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Kirchhayn Bungalow

Bandarawela,  Hill Country


Kirchhayn is the only original Planter's Bungalow on a tea estate which has been owned and operated by the same family for generations.  After some years of operating as a modest guest house, a massive renovation has transformed it into a modern and comfortable boutique villa, introducing new bathrooms and bedrooms whilst not destroying the gentle and historic ambiance of the house.

The bungalow is not alone in its rejuvenation; the delightful 4 acre gardens have also benefited.  A swimming pool, a grass tennis court - the first grass tennis court in Sri Lanka, playing area for children and an imaginative pitch and putt green have been mocked into the garden  providing some fun but do not expect Wimbledon and the Ryder Cup.  The landscaped areas are well tended and colourful -an ideal place to have afteroon tea or relax and listen to the birdlife.

Kirchhayn stands at 1400m. above sea level, so though the days are warm and sunny (20-26c) the early mornings and evenings are chilly (12-16c) and a sweater or light fleece is welcome.

This villa is ideally located for a stay between enjoying the beaches and water sports of the south west and heading for the hills and culture of Kandy. There is so much to enjoy and explore here that the owners have requested that guests stay a minimum of two nights.

Inside Kirchhayn the atmosphere is restful and comfortable, and guest feedback praises the food and the service. Four  public guest rooms include a quiet, cosy study / library  with many interesting books on local birds, wild life and tea planting and its history.  The large sitting room is a comfortable place to relax  in by day, or congregate in the early evening for pre-dinner drinks and leads to the main verandah which has spectacular views over the garden.  Meals may be taken here instead of the formal dinng room and it is a wonderful spot for bird watching.  The drawing room with its open fire is a cosy venue for after dinner conversation with your fellow guests.

The five large bedrooms have either private courtyards or stunning views over the garden.  The en suite bathrooms now have 'state of the art' showers, separate large baths and designer basins and toilets.

Your host, Erol, is Australian but considered a local as his past 25 years have been amongst the tea and coffe trade and as such he is very knowledgable on the countryside and plantations.


 Highs Lows 
  •  A very tranquil place  for birdwatchers and for taking a respite from a hill country tour
  • Sociable and friendly - catch up with fellow travellers over dinner. A competant chef for Western and Sri lankan dishes. 
  • Little in the way of immediate activities for children, but most adults are happy to relax with a gin & tonic in the evening and head out for the day to the hills.
  • Some guests suggest the standard of English of staff can be poor.


   Swimming Pool
   Groups Welcomed
   Bird Watching


There are five large bedrooms all of which have newly updated, ensuite bathrooms.

The Bostock Suite

This is the largest room and has a furnished alcove with stunning views over the croquet lawn towards the tea estate. The beautiful,  hand carved jak wood, four poster bed is king size and protected by mosqiuto nets suspended from the lofty 20 ft. high ceiling. The room is furnished with a divan, arm chairs, dressing table and writing desk with chair.

The Taylor Suite

We like to think of this as the honeymoon suite as there is a delightful private garden courtyard with handcut stone walls,  carved jak wood doors and garden furniture.  The queen sized bed, with its carved jak wood frame, is surrounded by mosquito nets suspended from the vaulted ceiling. The bathroom is particularly striking with a 2 m wide walk -in shower, sunken terrazzo bath and vanity unit and toilet.

The Lushington Suite

This very large room is lit from a sky light above and has a garden courtyard  with hand cut stone walls and carved jak wood doors.  The garden furniture allows you to enjoy this calm oasis. The queen sized bed is a hand carved four poster, surrounded by mosquito nets. The sitting area has a day bed for relaxing  and the bathroom has an extra long, stand alone bath.

The Pyman Suite

We consider this the best of all the rooms with its glorious views across the garden.There are two queensize rosewood sleigh beds, their mosquito nets suspended from the airy 20 ft. ceiling, and a day bed in the large sitting area.  There is a stunning bathroom with claw foot bath and walk in shower.

The Wickwar Suite

Another courtyard room with garden furniture.  A queen size bed, carved jak wood and four poster, with mosquito nets. Bathroom with claw foot bath and walk in shower. 


Meals are usually taken together in the formal dining room, or on the garden verandah but the occasion is far from formal.  Your host will join you for dinner and our fellow guests ranged from mid twenties travellers to colonial pensioners and the evening was such a laugh.

 All meals are with full service, no buffets, and the emphasis is on home cooked food from local, organic produce. A previous Australian Manager has trained the cooks in a wide range of International dishes.

We dined on  carrot soup followed by chicken risotto and crispy mixed lettuce. Dessert was spectacular and we simply indulged in all four on offer.

Menu suggestions are made, and guests' preferences taken into account.  Traditional Sri Lankan dishes are always available, as well as more cosmopolitan cuisine.  A selection of wines is available. Room service is available on request and picnics will be prepared for guests wishing to take a long walk or day trip.

Things to do & local tips

Kirchhayn is a perfect destination for R&R and to be pampered in a wonderful climate.  Once  you have refuelled, you may wish to indulge in the numerous activities close by .

  • Guided walks around the tea estate with a specialist birdy. Visit a nearby factory for an exhibition of the concept of tea 'picked perfected and packed' at origin.  
  • Croquet, boulle,  golf (3 holes) / pitch and putt,  tennis,
  • Indulge in a massage from the local ayurvedic centre
  • Simply relax and enjoy afternoon tea in the beautiful gardens.
  • Adams Peak is just 45 mins away and requires an early start for the spectacular 4am sunrise.  Be sure to allow 2 days recouperation and foot massage after the challenge!
  • Horton Plains and Worlds End provide both easy strolls and more taxing guided walks.  Take the early train and then trek back.
  • For more adventurous activities, trekking, biking, , paragliding (Ella Region), golf (Nuwara Eliya and Victoria, Kandy), kayaking and white water rafting are all within an hours drive.

     Many other sights and activities are within easy reach.:-

    Dowa temple

    Adisham Monastery

    Numerous spectacular waterfalls to admire on your trek around the hill country.

For further recommendations and details of the Hill country, see our regional reviews.