The Walden.

Sri Lanka's mini London, Nuwara Eliya is simply paradisiacal. The mist-wrapped peaks patchworked in green, cascading waterfalls, rich colonial heritage paired with a sprinkle of spirituality that comes from the multi-cultural communities, it's like a totally different world out there. 
 
Amidst all that scenic beauty, lies The Walden – a meticulously designed, old family bungalow flipped into an incredibly cosy hotel that provides contemporary comforts.

Accommodation

At about Rs. 10k – 15k a night, the accommodation at this charming establishment includes 4 rooms – 2 Deluxe Double Rooms and 2 Family Suites named Winter, Autumn, Summer and Spring. All of them are located on the upper floor of the house and come with a balcony that offers some blissful views of the highland swaddled with mist.

We bedded in their Autumn room, which is one of the Deluxe Double Rooms. Featuring an incredibly plush, king-sized bed, a dressing table, tea table, room heater, almirah, working-table and a well-appointed bathroom, it had lots and lots of natural lights seeping through the giant, floor-to-ceiling glass windows from both sides. 

The old fashioned furniture, wooden floors and the whole vibe here are like a set out of a movie that captures the colonial era of Sri Lanka and seems like it’s been frozen in time since then.

Spacious, fully equipped and carrying plenty of amenities, the bathroom really impressed us. There was a bathtub, his-and-hers sinks, and a shower with both hot and cold water supply, which had been maintained well, is spotlessly clean and neat.

It is a well-lit bathroom too, thanks to all the natural lights emanating through its massive glass panels. 

Dining

Breakfast

The Walden has an a la carte menu that covers the breakfast, lunch and dinner needs throughout your stay. The dishes here revolves around Sri Lankan and Western fare, but if you need special twists on your food, depending on their capacity, they'll happily curate them for you.

We settled for something simple and Western to kick start our morning – bread, bullseye eggs, butter and chicken sausages. 

A couple of eggs were a bit messed up in terms of presentation, but we didn't mind as they had splendidly runny yolk oozing out. 

Plus, everything was much better with a freshly brewed cuppa on the side. 

Dinner

Our dinner spread at The Walden was a sight to behold. A helping of fluffy white rice, accompanied by tempered potato, kos mallum, chicken curry, beans curry, batter-fried mushroom and pan-grilled fish – all freshly made with a super homely touch. 

Before diving into all that, we got ourselves a bowl of Mushroom Soup. Loaded with mushroom flavour, it had slight hints of chicken stock emerging through, alongside bits of mushroom, carrots and greens which helped to enhance the flavour even more. To kick it up a notch, they had slipped in a sprinkle of pepper to it. 

*Pictured above – Bean curry, Tempered Potato, Chicken Curry, and Kos Mallum

Everything in this picture is about creating a well-balanced flavour profile.

The chicken curry here was a testament to all the brilliant things that we do with our Lankan spices. Dunked in a thin gravy that's lavished with spices, the meat was soft, juicy and fell off the bone. The gravy enriches the flavour of the meat, and we could taste it even in the most inner layers of it. Portionwise, it had four hefty pieces of chicken, so it's quite enough to share among 2/3 adults. 

Adequately infused with scraped coconut, the kos mallum was good as it can get, while the beans curry comes in handy to even out the spicy kicks on the plate, by being a milky delight. 

The tempered potato was delicious too. Not oily in any way, the potato was cooked well, wrapped in a cocktail of spices, while the fried karapincha (curry leaves) works its magic.

The Walden does a killer Pan Grilled Fish. With chunks of freshly cut onions and green chillies adorning the plate, the fish here had a slight crisp to its outside, while the inside is succulent and delectable. The splash of lime amps up its flavour with some sour kicks, providing a sublime experience of pleasure for our taste buds.

This goes well with both buth and a mug full of frothy beer

Coated with a well-seasoned, crispy batter, the mushrooms were good too. A slightly squishy texture and a dash of chilli flakes would have boosted its flavour to the next level. 

Ambience & Service

The Walden excels at binding modern comforts to its natural, homely ambience. Nestled over a lush garden with flowers blooming in every corner, entering this property would make you feel like you're walking into a place of your own, or a relative who would treat you to a happy vacation. 
We had this table setting next to our room, which is an ideal spot to grab your breakfast with a view or to slip your fingers through a few pages of your favourite book. 
Stylishly laid-back, cosy and comfortable, they've got a couple of common areas on both floors, and the one on the ground floor has a working fireplace.

Pouring yourself a glass of bubbly or merlot by the fireplace, with a plate of strawberries or gouda on the side, while sharing a thought or two with your significant other or family is something that many of us would dream of. And the atmosphere at The Walden caters to all of them. 

If you're in the mood for a game of pool, they've got a spot for that too.

Isn't this the prettiest backdrop for your Instagram-worthy pictures? The mornings here are picture-perfect, which you can observe from the open verandah of the house.

With misty pine trees and mountains blanketed with emerald tea plantations on the distance, it's simply magical. The weather is freezing so have a cuppa or two as you enjoy the view. 

The property is managed by a family, and they're some of the nicest people we've ever met. With warm smiles and genuine friendliness, they made us feel welcome. If you need any recommendations on how to get around the town, or some BBQ to fire-up with a couple of drinks, ask away – they're happy to help. 

Conclusion

Our experience at The Walden was simply enthralling. The cosy, welcoming, homely atmosphere embedded with a dash of colonial charm, coupled with an endless flow of fabulous food, and impeccable service, it's hands-down one of the best choices you've got when vacationing in Nuwara Eliya. We highly recommend. 

*Photographs courtesy of: @raveen.re
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