Surrounded by the lush green mountains and valleys of Sri Lanka, The Secret Ella is a wonderful selection for nature and adventure lovers as well as for those looking for a serene getaway. The unique circular dome-like shape of the building is the first thing that caught our eyes as we arrived at the resort. The pure white structure with French windows in almost every panel with its green roof was a reminder of the colonial influence in the conception and history of the country’s tea plantation industry. The best part was yet to come, as on turning around, we were privy to a birds-eye view of the famous nine arches bridge below us.
A tea planter’s bungalow, now converted to a resort, The Secret Ella still holds all the charms of the tea plantation lifestyle of yore with the likes of an English tea service and personal butler service. The colonial architecture, spacious and airy rooms, white walls contrasting with teak and mahogany furniture are all reminiscent of the lifestyle that the tea industry introduced to the country.
The different types of rooms and suites caters to all types of visitors from groups and families on holiday to couples on honeymoon, all with ensuite bathrooms and some with luxurious bath tubs. The culinary experience left our senses wanting more with delicious meals with a variety of options. The green forests and white mists engulfed all 360 degrees around us and with a personal tuk-tuk ride to their sister resort, swimming, hiking and similar enjoyable adventure awaited us. The sister resort spa is available for anyone in a mood to pamper your whole being; mind and body. The game room with a number of choices in indoor board games and the movie library kept us occupied when we were in a mood to just lounge around and relax.
The nine arches bridge is one of the most iconic and must visit places. Another ‘must’ is to ride the local trains which give sightings of beautiful waterfalls and the valleys below. The Demodara loop is an iconic sight to catch by either being inside the train looking out as it takes the loop or from the vantage lookout point looking at the traveling train.
Waterfalls, mountain treks, nature photography, wild life sanctuaries, hikes ending with a river bath are some of best outdoor activities around the area without too long a commute. Added to that you get the Gold grounds, Horse racing, Tea factories and plantations and spice gardens for less strenuous options of activities.
The Secret Ella is an exclusive resort with just three suites and one room ensuring a very personal service from their side and a very private stay for us. Their minimalist approach presents large airy spacious rooms giving a sense of openness and being ‘at-one’ with nature. Each suite and room comes with a 4 poster king sized bed, ensuite bathroom with the best of modern amenities ensuring a fulfilling stay. Wifi for internet access, TV’s with satellite channels, tea/coffee facilities and bottled water, fridge and mini-bar, hairdryers and safety deposit boxes are some of the common basic features offered to all guests no matter which room you choose. The polished cement flooring and dark teak/mahogany-wood colored furniture contrasting with the white walls sun drenched through theFrench windows. Light colored linen and bright colored batik/ vegetable print throws and rugs gave life to the rooms giving us a spark of invigoration as we entered. The bathrooms complete with bath tubs, rain showers, and the best of amenities gave us the taste of modern luxuries.
The FAMILY SUITE is perfect for families with children and larger groups like ours with a bed room separated by a connecting door. We had the opportunity to have our meals in private within this suite with a separate dining area.
The PLANTERS SUITE accommodates up to 3 people and is ideal for smaller families and couples.
The SOUTHERLAND SUITE and DELUXE ROOM comes with it’s personal butler service and therefore is recommended for honeymooners and couples on a romantic getaway.
All the suites and rooms have a beautiful view of the gardens, the mountains, the valleys; all green and natural habitat giving a sense of serenity. The french windows open up to the gardens creating that feeling of oneness with nature.
The meals are served in a rustic style dining area with rough unfinished wooden pillars supporting wooden beams of the ceiling to a cement floor. The food comes in clay pots and pans creating an interesting ambiance of Sri Lankan village life.
The Secret Ella offers a variety of delicious dishes. Made from all locally grown vegetables, herbs and spices, traditional Sri Lankan meals with the chef’s signature style gives it a unique taste without hampering the local flavors. Sri Lankan meals come with a large variety of tasty options and western meals are cooked to perfection with large generous portions. Families with young children can request for special meals with less spices and boiled and mashed preparations for babies.
The private butler service is a unique experience to have within the suite and is tastefully presented. Breakfast and Lunch should be tried in the garden overlooking the nine arches bridge and scenic spots around you.
The Secret Ella is situated in the heart wilderness with many an adventure around you. Hikes, treks, river baths, are some of the activities you can arrange by getting advice from the resort. A train ride is a must to catch the local sights and for photography. Botanical gardens, spice gardens, waterfalls, natural forests and caves are some scenic points to indulge in.
Within driving distance, you get some of the country’s best tea estates and factories, golf grounds and horse racing. A couple of hours drive will bring you to the country’s renowned wildlife habitat and a few minutes from there, one of the best beaches in South Asia for surfing.
A tuk-tuk ride from the resort to their sister resort will give access to more hikes, treks and biking options along with access to the swimming pool and spa.
Some of the highlights recommended are:
Nine arches bridge
Demodara loop by train and from the lookout point
Nature Trail Ella
Ella gap waterfall
Ravana Ella waterfall
NuwaraEliya Golf grounds
NuwaraEliya Horse Racing
Ella Spice Garden
Upcountry various cities - Tea estates and factories
Yala wildlife sanctuary
Arugumbay surfers beach
Day trips or longer overnight stays can be arranged through the hotel where they will recommend reputed travel companies and hotels to plan your trip.
The Secret Ella will no more remain a secret with the rave reviews form its guests after a stay there, indulging in their impeccable service and hosting.