At Tropical Vacations, we travel regularly in the region as a part of our lifestyle, as a part of our business and part of our own getaway from the busy city life.
Last week we escaped the city by heading our way to the misty, highlands of Sri Lanka, Ella. On this occasion, we took the train ride where a separate blog will be posted about that following this. So we reached Ella by train from Peradeniya just as we recommend to most of our clients depending on what we tailor for them.
We reached 98 Acres Resort & Spa which takes only 5mins drive from Ella station. Tropical Vacations was one of the first tour operators to promote 98 Acres since its inception. Our visit was brief then, so on this occasion we’ve booked ourselves for 2 nights. We’ve experienced a warm welcome from the reception, Krishantha who was on duty was professional as well as polite, rather than just giving us the key to the room, he took few minutes to explain about the property and its facilities, which we found very useful. We had requested for a room closer to the restaurant and pool area so we don’t have to ask for the buggy cart each time we went out of the room. All the guests are transferred by a buggy although our room was merely a 3mins walk from the reception. We felt it is as a part of their courtesy, welcoming us to their resort.
The resort is located among 98 Acres of lush tea estate which belongs to the same group. They are renowned for producing delicious tea, a brand named ‘Halpe Tea’ which was certainly my cuppa tea. In many ways, 98 Acres Resort owners are fortunate to have the luxury of such a landscape which naturally offers stunning mountain views. It is also located away from any other establishment hence an ideal getaway to completely unwind yourself and gaze at those alluring views.
There are 24 rooms (chalets) with thatched roof and minimalistic design with an eco-friendly concept. Most of their materials are recycled. We could notice the attention to detail in the room and its Facilities. The amenities in the bathroom, the quality bathrobes, comfortable bedding, writing desk with a spot light, balcony with soothing views over the mountains, strong WiFi allocated to each room, are all noteworthy. While I enjoyed the traditional stone water washroom, Indira found the shower a little less comforting as she preferred to have a rainwater shower. But she did enjoy the room facilities very much. We had stunning views over the Ella Rock and the little Adam’s Peak and woke-up both mornings to birds call streaming in from all direction. The mild weather stayed at 19-20c all day which was a simple luxury we needed!I was also pleased to learn four more additional chalets will join at the end of this year.
The main restaurant ‘ 98 café ’ is a 2-3mins walk away from the chalets with a stairway further up a cliff surrounded with tea bushes. I felt, the walk there itself is refreshing. The restaurant’s lounge became my favourite spot and Indira fell in love with pool area. The restaurant has good views over the mountain range. Its open concept design, smooth lounge music (albeit at times need to raise its volume), bean bags, couches, wooden tables and wooden chairs blends perfectly with the rest.
Although we saw a few smaller children here, this might not be ideal for children below 8years or so, unless under supervision near the wooden deck by the restaurant and due to the steep stairways made of stone. But otherwise, all that creates a perfect disconnection from all the stress you ever had. If you are a writer, the lounge will easily let you absorb in to a world of creative thought. Also needless to say it is an absolute haven for photographers!
The mist that streamed in during the second day late afternoon was magical, given it that we experienced it in a tropical island! Although it also covered the views, it stayed for couple of hours and dispersed.
The swimming pool which also can be seen from the main restaurant, is also surrounded with lush green tea bushes, flowers and the amazing views over the mountain range. We enjoyed the pool very much and could happily rank it as one of the most relaxing swimming pools for its design and the views.
At night the pathways are nicely lit up with the spot lights which seem to be powered by solar power. But all rooms are given a torch and we recommend that you use it anyway.
There is a Yoga pavilion away from the chalets, where they conduct yoga classes daily. If you like cycling, there are mt bicycles available for you. Hike in the little Adam’s Peak and visit the nearby Waterfalls and the nine arches bridge are recommended activities. Jogging is also a great activity and I saw few after a good jog walking towards the main restaurant for breakfast. This is also one of the very few resorts to have a helipad. If money is not an object it is indeed a memorable experience to fly from Colombo on a heli!
The staff were well trained and spoke good English. It’s crucial part of our selection of a resort to be certain that our clients are well looked after. This led us to filter and choose only the best who scores well in all departments. 98 Acres Resort scores high in their service. The staff led by the Resort manager Pushapakumara a very pleasant man with pleasing etiquette doing a job that fulfils the magnificent eco friendly resort in the highlands.
Both Indira and I are epicures with quite a fussy standard. We were pleasantly surprised to see the freshness of the seafood though the resort is well away from the coastal. The À la carte menu for dinner has given a good thought. The deserts are delicious. The breakfast buffet has a blend of western and Sri Lankan cuisine presented in clay pots. We love egg hoppers ( always do), string hoppers, pittu, dosa and enjoyed the Halpe’ Tea throughout our visit. The resort also offers shisha but the fruit base only option is missing, which I made a note on my feedback form.
In conclusion, we humbly pride ourselves for including 98 Acres in most of our Classic Tour itineraries as they indeed create a memorable stay. We’d strongly recommend a 2-3nights stay as a minimum. As you unwind, you will be absorbed in to the charms of this lush environment and the want to say for longer is irresistible.
98 Acres will become one of our favourite resorts to repeat in the tea country among those lush green and mild weather which produces the world’s famous Ceylon tea.
- If you are traveling from Kandy via train it is a must to book it for the morning departure
- As otherwise you’ll only get there after sunset.
- The rustic wooden floor is elegant in its design, but might not be ideal for smaller children, unless always under supervision. It is definitely not suitable for them to run.
- Note that the Swimming pool’s deep end is 5’6”. Which wasn’t marked.
- The pathways to the main restaurant is steep, watch your step and carry the torch given by the resort at night.
- The wooden doors in the room, may have sharp edges, so be cautious.
- Lets us tailor a magical getaway to Sri Lanka. Get in touch: TropicalVacations.co.uk
For British travelers – All our flight inclusive holidays are ATOL protected.