The exterior of this gem from the late British raj remains virtually unaltered since it was built by tea pluckers in the 1930's. Its modular architecture and heavy window frontage stands proudly in the centre of Division 1 of a working tea estate. The central atrium and reception gives way to the original and operational lift shaft.
Tea from the Hethersett factory was the first to fetch the highest price in the world for Silver tip tea from Ceylon. In 1891, Hethersett tea was auctioned in Mincing Lane, London, for £1.10s.6d, over 30 times the current average price of 1s lb pound of tea. This was an exciting achievement for a new tea factory.
The 57 bedrooms fill the corridors around the perimeter, the best views across the hill country being enjoyed from the corner deluxe rooms. The interior has been converted into a comfortable yet unusual hotel with large lounge and dining areas. However the light seeps in, shining on the metal foundations.
The tea Factory is about 30 minutes out of Nuwara Eliya sitting on one of the highest points of the tea country. The misty mountains clear between 10 am and 4pm, unveiling stunning views of the hill country and a haven for bird watchers.
During the day you might wish to enjoy the pleasant walks or 18 hole golf course of Nuwara Eliya town. At Buddhist New Year and Christmas time the town and especially the Race Course are popular venues for local holiday makers and the atmosphere is buzzing.
A large lawn to the front is an ideal spot for 'early' afternoon tea or socialising at the many weddings which choose a venue in the highlands. The nearby Heatherset Estate invites you to pluck your own tea leaves and have them processed in the hotel's tea factory.
A very different experience from the usual tea plantation bungalow and a quiet location for some R&R before indulging in more of Sri lanka's sights.
The hotel has 57 double rooms in total, 46 of which are twin rooms. The deluxe corner rooms are offered at a slight supplement as they offer superior views across the hill side.
The rooms have a cosy feel with wall to wall capeting and heavy wooden storage furniture and dressing table. The decor is simple and the beds are fitted with heavy blankets and traditional colonial bedspreads as night time is very cool if not cold at certain times of the year. Each room has a bathroom with a fitted bath and overhead shower unit.
The in-room facilities are in abundance with hairdryer, toiletries, mini bar, piped music, TV and radio and of course a selection of the finest teas. A 24hr room service, laundry facilities and a central safe are also provided for your convenience
Professionals or those needing to reach the outside world beyond these misty mountains, may utilise the meeting rooms or commuication services of the business centre and cyber cafe.
Most guests opt for half board as the perfect climate makes for excellent day trips to the hillside or Horton Plains.
The main Kenmare restaurant offers Western and Eastern cuisine at breakfast, lunch and dinner .The buffet menu is most popular and offers a huge variety of dishes. The local fresh produce of vegetables and fruit is outstanding as the climate is perfect for the market gardeners all around. Poultry and meat are recommended dishes as the seafood tends to be less fresh than on the coast. The river fish is rather bland in flavour.
Some may prefer to chose from the a la carte menu and indulge in a more intimate dining experience. 16 guests can board the static railway carriage and enjoy a taste of the Raj aboard the historic TCK6685.
Retire to either of the two bars. The quiet library neighburing the Goatfell Bar is furnished with a pool table and is ideal for after dinner drinks and soft music. The larger Hethersett bar/lounge has an equally 'English feel' with wood panelled walls and bar but has a livelier atmosphere with occasional entertainment of 'traditional' Bingo, live jazz music and board games.
The views from all the lounge and dining areas are wonderful by dayl but vanish by night due to the heavy mist. The interiors are created from the original packing and sifting rooms so the high ceilings allow noise to circulate around the factory engineering parts creating an exciting atmosphere.
For further details on things to see and do in the area see our regional review of the Hill country and Nuwara eliys.