Archive for December, 2013

Manolo Blahniks and Sri Lanka’s Anti Hotel

Saturday, December 21st, 2013 | Category: Travel

“Darling, I tried to commit suicide again , I jumped off a bridge and broke both my ankles, I’m just so depressed I may never be able to wear my Manolo Blahniks again.”

I stared in disbelief at Helga the owner of the legendary artists haven “Helgas Folly Hotel” in Sri Lanka she was talking about a telephone conversation with her late daughter in law, Fashion Icon and magazine editor Isabella Blow after one of her 7 suicide attempts. She had suffered from Bi Polar disorder and tragically finally succeeded in ending her life after swallowing poison at the age of 48.

But this is simply part of the history of this iconic place which accepts tragedy and embraces suffering as art and in it finds beauty . The hotel is a fading majestic butterfly and her old dalmation with his dull greying coat and wracked with arthritis once sleek, proud and beautiful is a living metaphor for the bizarre retreat in Kandy’s hills.

Sara Damergi

Yes, there are cobwebs, and yes it is over-priced and yes the decor is decaying but the essence of Helgas Folly. Referred to by Helga as ‘she’ and ‘her’ still very much remains, and that for me is why it was worth every penny. The building itself is a labyrinth of different emotions from inside the owners mind. Helga explained when she was going through her first divorce she went ‘slightly mad’ and began painting in a crazed frenzy as therapy, the result is an eccentric Alice in Wonderland on LSD effect. Nothing about this place is dull, uniform or created for a specific clientele. In fact those who expect 5 star luxury need not apply.

Sara Damergi

For example there are 100’s of monkeys that hang out in the trees next to the hotels with amusing Boris Johnson ‘esque’ hairstyles and quite often run into the building and try and steal your breakfast or hiss at you as the old school butler style waiters run around flapping teacloths to get rid of them. The aura is magical, bonkers and haven like.

Sara Damergi

For those who appreciate eccentricity, creativity and a building steeped in empathy and refuge I absolutely recommend going. Helga is open to giving discounts for artists at her discretion and welcomes those who are going through divorces or grieving to come and paint by the pool and experience the ‘anti hotel’s’ healing powers.

Forget the Marriot, try it.

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