Sri Lanka Part 4/7. Just arrived at Stafford Bungalows after bumping through long stretches of narrow potholed-roads (which is the norm in the hill regions); set amongst the stunning tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya at an altitude of over 2,000m, and one of the most well-known tea production area in Sri Lanka. You can see Tamil tea pluckers hard at work filling up their bags with “2 leaves and a bud” – the ideal pluck from the tea plant.
Stafford Bungalows is a heritage tea plantation colonial bungalow built by the pioneering Scottish planters in 1884, and you truly can experience how our once colonial masters lived. The grounds even has a lawn tennis court – how English!
The 131-year old bungalow is beautifully restored (we were the only guests there so far) and quaintly furnished in traditional English style replete with reading room and fireplaces.
The bungalow only has 4 rooms, of which the one we took was the Family Suite with an adjoining bedroom. The rooms are elegantly furnished and each given a distinctive character.
Our long road trip was rewarded with English afternoon tea served in the lovely gardens just as the mist rolled in amidst a light drizzle. The scones were good and came with the full monty of butter, homemade jam and most importantly clotted cream, not the whipped stuff.
Dinner was so English colonial, with starched white linen service and a butler bell to boot. We were the only ones dining which earned us the exclusive attention of the chef and manager, a rather obliging gentlemen. The table gets a choice of Western or Sri Lankan cuisine; for this evening we opted for the latter since turned out to be a wise choice.
The excellent Sri Lankan cuisine was very subtle, and a few dishes reminded us of home: the vegetable curry (like sayur lodeh) and chicken curry were very Malay in style. We were rather crass in bring out our jar of fish sambal that we bought at the Food City convenience store on the way here – for this I blamed it on my son Alan. First time that I had beetroot curry and pineapple flavoured tea. Needless to say, service was impeccable.
You may then adjourn to the living room or the family lounge to relax with have your choice of tea by the fireplace. I can get used to this high life -easily!
Ragala, Nuwara Eliya
Phone:+94 11 4 731731