The Hill Club was established as an exclusive social club in 1876 in the old colonial hill station of Nuware Eliya by a homesick British coffee planter and offered solace from a somewhat lonely planter’s lifestyle. Even today, alongside the guests attracted by its sense of history, it has an active membership which seeks to preserve a distinctive atmosphere. Trappings of colonial living survive in this imposing mansion with its wooden staircases, high roofs, hardwood floors, fireplaces and antique furniture, but although certain club rules and regulations still persist, they have been modified for the holiday trade. Children under the age of five are not permitted within the clubhouse, but separate family chalets with adjoining play area are available within extensive gardens. The service at the Hill Club is excellent and some staff have many decades of service. Special touches such as a hot water bottle at night, and the relaxing scent of cinnamon and pine that permeates through the property, gives the Hill Club a feel all of its own.
The Hill Club has 39 comfortable rooms within the main building with en suite bathrooms. Red Dot recommends the rooms overlooking the front lawn that have views of Pidurutalagala. The two corner suites are extensive with a lounge area and connecting door to a second room. All rooms are furnished with twin or double beds, antique dresser and desk and have fireplaces (no longer lit but has an electric heater in its place to keep the rooms warm at night). In-room facilities include satellite TV, DVD player, IDD telephone facilities, mini-bar, tea/coffee facility, and hair dryer. The ensuite bathrooms have h/w showers, bath tub, wash basin and w/c. The family chalet is located at the edge of the property with a separate landscaped garden and swings. There three ensuite bedrooms here are furnished with double bed, bunk beds, and cot. The family chalet also has a lounge with satellite TV and DVD, dining area and bar. Meals are also served out on the sun deck which has a picnic table and lounging chairs. There is 24 hour room service and guests can order meals from the main Hill Club restaurant menu. Without the formalities of the main Club house, the family chalet is perfect for those traveling with children.
The Hill Club has a large reading room furnished with comfortable leather armchairs, grandfather clocks, a fireplace and a library filled with old and rare books, many on history and culture. There is also a bar, lounge area, DVD library, games room, a darts room and a fascinating billiard room with two full-sized tables and cues that are over a century old, and a basic gymnasium. There are four outdoor clay tennis courts with sheltered stands that host the Annual Sri Lanka Amateur Tennis Championships. Guests can dine at the dining room where formal dress code applies from 7 pm onwards (gentlemen over 18 are expected to wear jacket and tie and appropriate formal wear is expected of ladies. If required jackets and ties can be borrowed from the Club free-of-charge). The Lilly Restaurant offers a more informal option. Sri Lankan and western cuisine is served here prepared using fresh vegetables straight from Club’s own garden. Facilities also include room service, laundry, and a business centre with wifi within the main Club Office, and a separate venue set in the garden for weddings or conferences.
Why We Like It
An old-fashioned colonial-style club caught in a time warp - and that's its unique attraction.
The Hill Club has one of the finest settings in Nuwara Eliya, next to the golf club and flanked by Single Tree Mountain at the rear and with views across the Pidurutalagala Mountains in front. Nuwara Eliya is about three hours from Kandy and can also be accessed from the southern highlands. Around six hours from Colombo, or consider air taxi options. You can also head to the south coast via a daily sea plane service between Hatton and Koggala.
Location: Nuwara Eliya, Hill Country
Style: Heritage Hotel
No. of Rooms: 39
Key Features: Colonial-period architecture; restaurant; bar