Hotel of the Week: Nine Skies, Ella in Sri Lanka

The latest opening from Teardrop Hotels, Nine Skies is a beautifully converted tea bungalow on a working tea estate overlooking the famous Demodara Loop. 

Where is it? 

A 15-minute drive from the centre of Ella and a 10-minute stroll up the hill through the tea plantation from Demodara Railway station. A top tip is to jump on the famous Ella to Kandy train from Demodara instead of Ella. There will be far less tourists, giving you a precious 10 minutes of interrupted selfie time before the hordes climb aboard. 

Nine Skies is in an ideal location and the hotel will organise a Tuk-Tuk to take you to local must-visits including Nine Arches Bridge, Mini Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock, all of which are no more than 10-15 minutes away. 


A boutique bungalow, set in a lush green landscaped garden, which used to house the tea plantation’s director. Quite where he or she lives now, we forgot to ask! So taken were we with the immaculate decor. Teardrop prides itself on its pared back but ultra-luxurious aesthetic. Think soothing neutrals with tasteful details and handpicked antiques – a striped cushion here, an Instagrammable lamp there. 

Comfort is of upmost importance. Beds are super king and covered in the softest linens, all rooms come with roll top bath tubs and the communal lounge area is super cosy with a roaring fire, should the weather require it. 

Which room? 

There are three room categories at Nine Skies: Ella Rock Suite, Demodora bedroom and Nine Skies bedroom. If you can, request the Suite. This has a separate sitting area, perfect for curling up with a book or a place for the kids to sleep. Nine Skies is the only room with twin beds so is perfect for friends. 

All rooms come with private verandas with exceptional views. We stayed in the Ella Rock Suite and spent each evening with a chilled Lion lager watching the clouds rolling over the hills. One night there was a storm and we snuggled up as lightening bounced off the distant peaks. Absolutely magical. 

All rooms receive private butler service as part of the package. 

A Demodora bedroom at Nine Skies (Teardrop)


As well as the private butler service, there is an infinity pool with views over the Demodora Loop and the cloud covered hills beyond. A word of warning: the pool isn’t heated. 

Included in the price of your stay is a tour of the local Finlay’s Tea Factory. A genuinely fascinating lesson in the production of tea with a passionate and eloquent guide. You’ll never look at a cuppa the same way again. 

The hotel is set in the middle of a working tea plantation, and a stroll through the fragrant tea fields in the surrounding area is a complete joy. 

Nine Skies is tiny so there’s no spa on the property but you’ll find countless affordable massage options in Ella town. 

The staff to guest ratio at Nine Skies is truly impressive with 15 staff looking after just five rooms. Our butler, Eranda, was excellent: attentive, knowledgeable and whip smart. 

Food & Drink

There’s one dining room on the property which overlooks the lush green garden and sparkling infinity pool. Though, if you’d prefer, you can take meals on your private veranda. 

Rates at the hotel are all inclusive and this covers breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea as well as drinks, snacks and booze. 

For breakfast, tuck into traditional fry ups and fruit granola or perhaps opt for traditional Sri Lankan fare in the form of coconut roti or even dhal curry. For lunch it’s more curry or, if like me, you’re a bit curried out, there are lighter bites such as salt & pepper calamari, chicken caeser salad, spaghetti and club sandwiches.

Dinner is a la carte and ever changing. My top meal during the stay was a huge grilled prawn starter served with avocado creme, seeni sambol and carrot & herb salad; followed by tender Ribeye steak with watercress mash and country roasted vegetables; all rounded off with the hotel’s signature dessert of smashed avocado with vanilla ice cream and toasted coconut & jaggery. 

There are no set times for meals so just let your butler know what suits you, but definitely plump for a pre-dinner G&T in the sitting room for old school decadence. 

If you want to keep the party going, ask your butler to leave you the keys for the honesty bar.

The cosy lounge area complete with roaring fire and honesty bar (Teardrop)

Best for…

Couples. A two-night stay at Nine Skies would make the perfect addition to any Sri Lankan honeymoon


Rates at Teardrop Hotels’ Nine Skies start from US$372 (approx. £282) per night on an all-inclusive basis and based on two adults sharing.

Reservations: +94 773 638 381; +94 777 252 271;


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