Imagine indulging in a delightful tea party amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Nuwara Eliya. The Grand Hotel High Tea offers an enchanting experience that shouldn’t be missed while exploring Sri Lanka. Although I wasn’t particularly fond of tea, this experience turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.
A British Tradition in Nuwara Eliya
The Grand Hotel High Tea is a quintessential British tradition that takes place on the hotel grounds in Nuwara Eliya. It offers a delightful opportunity to savor the finest Sri Lankan tea and indulge in delectable finger foods. This enchanting tea party takes place every day from 3:30 pm to 6 pm and is open to both hotel guests and visitors.
You have two options for enjoying the tea experience. The first is indoors, where you can relish a selection of teas and delicacies. The second option allows you to enjoy your high tea on the hotel’s beautifully manicured lawns and gardens, complemented by a glass of champagne. It’s a truly magical setting to unwind and pamper your senses.
An Affordable Extravaganza
Contrary to my expectations, the Grand Hotel High Tea is surprisingly affordable, even for budget travelers like ourselves. For just 1,500 Rupees (approximately $8 USD), you can enjoy an exquisite high tea experience that includes three tea selections from their extensive menu. Each tea is served in a plunger, offering three cups per selection. With a range of classic and flavored teas, you’re sure to find something that captivates your taste buds.
In addition to the tea, the high tea experience at the Grand Hotel also includes a mouthwatering assortment of finger foods. We opted for the non-vegetarian option and were blown away by the 12 different finger foods served per person. From tandoori wraps to salmon and cream scones, each bite was a burst of flavor and elegantly presented.
Our Unforgettable Experience
Our visit to the Grand Hotel High Tea was truly unforgettable. We arrived around 4 pm and easily found a table since it wasn’t peak season. As we sat down, we were presented with an overwhelming selection of teas. I chose a classic black tea, an almond tea, and a fruity infusion. Each cup was a delightful surprise, perfectly complementing the soothing ambiance created by a talented local musician playing the piano.
After approximately 15 minutes, our food was served on a three-level tray. The top level showcased meats and meat snacks, while the second level offered an array of seafood delights. The final level enticed us with a variety of delectable desserts. We savored each bite, trying our best to savor the treats while enjoying our tea. But the flavors were so irresistible that we couldn’t resist devouring them all.
With our tea finished at around 5:30 pm, we paid our bill and decided to explore the hotel gardens. The lush greenery and picturesque surroundings left us in awe. It was the perfect way to end our high tea experience and we left the Grand Hotel with satisfied bellies and rejuvenated spirits.
Tips for a Memorable Visit
If you plan to visit the Grand Hotel High Tea, here are a few tips to enhance your experience:
- Book a table: During peak season, it’s advisable to book a table in advance. This not only guarantees your spot but also allows you to choose a table closer to the garden, providing a more enchanting setting.
- Dress elegantly: Embrace the opportunity to dress up and enjoy the sophisticated atmosphere of the high tea. It’s a wonderful occasion to elevate your Sri Lankan experience.
- Take your time: Although it’s just an afternoon tea, allow yourself ample time to savor the experience. Arrive before 4 pm, relax, and relish the beautiful gardens after the tea party concludes at 6 pm.
- Sip wisely: With an extensive tea selection, it can be tempting to try them all. However, be mindful of the quantity to avoid overwhelming your taste buds. Pace yourself and enjoy the flavors without overindulging.
Discover the Charm of Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is a captivating destination in Sri Lanka, and the Grand Hotel High Tea is a perfect complement to its charm. Both Bailey and I highly recommend this experience as a must-do activity during your visit. The combination of delightful teas, delectable treats, and serene surroundings will leave you with lasting memories.
Where to Stay in Nuwara Eliya
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- Hi Lanka Hostel: A budget-friendly option conveniently located near the town center. Dorm beds are available for just $6 per night, while private rooms start at around $20.
- Huddle: The top-rated hotel in Nuwara Eliya, offering comfortable beds, an amazing breakfast, and a helpful staff. Prices start at approximately $30 per night, providing great value for the quality.
- Grand Hotel: If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, the Grand Hotel is an excellent choice. While it’s not a budget option, the beautiful surroundings and prime location make it worth considering.
If none of these options suit your preferences, you can browse through all the properties in Nuwara Eliya by following this DHPL Travels link.
Getting Around Sri Lanka
To explore the best of Sri Lanka, you’ll need reliable transportation. Here are a few options to consider:
Rent a Tuk-tuk
Renting a tuk-tuk is a popular and exciting way to travel around Sri Lanka. It offers the freedom to explore at your own pace and immerse yourself in the local culture. Companies like Tuktuk Rental provide quality tuk-tuks that directly support local families. Use the coupon code ‘DEST’ for a 5% discount on your rental.
Hire a Driver
For a more relaxing and hassle-free experience, consider hiring a private driver. This option is ideal if you plan to visit a few select destinations and want the convenience of an air-conditioned vehicle. You can arrange for pickups from the airport to various locations, ensuring a smooth journey throughout your trip.
Take Public Transport
If you’re on a tight budget and have plenty of time, public transport is a cost-effective option. Buses and trains are readily available, though they may not provide the same level of comfort as private transportation. It’s an adventurous way to explore the country and experience the local way of life.
No matter which mode of transport you choose, Sri Lanka’s diverse landscapes and rich culture are sure to captivate your senses.
The Grand Hotel High Tea is an experience that combines elegance, tranquility, and culinary delights. Amidst the stunning setting of Nuwara Eliya, it offers an opportunity to unwind, indulge, and create lasting memories. Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or simply seeking a unique experience, the Grand Hotel High Tea should unquestionably be on your Sri Lanka bucket list.