The Firs opens doors for a cosy holiday in the hill country

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 00:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • A heritage boutique bungalow in the heart of Nuwara Eliya

Charming, serene and peaceful, The Firs Nuwara Eliya offers the weary travel connoisseur luxury, repose and indulgence for a relaxing holiday. This latest luxury boutique hotel was launched recently with the intention of providing holiday makers an exclusive holiday experience.

The Firs is a little jewel that sits pretty aloft a little hillock overlooking Lake Gregory in a picturesque location in Nuwara Eliya, the loftiest region of the Sri Lankan Hill country. The old bungalow has undergone a metamorphosis and renovations that have transformed the place in to the modern era. This luxury boutique bungalow was originally built over one and half centuries ago by Philip Freudenberg, Ceylon’s first Imperial German Counsel. Years later, the sons of Philip Freudenberg sold the property as they left Ceylon in the early 1900s.

The bungalow was then acquired by D.S. Senanayake, Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister, and became his holiday home. Ownership of the bungalow then passed on to his two sons, Dudley and Robert, with the bungalow remaining with the family for over 100 years to date. It is said that D.S. Senanayake, Dudley and Robert visited their holiday home quite often in that day in pursuance of golf, bridge-playing and photography. It was also the place Dudley Senanayake was first offered the role of Prime Minister following his father D.S. Senanayake’s demise in 1952.

The Firs is considered to be a true Sri Lankan up-market ‘heritage boutique bungalow’ that beckons historical value, and has been conceptualised according to the British Colonial era with the intention of providing the same experience that was available during the British monarchy. Today, after undergoing upgrades, The Firs now follows the very same concept, ensuring that every aspect of the property is about luxury, and is designed to reflect the unique spirit and soul of its location, providing guests a one-of-a-kind luxury experience.

Rooms consist of two super luxury suites exuding old world charm and elegance and three other beautifully furnished deluxe rooms. Stephen’s Suite, named after the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is the room owned by him when he came on holiday to the bungalow. Its luxuries include private dining, a huge four poster bed, fireplace and a signature almirah made out of five types of wood and a Jacuzzi.

Molly’s Suite is named after Emily Maud Dunuwila, the wife of D.S. Senanayake. The suite is specially designed to keep her tastes alive with the room’s signature piece being a beautiful writing table used by her which has been re-constructed and is now in use as a wash stand. With luxurious soft furnishings and styling, as well as top-line amenities – visitors are privy to a personalised unique butler service for every room.

The game rooms include chess, billiards, darts and other games with comfortable coffee and cigar lounges and spacious dining rooms to make this holiday accommodation on the edge of the hills absolutely irresistible. At the end of an adventurous day, one can de-stress with a glass of wine enjoying the sunset at the upper level ‘Phillip’s Attic Bar,’ or perhaps settle for a continental style exquisite dining experience – made to your individual preference.

What’s more, as you are within half an hour of some of the prettiest sights and historical towns in the hill area, you are truly spoilt for choice. The Firs offers many excursions and tours which cover the natural beauty of Nuwara Eliya including adventurous hikes to World’s End or a casual game of golf at the Famous Victoria Golf Club, St. Andrew’s Church and the spectacular botanical gardens are also excursion friendly. In addition, the Sita Eliya (also known as ‘The Glade of Sita’), which is situated in close proximity tells the historical story of how King Ravana hid Princess Sita to safe guard her from Hanuman. Today, there is a Hindu temple on the rock (the famous Haggala Botanical Garden is situated close to this temple) overlooking gushing water from a unique rock formation.

The Firs is managed by A. Lankathilaka, an industry professional counting over 30 years in the hospitality industry including working at the Palace of the Sultan of Oman, Carnival Cruise Lines in Miami, Florida, a short stint at the Syhyha National Corporation for Tourism in Saudi Arabia, as well as several hotels and clubs in Sri Lanka.

The Firs, like its Kandy flagship Randholee Luxury Resort, is managed by Freudenberg Leisure Ltd. (a fully-owned subsidiary of Freudenberg Shipping Agencies Ltd.) and is designed to reflect the unique spirit and soul of its location, providing guests a one-of-a-kind luxury experience.