Kandy: Helga’s Folly
Get There: 32, Frederick E. de Silva Mawatha
Cost: If you must stay, artists and writers pay $50USD/night for a minimum week’s lodging
Imagine if the Queen of Hearts and Gaudi had a child, and that child built a lavish, surrealist hotel and gallery on the edge of the Dunumadallawa Forest. Then imagine if, after its heyday, its owner decided she preferred to have it empty, and let it run into tattiness and borderline ruin.
Enter Helga’s Folly, the creation of the deliciously kooky Helga da Silva and the most bizarre and wonderful building you will ever step foot inside. Picture rooms connected by random staircases and narrow corridors, all adorned with maximalist décor: creaky record players, satin curtains, waxy candelabras, gothic mirrors and Victorian paintings. The 35 hotel rooms are all unique, among them the cat-themed room that once played host to Ghandi (not to mention the long list of Hollywood starlets who have pass through). But rather than stay there for the hefty price of at least $150USD a night, come for a $20USD dinner and ask one of the ridiculously hospitable staff to give you a tour. Expect silver service, multiple scrumptious courses, and mulled wine and canapés on the house.
Eccentric, creepy and fabulous.