With an almost 200 year history, a stay at the Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya is like stepping back in time. This National Heritage property, which began its life as the home of Sir Edward Barnes – a former governor of the island, is packed with old world features that reflect its past. In the past 190 years, ‘Barnes Hall’ has been added to and renovated and today is one of the most characterful, history-rich properties in Sri Lanka. It’s not all about the past at Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya – they have a very 21st Century view on sustainability. There’s a zero single-use plastic policy, they have their own farms and grow organic produce that they use in their restaurants.
As you are transported up the drive to the grand entrance of the hotel, you’ll notice the painstakingly landscaped gardens which really set the tone for your stay. Inside, the design is in part dark wood furnishings, beams and wall panelling and in part refreshing light décor. There’s substance as well as style: the hotel has five restaurants which include authentic Indian and Thai venues, and the main dining room – Barnes Hall. We love that the hotel has a couple of unexpected and quirky private dining spots too; you can enjoy dinner in the converted laundry or boiler room. As you might expect from a hotel up in the Hill Country, high tea is a big deal at the Grand Hotel. They have a tea lounge, complete with an outdoor terrace, where cakes, scones and savoury snacks are served every afternoon. There’s also the Mindfulness Studio where they have daily music therapy sessions, yoga classes, treatment rooms and an indoor heated swimming pool.
We’ve chosen to feature the rooms in the Golf Wing. They are simple in style with neutral décor and walnut-hued furnishings and look out towards one of the fairways of the neighbouring Nuwara Eliya Golf Club. The Junior Suites, which are larger than the Deluxe Rooms, feature a separate living room and come complete with butler service.