House & Garden : July 2011 : Pamela Goodman is seduced by the gentle charms of Sri Lanka

The cloud hangs in low, wispy drifts above a grey expanse of lake, the surface of which bristles with the raindrops of a torrential downpour. Occasionally, a vividly green hillside emerges through the mist, or the silhouette of an island, or the outline of a low-slung house on the far shore. With croquet laid out on the lawn through the window, a log fire at my back and a gin and tonic in my hand, I could be in Scotland. The eucalyptus trees give it away though, and the hibiscus, and the narrow, pointed rowing boats that scuttle across the late. The air feels tropical, not dank, and the green on the hillside is not fern but tea- mile upon mile of immaculately tended plantations rising from shore to summit, among which appear small flashes of bright colour as the sari-clad-tea-pickers harvest their crop.

The tea plantations of Bogawantalawa Valley, 1220 meters above sea level, have become on of Sri Lanka’s most popular spots for visitors-and rightly so. Even in the rain, this is an area of immense beauty, made all the more inviting by the clever conversion a few years back of four former plantation managers’ residences, located at different points on or near to Lake Castlereagh, into four lodges for paying guests. Read more: House & Garden UK July 11

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