Situated in the highlands of Sri Lanka between Ella and Banderawella, this little guesthouse in Ambadandegama is a true gem and worth the bumpy ride to reach it. It’s not only a guesthouse, but probably also Sri Lanka’s smallest tea estate. Here, quality is what matters most.
And according to several well-known tea testers, Amba Estate produces one of the best teas of Sri Lanka. Read this article or watch this short video to learn more about their tea called Plucky. They even made it to Fortnum & Mason with their OP1 with Tea Flowers.
The guesthouse itself is a basic, but beautiful old farm building that has plenty of charme. It has four double bedrooms with two shared bathrooms. The rooms are functional, but clean and the team around Gamini makes your stay unforgettable. In addition to this, Siri who was in charge of all meals, surprised us with one of the best curry dishes we ever had. Make sure you try her Sri Lankan breakfast, as well. I couldn’t get enough of her excellent string hoppers, egg hoppers and rotis, a special type of coconut pancake.
Why come back
If you’re a tea lover, this is not a question at all. You’ll go back to buy more of their excellent tea and to enjoy a freshly brewed cup on their beautiful terrace. For all other guests, it’s the hospitality of the Amba people and the breathtaking nature that will you bring back to this remote place. We didn’t make it to Ella rock during our stay, but at least we managed to climb up little Adam’s and a nameless peak close to the estate. Don’t miss the waterfall closeby. For a fee of 500 rupees per person, the owners of a nearby guesthouse will bring you directly to the waterfall with a spectacular bathing place.
Room for improvement
As I have mentioned above, this is a basic place that lives from the wonderful atmosphere and the super friendly staff. Don’t expect 5 star convenience, but they have all basic amenities needed for a convenient stay. From my point of view, there are only two small things that could have been better:
- The bed in our room could have used a newer and harder mattress
- The water pressure in the bathroom close to the kitchen is very low. But this is maybe hard to change in the rural area of the country and the bathroom itself is very beautiful.
Totally in ♥ with
Their lemongrass tea. A few years ago, the FairTrade organization convinced them to plant lemon grass to compensate falling tea prices. When the lemon grass was ready to get harvested, Fair Trade wasn’t willing to pay the promised price. This is why Beverly, one of the managers, looked for other ways to use the needless lemon grass. After trying several things, she came up with the best lemon grass tea we ever had. You really need to try it!
What my wife says
Even though we have stayed in much more luxurious places during our three weeks in Sri Lanka, AMBA Estate is the accomodation that has stuck the most. The old farmhouse is a magical place, with the kindest of people to be found, the yummiest home-made food, the best lemongrass tea, the most delicious passion fruit jam and a peace and serenity hardly to be found somewhere else. I loved every minute of our stay there and wish them all the best with their small social enterprise.