- Contemporary property, rustic feel
- Field archery, tea plantation and waterfall visits
- Pool, spa, gym, yoga
- Well equipped games room
Nestled high in the misty mountains of Sri Lanka’s tea country in the remote hamlet of Ella lies 98 Acres Resort, a series of delightful chalets tucked away on stilts within a remote tea plantation. Opened in 2012, the property has a more rustic, contemporary feel than many of the more historic ‘ex-colonial’ hotels in the area. There’s a lovely pool, gym and spa and yoga sessions are also available, along with a games room complete with dart board, pool table and board games. After taking time to unwind, excursions through the nearby tea plantations are highly recommended.
Comprised of natural materials such as eucalyptus, bamboo and Illuk straw, the chalets have a spacious, fresh and modern feel. Every chalet is set out across two floors, with one bedroom on each level, and modern amenities such as a TV, Wi-Fi, mini-fridge, and an en-suite bathroom. All have private balconies with wonderful views through the Ella Gap in the mountains, all the way to the coastline. There’s a range of room types from standard, through to deluxe and executive suites. At the higher end of the spectrum, the Grand Executive Suite boasts a private plunge pool set in wooden decking with fabulous views of the Ella Gap. The Greenland Suite houses a kitchen, pantry, and cooking facilities. A choice of Sri Lankan or Western cuisine is served in the restaurant, or on private balconies if preferred.
There’s plenty to do in and around the resort. Visitors can choose to hike, hire bicycles, motorbikes, or even travel in golf buggies from the resort to the nearby tea plantations. Informative tours reveal how tea is produced from start to finish, and there’s usually a tea tasting session at the end. Of course, specialty tea from the factory is served at the resort throughout the day, so everyone gets to sample a taste. Other activities include private cooking lessons with the chefs, guided ‘field archery’ adventures along jungle paths, or perhaps even a helicopter ride. Birdwatching enthusiasts are in for a treat since the 98 Acres Resort provides sanctuary for 63 of Sri Lanka’s resident bird species including woodpeckers, babblers, barbets, flycatchers, minivit and bee-eaters. Visits to the Ravana Ella Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, are also very popular. While December to April is arguably the best time to visit 98 Acres Resort, do note that this is a popular season for most travellers and things can get a little busy.
Children are welcome at the resort, and while there are no designated children’s activities, the pool and nearby activities are bound to keep them entertained. Parents are reminded to supervise children at all times since the pool is unfenced and unguarded.
Driver-guide: Very punctual, except for pick up for airport when he was delayed by >30 mins due to road closures. Vehicle very clean and well maintained- plenty of water and supplies of clothing for religious sites, tissues, postcards etc. Very good at understanding what level of conversation we wanted. Happy to stop for paracetamol, supermarket etc. Took us to signal box at railway since we were early (which was very interesting)
The Walawwa: Lovely place to arrive at and get a bit of rest. Great pool, lovely rooms and food etc. Peaceful oasis so close to town.
Wilpattu Camp: Wonderful food- really enjoyed trying lots of new things in excellent surroundings.Felt like the place had not been visited much recently (which I don’t think it had due to the terrorist attacks) so our safari guide had been brought up from another park and did not know the park too well- it worked out well though and we saw all the animals we hoped to see so no complaints on that front. We did feel that we should have been told about extra things we could have done- when we commented on the great food on final day we were told that they could have done a cookery demo for us, but it was too late at that point. It worked well for us but clients should probably know that they are likely to have multiple wildlife in their tents (eg frogs)- didn’t bother us at all, but others it might do. We were given a questionnaire to fill in at the end whilst all the staff were standing around, which wasn’t ideal as you felt a bit of pressure! Felt really well looked after here!
Water Gardens Sigiriya: Beautiful suites with plunge pools- quiet and peaceful with lovely big swimming pool. Food good
Jungle Beach: Beautiful location on beach. Rooms good. Food a bit limited I would have liked a bit more variety ideally.
Camellia House: Lovely location- beautiful views. Food OK but service below average- our food orders were wrong a couple of times and even pre-ordered food was delayed. Tea factory tour was only an hour and that was the main reason to be here. It was interesting but quite brief seeing it was the main attraction according to our itinerary. Also, we were taken there in a minibus which didn’t have seatbelts on all seats and was quite smelly- not up to the standard of the usual transportation. Rooms were described as having panoramic views- one did have amazing views but the other one definitely didn’t.
Galle Face: Lovely old hotel- but it did have some problems (leaking ceiling and ‘smuts’ coming out of air conditioning.) Weather very bad (spectacular storms). It was a shame the street food tour couldn’t take place but totally understandable given the weather, however we enjoyed our dinner here and free drinks/canopes!). Good choice at breakfast.
Pippa R reviewing Sri Lanka Highlights - Classic on 30 September 2019
Once again you organised a really good holiday for us.
If there was one criticism it was that there were too many flights. I don’t know whether you could do Bangkok first, Chiang Mai, then fly down South?
Your drivers and Guides - all really good. The variety of transport on the tours in Bangkok and Chiang Mai; we all loved.
Tamarind Village - Our room was a bit of a squeeze, with the 3 of us and 3 big suitcases.
Lisu Lodge- I enjoyed our time here. Going forward I would suggest only 1 night or they need to have some more activities. I liked how we ate on the floor, the food was really good. Staff very friendly. We liked the cycling, tea plantation, trekking and white water rafting.
Riva Surya- good location.
Elephant Hills- we loved looking after the elephants, the lake was also a really good experience. The guides were informative and looked after us well. The resort locations and tents were perfect.
Santiburi - amazing; we upgraded to a beach bungalow which was fantastic. The hotel is in a stunning location, the facilities and the service was impeccable. Sam has some private Thai boxing lessons, which he loved. We had cookery lessons and used the paddle boards. A perfect end to quite a busy holiday.
Natasha L reviewing Thailand Family Adventure on 24 September 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019