This is a superb new build on the Dunkeld Tea Estate in Golden Valley, the famous tea growing area surrounding Castlereagh Reservoir, which usually has a wonderfully calming mirror-flat surface. You reach it by a 3-km, sometimes rutted track, which adds to the sense of having left the real world far behind.
The owners, Sri Lanka Collection, have achieved a functional yet imaginative take on the traditional tea estate bungalow. The designers have made great use of glass – both large panes and traditional ‘Georgian’ ones to maximize the serene views. Two accommodation wings flank a central public area, faithful to a traditional tea bungalow layout. There are only five bedrooms so you do almost feel as if you are guests in a tea manager’s house. Service is super-attentive; there are English language books and an ‘honesty’ butler’s tray for self service drinks. It’s aimed at an international clientele.
We could have idled away at least a couple of days just chilling in our bedroom and its veranda with views over the reservoir and on to the tea hills and low mountains the other side of the valley. In one corner was a charming, heavy, rectangular hardwood table big enough for two people to eat a room service breakfast – one of the best pieces of hotel bedroom furniture we’ve seen in a long time.
A popular activity is walking the tea trails linking the tea estates in the area.