The twin attractions at Bandarawela
@ DM Travel
Both Bandarawela Hotel and Bandarawela Tennis Club are synonymous with what colonial Bandarawela. Hotel and the club are two living monuments to an exotic past and tied up with the living spirit of the European tea planters and the Railway staff of Bandarawela Railway station.
Bandarawela Tennis without doubt one of the oldest surviving sports club in Sri Lanka and ranks with Bandarawela Hotel, the foremost top flight tradition bound calling place of tourists, seeking the peace and quiet of a Hotel which is predominantly old fashioned in its services and architecture.
Bandarawela Hotel and Bandarawela Tennis Club began almost together. The Sports club was first begun in 1897 but it was only in 1908 that some sports enthusiasts comprising European Tea Planters and Railway staff from the Bandarawela Station requested and was granted a land lease to kick start the Bandarawela Tennis Club, then known as the Railway Sports Club.
Rather strange but true, it had only one tennis court and seats were made of wooden railway sleepers. By 1930, there were two tennis courts and a parody of modern times, a mud-walled building as the club premises and perhaps pavilion.
Simultaneously Bandarawela Hotel was making its presence too. It continued to maintain its unique colonial buildings and famed traditional services and was the chosen watering hole of weary tea planters, railway staff and the government servants of yore. By the 1930’s Bandarawela Hotel and Bandarawela Tennis Club were twin attractions in Bandarawela. The Hotel served as the radiating centre for those who wanted to see the ravishing natural beauty of Uva and the remarkable historical artefacts of ancient Sri Lanka.
By 1948 modest improvements were made to the club. Now permanently known as Bandarawela Tennis Club, it boasts three tennis courts one or which is flood lit and a permanent stone built pavilion.
Today, the Bandarawela Tennis Club has a Billiards and Snooker room, a Bar and provides facilities for a variety of indoor sports. Along with Bandarawela Hotel, it’s a landmark in Uva.
The present management of the Hotel, Aitken Spence has left no stone unturned to recognize Bandarawela Tennis Club as one of the enduring institutions of a living past, along with Bandarawela Hotel. Both are unique and both have character. Recommended for the true connoisseur who would relish everything different, savour the past while enjoying the salubrious freshening cool climate, the bench mark attraction of Sri Lanka.
Bandarawela Hotel have now teamed up with Bandarawela Tennis Club for their guests to use the club facilities, which includes. Billiards and Tennis with one flood lit court too, at a nominal temporary membership fee.