How friends turned a dilapidated mansion in Sri Lanka into an exquisite hotelPictolic
To buy a dilapidated century-old mansion in the jungle on a hillside in Sri Lanka for 315,000 pounds (32 million rubles) is an adventure that many would refuse. However, for the four friends who decided to do this, the deal paid off royally.
The villa, built in 1912 by the son of a rich plantation owner, called Halala Kanda is known as Firefly Hill. She once hosted such distinguished guests as Australian cricket star Kate Miller.
The villa was built in 1912. The old building was abandoned for a long time and was being destroyed. In 2010, four friends bought the building.
The mansion has been renovated and is now being rented at a price of more than 1,000 pounds (100 thousand rubles) per night.
Fast forward to a hundred years ago. At that time, a once magnificent mansion in the jungles of Sri Lanka, near the city of Veligama, was a ruin. Bats were perched on the rafters, the windows were boarded up, and the walls were covered with cracks. At the entrance to the building, a tree sprouted through the roof.
In 2010, interior designer Dean Sharp drew attention to an abandoned ancient structure.
A year later, he and three friends – Jenny Lewis, Richard Blisdale and Bentley de Beyer – bought a dilapidated mansion along with two acres of land on which it was located, for about 315,000 pounds (32 million rubles).
By December 2012, a century after the construction of the mansion, renovation work began. Friends commissioned the architect Ross Logie to restore the former beauty of the villa.
In an effort to keep the appearance of the mansion authentic, the working group tried to preserve as much of the building as possible as it was a hundred years ago.
But due to the collapse of the entrance, the tiled roof of the kitchen wing and termites that destroyed part of the walls, not everything was saved.
Before Sharpe bought the mansion, the only source of water here was a garden well. Subsequently, it was connected to the local power grid.
In 2014, air conditioners, water supply and electrical systems were installed in the house. The house was in a livable condition, but the work continued.
Elements of modern design have been added to the design, including a 23-meter saltwater pool in the garden. In general, the group wanted the original appearance of the villa not to be distorted as a result of renovation work.
Initially, the mansion had pastel-colored walls, but Sharpe decided to choose a concise monochrome solution. He found local antique items with which he decorated the interior.
Sharpe hired a carpenter who had previously worked in hotels in Abu Dhabi, and ordered him sofas and four-poster beds for the villa.
Sharpe does not say how much the repair cost. Now he and his friends rent the mansion to guests for at least 1,000 pounds (100 thousand rubles) per night.
The villa can comfortably accommodate 12 guests. It has five bedrooms and the same number of bathrooms.
The mansion has a manager, a cook, two service personnel, two gardeners and a security guard.
The description on the TripAdvisor website reads: "Halala Kanda, or Firefly Hill, is a stunning luxury villa built in 1912 by wealthy Sri Lankan owners. Located among the lush plantation hills of Veligama, Halala Kanda Hotel has once again become a serene oasis for relaxation and recuperation. It is close to the unspoilt southern beaches and the historical charm of Galle. The villa is located on a hill on two acres of well-kept gardens. Next to it there is a 23-meter swimming pool. Our large open-plan kitchen is equipped to the highest restaurant standards. At the large table, you can drink morning coffee and tea and have lunch in a relaxed atmosphere."
The mansion has five bedrooms and five bathrooms.
It can accommodate up to 12 guests.
There is a 23-meter swimming pool in the garden.