sized twin beds with 8 inch natural rubber mattresses/ Writing table and comfortable couch/ Bathroom with rain shower cubicle, bath tub, hot and cold water/ 14 inch colour television with satellite and local channels/ Fully supplied mini bar/ Heating/ Laundry Service (Normal or Express)/ In Room Dining Service/ Tea and coffee making equipment/ Hair dryer/ Radio and Piped music/ Telephone with international direct dialling facility/ 208 square feet of space.

4 Deluxe rooms facilities include: Facilities/ Plush wall-to-wall carpeting/ King sized twin beds with 8 inch natural rubber mattress/ Writing table and comfortable couch/ Bathroom with rain shower and bath tub, hot and cold water/ 21 inch colour television with satellite and local channels/ Fully supplied mini bar/ Heating/ Laundry Service (Normal or Express)/ In Room Dining Service/ Tea and coffee making equipment/ Hair dryer/ Radio and piped music/ Telephone with international direct dialling facility / Tea Factory bath robes and slippers.
Tea Factory Hotel
Positive :
  • One of the most exhilarating sites as you wake up in the morning to freshly brewed pure ceylon tea, is the green, green, very green hills surrounding you, you just know that the rest of the day is going to be as beautiful...
Negative :
  • The road that leads to the Tea Factory from the Kandapola town is horrid! But once you get there, all this treacherous travel is forgotten immediately.
Activities :
  • Trekking
  • Bird Watching
  • Pluck Your Own Tea
  • Cycling
  • Six Senses Spa
Tea Factory Hotel
  • UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Merit Award 2001; The UNESCO Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific awarded The Tea Factory, a merit award for the impressive conversion of a dilapidated tea factory into a luxury hotel complex, demonstrating a challenging adaptive reuse project, executed with commendable skill and vision. All winning entries demonstrated understanding of the issues of conservation in relation to the cultural, social, historical and architectural significance of the building, employment of appropriate building and artisan techniques, use of appropriate materials, and a significant positive impact on the surrounding environment, contributing to the cultural and historical continuum of the community.
  • South Asian Architecture Award 1996; South Asian architecture awards were initiated in 1995 to recognise the world of architectural excellence in the whole of South Asia. Being the first award of its kind in the SAARC region, it has earned great prestige, status and confidence of the fraternity of Architects in the sub-continent. Mr. Nihal Bodhinayake received a commendation award in 1996 for converting an abandoned tea factory into a unique theme hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
  • Most Innovative Product 1998; The Tea Factory was awarded the "Most Innovative Product" marketed at the TTF fair in Ahmadabad, India in 1998. This unique accolade was conferred on the hotel after evaluating other unique products featured at the fair from many Asian countries.
  • The Tea Factory Wins RICS Award 2000; The Tea Factory was awarded the prestigious RICS award conferred by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, London in 2000. This award is presented to encourage and recognize the outstanding achievements and technical ingenuity in the field of conservation and enhancement of the built and natural environment. In evaluating The Tea Factory against entries from all over the world, the judges were impressed by factors such as utilisation of an abandoned building by putting it to beneficial use at an economic cost, preventing the building from falling into dereliction and decay, and causing damage to the environment, and maintaining the entire facade of the original building as well as retaining numerous other features such as old machinery, driving shafts and pulleys. The improvement of the socio-economic status of thousands of poor villagers living in the vicinity and ingeniously maximizing the use of an existing asset by suitably modifying it for its new role in the tourist industry, and implementing in a coordinated manner, was also taken into account in selecting the Tea Factory for this award.
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