The Argyle. “Guid Gear Comes In Sma’ Bulk”. Hatton, Sri Lanka
That means “good things come in small packages” in Scottish. A perfect description of my destination!
The weather is chilly yet a welcome change from the scorching heat in Colombo and the three-hour 30 minute drive to Hatton is easy and picturesque (and much more bearable than the three-hour power cuts I was experiencing at home). I am en route to The Argyle , located along the Nuwara Eliya road and Google Maps explains the way very clearly.
Set in 3.1 acres of sprawling tea country, The Argyle is large, spacious and themed along Scottish heritage in reverence to the era of the Scottish tea planters who settled in this area in the 1850s.
Titbits of Scotland are interspersed throughout The Argyle’s décor that is created within minimalistic architecture that offers open views and airy spaces. Its 38-rooms offer simple luxuries and elegant designs and are all named after real life notable Scots.
But what is most interesting about The Argyle is the stunning view of Sri Lanka’s iconic spiritual mountain, Sri Pada, or Adams Peak. Every bedroom faces this mountain and the changing weather- mist, sunshine, rain, sunsets – offers a screenplay of breathtakingly delightful backdrops.
My room, the Campbell Suite, is a large comfortable bedroom named after Archibald Campbell of Clan Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, a celebrated hero and martyr from Scotland. The suite has everything one could ask for. And of course, the stunning views from two balconies of the mountain, the tea fields and the surrounding areas. Lovely!
Hatton is just one hour away from the popular tourist destination of Nuwara Eliya, but worth the seclusion and the scenery. Personally, I find Nuwara Eliya, which was once a quaint and delightful town, to be congested, unkempt and totally disfigured by random constructions and throngs of people. To keep guests entertained, The Argyle has an extensive menu of excursions available – from waterfalls to tours of tea estates, and visits to some beautiful old churches to World’s End and Adams Peak. If required, the Hotel will provide transport, food and drinks and a guided tour.
Having informed the pool attendant to heat the pool for my return (remember to do this at least two hours before you plan to dive in) I am off to see the ‘60’ Railway Bridge” located just seven minutes from the hotel. My timing is perfect because the train, en route to Badulla, passes along the track giving me a thrill! I love trains!
Another 40 minutes from here, passing the turnoff to Castlereagh Reservoir I go in search of the Singha Malai or Poolbank Tunnel.
Snaking through the mountainside, this 562 m (1844 ft) tunnel is Sri Lanka’s longest tunnel and one of 46 along the Colombo/Badulla railway ride. Villagers confidently walk through this to get to the other side, while colonies of bats nest in its dark confines.
I wait patiently for the train to thunder through!
I head off to Nuwara Eliya which is just under an hour’s drive. About 10 minutes from the main town is Moon Plains, a plateau with a 360-degree view of the surrounding peaks and towns. Armed with a LKR 50 ticket (purchased at the ticket office) I ride in one of the ‘safari’ jeeps to get to the Plains.
En route, I drive through the government’s potato seed farm where acres of potatoes are being harvested.
The Moon Plains is home to many wildlife– wild buffaloes, deer, leopard and various types of birds. The views are stunning, despite the mist that threatens to conceal the peaks beyond.
These photos are taken from the Moon Plains Facebook page
While this region is full of waterfalls and catchments, one remains hidden from view. The Windy Corner Falls is small and quite inconspicuous. I park at the side of the road and clamber down an escarpment to reach the top of this 12m high falls.
One more ticked off my bucket list!
Back at The Argyle, I enjoy some Shisha by the Bar. The night is chilly and the ambiance is perfect. The pool is lit up and reflects the awesome sky above.
It’s been a great holiday and I’ve enjoyed my stay. I have to say; the food and service is amazing!
The confidence, the care and the courtesy by the entire team is absolutely refreshing.
Everything reflects the vision of the hotel “to provide people with a brief escape into luxury and comfort over the course of their normal day. We do this by providing them with exceptional services and experiences that could give a lasting impression.” So far, they’ve nailed it!
THINGS TO NOTE:
- The Argyle is located 3.7km from the Hatton town and 36km from Nuwara Eliya and 132km from Colombo via Avissawela.
- It is currently the only small luxury hotel in Hatton.
- A list of excursions can be found on their website.
- Hatton is at an elevation of 1,271m (4,170ft) above sea level, which means the nights can get a tad chilly. So, remember to take a light jacket.
- The hotel welcomes the differently-abled and has facilities for their wellbeing.
- Don’t forget to request for the pool to be heated at least two hours in advance!
This visit is sponsored by The Argyle.