Helga's Folly – Kandy, Sri Lanka - Atlas Obscura

Helga's Folly

A Bohemian "anti-hotel" offers off-kilter stays in Sri Lanka. 


Even hotels which are considered “off the beaten path” generally offer a standard lodging experience, but Sri Lanka’s Helga’s Folly presents a junkman’s paradise of faded luxury.

A meandering crimson mansion nestled in the Sri Lankan jungle, the home of eccentric proprietor Helga de Silva Blow Perera has been turned into an overstuffed hotel full of knick-knacks and memories. After inheriting the property from her parents, de Silva turned her former home, full of sumptuous pillows, beds, and couches, into an intimate traveling destination. Visitors can rent a room for the night and relax among the house’s many rich parlors surrounded by walls covered in every manner of decoration from taxidermy to the countless picture frames displaying old press clippings of Hollywood gone by. The Folly takes great pride from its former celebrity lodgers including Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh who once had a very public feud around the location. This kitschy kingdom is maybe the last thing one would expect to find in the jungles of Sri Lanka, but somehow Helga’s Folly seems right at home.     

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