Helga's Folly

Apr 28 2014.

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Helga’s Folly, tucked high on a hill overlooking the jungles, mountain scenery and the Kandyan city below is a hotel that is certainly one of a kind. Reams have been written about this quirky hotel, of which I am sure there are none like it in Sri Lanka.

The chatelaine of the hotel is the famous Helga De Silva Blow Perera, an awe inspiring personality who is an institution herself. The hotel is set in sprawling grounds, is her ancestral home which is billed as a Sri Lankan home with some Sri Lankan history. The house was designed by Helga’s mother in the 30’s and on first impression one can see a red building appearing through thick foliage perched on the hillside.

The entire hotel cum home offers a smorgasboard of visual delights, with antiques, objects of art, murals and hundreds of family photographs vying for equal attention. All the paraphernalia is intertwined and relates a great story of a family steeped in history. Huge candelabras with stalactites of wax dripping from them give some parts of the house an Addams familyesque appearance to it. The ceilings festooned with signs of the zodiac  alongside Christmas baubles all add to the unusual visual montage. The inclusion of the Jane Lilian Vance Grotto is another attraction. Here, a huge tapestry depicting lineage art hangs in the grotto alongside two other paintings. Celebrated American artist Vane specialises in lineage painting and spent three weeks in Sri Lanka last year creating a vibrant mural depicting the ancestry and history of Helga’s family. 

For those interested in a certain era of Sri Lankan history Helga’s Folly will never cease to delight. Catch Helga herself as she roams through the house and you are assured to be treated to some amazing stories. Helga’s Folly has hosted a range of guests over the years ranging from Gandhi  and  Gregory Peck to the Stereophonics who were inspired to write their hit song Madame Helga after meeting Helga herself. The hotel also played host and witnessed a love spat as Laurence Olivier discovered the blossoming love between Vivien Leigh and Peter Finch when they were filming in Sri Lanka.

Helga’s Folly has 30 bedrooms all adorned with various murals, colourful drapes with some rooms having imposing four poster beds, all imbued with Helga’s personal touch.There is also a huge swimming pool in the rear of the property hidden from view and surrounded by lush green foliage. There is a bar that serves a variety of drinks. There is an A’la carte menu with a variety of  items, however with prior arrangement  you could order a bespoke menu.

The hotel has been featured in several illustrious magazines, newspapers and TV travel guides and billed as a must visit place in the Island. There is most certainly a unique feel to it when you are sitting inside sipping a chilled beer or a cup of tea served in an antique silver teapot listening to the strains of either Nat King Cole or Peggy Lee being played on the heirloom gramophone. The hotel is intimate and cosy. You really have to visit Helga’s Folly and see for yourself this unique home turned hotel which is absolutely and truly one of a kind never to be missed experience.

Helga's Folly (Chalet Hotel).
Rajapihilla Mawatha,
Sri Lanka

Website www.helgasfolly.com
E mail [email protected]
[email protected]

Phone 0094 814 474314
0094 812 234571

By Tina Edward Gunawardhana


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