Jetwing’s Warwick Gardens is a beautifully renovated Edwardian style bungalow nestled in the hills in Ambewela. With cozy rooms, gorgeous surroundings and excellent Sri Lankan cuisine, this old school gal bangalawa encapsulates a perfect vacation in the hill country.
Having lived in Nuwara Eliya during my early childhood and hearing twenty eight years worth stories from my dad, it’s easy to see just how much NE has changed over the decades. While it’s great to see the modernisation of the town, it’s also sad see it lose some of it’s colonial charm which made it our little England. There are, however, a few gems that have retained that colonial beauty, and Jetwing’s Warwick Gardens is a perfect example. Located about half an hour from NE, it’s away from the hubbub of the town, surrounded by mountains and tea estates.
At around 6000 feet above sea level the temperature at Warwick Gardens varies between 14°C – 23°C, making it perfect for reading and relaxing.
This is pretty much the perfect gal bangalawa with thick stone walls for insulation, beautiful colonial style interiors with cozy couches, a grand piano, glass chandeliers, functional fireplaces and candlelit dining tables.
The garden is another highlight; maintained impeccably with the front lawn giving a perfect view of the valley and the mountains.
Due to the estate’s altitude there’s a constant mist and occasional fine drizzle which feels amazing when you step out into the garden. Because of this, you’ll also see a bunch of rainbows throughout the day when the sun hits the mist at the right angles.
Warwick Gardens has a total of five rooms so even on the rare occasion where it’s fully occupied, it won’t feel crowded. The two rooms we were staying in were very much different from each other; one with crimson walls and two twin beds and the other white washed with a spacious four-poster bed.
Each of the rooms came with a fireplace in case it gets a little too chilly at night, which is a nice touch that’s become harder to find.
One thing we have to mention are the brilliant bathrooms at Warwick, which are some of the best we’ve come across. They’re pretty much the size of another room, with windows that give a view of the estate and mirror-like ceramic counter tops.
One of the rooms even came with a full sized bathtub, which makes for a brilliant way to end the day with a warm soak.
(Ed Note: We've also separately stayed in the White Room and Master Suite, which are the premium accommodation options. Check out Jetwing's gallery for a feel, they're gorgeous and we felt like low-key royalty)
Being a bungalow, Warwick Gardens sticks to a well balanced à la carte menu which gives you options for either western, Indian or local cuisine, along with a good variety of meats to choose from. We tried a bit of everything and came away quite happy in general, but particularly impressed with the top notch Sri Lankan food.
We generally don’t pay much heed to bread baskets but few do it as well as Warwick Gardens. Their buns and breads were like pillows. light, airy and very flavoursome. So good in fact that we ended up taking some to our rooms for late night noms.
This may sound a bit boring, but for lunch we definitely recommend their rice and curry. Ours came with spicy beef curry, sautéed chilli potatoes, mango chutney, onion baduma with peanuts and a creamy parippu along with papadam. The standout here was that beef curry which was at like Muslim aunty levels with tender meat, a nice hit of pepper and chilli with just the right amount of coconut milk to balance the heat.
If you’re more interested in western cuisine, Warwick Gardens serves up a legit breakfast which comes with fried bacon, sausages, sautéed button mushrooms and a egg. It’s not very complex but the flavours were on point, especially with the local omelette that had which was packed with onions and green chillies.
Another interesting detail that we found out was the fact that Warwick Gardens actually grows most of their vegetables in their own little farm, with their tea and coffee also coming from their own estate.
The area surrounding the bungalow makes for some excellent walks along the hills and the tea plantations. We suggest waking up as early possible, going for the walk and then heading back for a hearty breakfast. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Warwick Gardens is actually around 18 kms from Nuwara Eliya town which is about a 30 minute drive from Nuwara Eliya town along the Hakgala Road (A5), passed the Hakagala gardens and turning to the Rendapola road (B507). The final kilometre is a bit treacherous but we were told that the road would be fixed up in the coming months.
Jetwing really outdid themselves with the renovation of the Scottish planter’s bungalow, keeping things clean and true to its roots. At the time of writing this review the rooms at Warwick Gardens start at Rs. 23,350 on a BnB basis, which we feel definitely worth it, with all that they offer.