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The Secret Ella

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Highlights

- Unpretentious, pristine property
- Located in a thriving tea plantation
- Hiking, birdwatching, plantation tours
- Archery, helicopter rides

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Overview

The Secret Ella is a simple, well-managed bungalow resort in a particularly enviable location. It’s set in an expansive 10-acre tea garden estate up in the mountains with fabulous views and looks down on the Nine Arches Bridge. This bridge, which is nearly a century old, is very well preserved and is regarded as one of the finest surviving examples of colonial-era railway construction in all of Sri Lanka. The hotel is one of two in the Secret Hotels chain – both are unpretentious, characterful properties which are well managed and offer convenient access to some of Sri Lanka’s most popular and highly rated attractions.

There are five room categories altogether, ranging from pristine, wooden Garden Chalets to expansive Family Suites and finely appointed Deluxe Rooms. All rooms are substantial in size, and come with 14-hour room service and a helpful personalised butler service, along with an LED TV with satellite channels, deluxe bathroom amenities and tea and coffee making facilities.

The hotel lies within the Sutherland tea plantation estate and is roughly half an hour’s drive from Bandarawela, a large town best known for its bustling market. While the property is a secluded hideaway of sorts, it’s still well within reach of the area’s top attractions. There’s a diverse range of activities to enjoy from hiking and bird watching walks, to tea plantation tours, archery sessions and even helicopter rides.

The restaurant serves an imaginative array of local delicacies with a twist, along with plenty of popular international dishes. All food is freshly prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Other on-site amenities include a smallish rim flow swimming pool, a games room with several board games available and a DVD library. Those looking for a massage can visit the nearby 98 Acres - a complimentary shuttle service runs between the two properties.

Children of all ages are welcome to stay here. Families travelling with young ones are advised to book the Family Suite and there is a playground for children to enjoy.

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 501 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • It was FANTASTIC! Beautifully organised, everything worked like clockwork. We agreed that we had the best support team ever (and we have experience) - all delightful, very professional and nothing was too much bother.

    It clearly couldn't have been a better route, such a wonderful mix of landscapes. And plenty of acclimatisation time. Nonetheless, I was glad of my summit oxygen.

    Kit excellent. Double good mattresses made for most comfortable trek camping ever. Tents v good. Mess tent pretty windproof, which was vital for enjoyment. Best camp loo ever!

    My favourite day was Shira Cathedral. Amazing.

    MissingWilliam M reviewing Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route on 15 April 2020

  • Hi Lisa,

    The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.

    Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)

    Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!

    Best regards,
    Woan Chyi

    MissingWoan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019

  • 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.

    MissingPippa R reviewing Sri Lanka Highlights - Classic on 30 September 2019

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