Sri Lanka is one of those rare destinations that has it all: rich cultural history, flavorful local cuisine, palm-tree-lined beaches, safari-style wildlife encounters. And when it comes to hotels in Sri Lanka, honeymooners likewise have it all, in that they're able to choose from dozens of five-star resorts that are tailor-made for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Whether it's a high-rise suite in the capital of Colombo or a glitzy beach resort on the southern shores of Weligama or Tangalle, honeymooners have more options than ever. While the development of hotels in Sri Lanka are booming in certain areas, the central region of Ceylon remains spectacularly unchanged—a vision of the island nation as it was during the colonial period and beyond.
To experience the best of Central Highlands, book a stay at Resplendent Ceylon's Tea Trails, a five bungalow retreat spread out across the hills of tea country, which sets the standard for boutique luxury in Sri Lanka. At Tea Trails, honeymooners have their pick of accommodations, set in restored colonial-era tea planter residences. Each bungalow has multiple suites and is done up its own unique aesthetic: Dunkeld Bungalow is located in the middle of the working Dilmah Tea Plantation and has an infinity pool and hot tub overlooking Castlereagh Lake; Castlereagh Bungalow has wraparound decks and is ideally located on the banks of the lake for easy access to water activities; Summerville Bungalow, just opposite Castlereagh, has throwback decor and airy suites with French doors that lead out onto private outdoor patios.
Tea production is one of Sri Lanka's biggest industries: it accounts for approximately two percent of the country's overall GDP. As Tea Trails is uniquely located in is the heart of tea country, guests have the opportunity to learn the inner-workings of tea production—from the pickers who pull the leaves from the bushes that cover the hillsides to the drying and sorting of the leaves in a factory to the processing and packaging of the dried leaves into the teabags you'll found in supermarkets around the world. After a tour of the Dilmah Tea Plantation's inner-workings, we guarantee you'll never again take for granted that morning cup of English Breakfast tea. In fact, as you pause your day for 4 p.m. high tea—served daily at the all-inclusive Tea Trails—you'll have trouble picking just one brew from the extensive menu, owing to your newfound appreciation for the work that goes into producing the perfect blend.
Another one of the hallmarks of Tea Trails is the gourmet cuisine—in fact, it's the sole Sri Lankan member of Relais & Chateaux, a designation that ensures inventive dishes, high-quality presentation, and impeccable service. Each bungalow has its own private butler, who meets with guests individually to discuss the day's menu and customize dishes according to their individual preferences. And all of the ingredients used in those dishes are grown directly on the estate, so guests can expect mouthwatering plates punctuated with such spices as: basil, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, sage, parsley, and mint.
In between delicious meals, guests can spend their days hiking and biking in the surrounding hills, kayaking on the lake, and relaxing in their bungalow's pool (Tientsin even has clay tennis courts). Nights, however, are some of the most special moments at Tea Trails. They begin with cocktail hour in the bungalow's lounge, during which time your butler will serve your cocktail of choice (which he somehow knows without having to ask) as you and your man sit, chat, read, or play boardgames as records on an old-school gramophone hum in the background. Afterward, you'll move to your table of choice (on the covered terrace or a secluded deck overlooking the Lake, for example) for a mind-blowing authentic Sri Lankan rice and curry.
How to book:
Sri Lanka is, in many respects, still a developing nation. It's essential to work with a reputable travel advisor to plan the perfect itinerary and assist with ground transportation and tour guides. We recommend ATJ (Asia Transpacific Journeys), where travel specialist Jen Boyd is happy to lend her expertise on which of Sri Lanka's many specialized experiences will enhance your specific honeymoon. A stay at Tea Trails, for example, might be paired with a few nights at other top hotels, like Resplendent Ceylon's southern beach resort, Cape Weligama, and/or a safari-style getaway to the brand's forthcoming camp, Wild Coast Tented Lodge, on the boundaries of Yala National Park, which is ideal for leopard sightings.