If expecting a regular hotel experience, best look elsewhere. Thank you‘. So says the website of Helga’s Folly in Sri Lanka, right on the homepage.

Very true.

Helga’s Folly is such an unusual place that I doubt that I could ever find the words to describe it so I am relying on the videos below to give you just some idea of what to expect.

Part of the attraction – and somewhat of an explanation – is to be found by looking into the background of the proprietor, Madame Helga da Silva. The hotel is her creation. Reviews are mixed but everyone agrees that the place is quirky, to say the least.

Helga has been married three times and on her website refers to the current incumbent as her ‘present husband’ – presumably to keep him on his toes with the knowledge that she will replace unsuitable husbands. This is on her family tree page.

Wait. A hotel featuring the owner’s family tree. Oh yes, and fascinating it is too. So is the list of visitors…

The Folly has a colourful history playing host to many celebrities whose pictures together with family members line the walls, amongst them are Vivian Leigh , Peter Finch , Sir Laurence Olivier , David Lean , William Holden , Gregory Peck , Win Min  Than, Sir Alec Guinness , Zandra Rhodes, Paula Yates ,  Andrew Logan ,  Mahatma Ghandi , Nehru , Indira Ghandi…

 Kelly Jones of The ‘Stereophonics’ who was inspired to write the single ‘Madam Helga’…

Helga’s life has been long and tormented. A 2005 article refers to her as a septuagenarian. Her solace for many years has been painting her hotel. Literally. She began painting murals in the property after her second marriage ended.


Helga's Folly

70, Rajapihilla Mawatha,
Sri Lanka



JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.
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