Sri Lanka is blessed with a lot of beauty, not least in the gorgeous period properties that dot the landscape. Some of these have been skillfully restored and converted into elegant, boutique hotels, as exemplified at Nine Skies. A stay at this welcoming hotel feels like being invited to a friend's country home for the weekend. The small number of guests means that everyone gets to know each other a little, which creates a welcoming atmosphere.
The bright bungalow, infinity pool, manicured gardens and sumptuous common areas are served by a small team of butlers, ready to make your stay perfect. Enjoy expansive views over the area’s tea-covered hills as you sit, teacup in hand, spotting the tea train circling round the mountain (the Demodara Loop) on its approach to Nine Arches Bridge.
Nine Skies is close to the town of Ella, straddling the ill-defined border between Tea Country and the wild hills, with a wonderful aura of remote escape.
Infinity pool & terrace
Really charming and the staff were ridiculously polite - one of the nicest places we have stayed.
Discover what to expect from staying at Nine Skies
Depending where you start from, the journey to Ella can be a long one. However, that isn’t to say it’s unpleasant, especially if you’re taking the languid but beautiful train journey through tea country. The train pulls into Ella and almost all the passengers alight, but you continue on to the tiny station of Demodara before walking the short distance to Nine Skies. A warm welcome awaits before you find yourself in your crisply renovated room, with stunning views out to the hills beyond. A swim before dinner and then, perhaps, a cool drink as you watch another train looping the mountain.
Two nights here is wonderful, but it’s even better to stay longer. Recharge at the hotel in comfort, and at a relaxed pace, and leave plenty of time to explore the enticing hills that surround the property. Many people choose to walk to the Nine Arch Bridge and at times it’s even possible to walk the tracks for a bit, though only ever under strict guidance. There are a plethora of local walks to enjoy in the surrounding hills, and the staff will prepare a picnic for you and point you in the direction of their favourite spots. Head out and experience the verdant hills and blue skies.
Teardrop Hotels, who own Nine Skies, specialise in renovating and restoring old properties like this rather than building on new land. Although now becoming standard across the hotel sector, this property is already committed to never using single-use plastics. Most heartening is their sponsorship of local projects around their properties, particularly for children with additional needs.
Combine the island’s top wildlife crowd pleasers with some magnificent hidden gems and cultural highlights before spending some time on the beach.