Increasing guest occupancy at Halgolla Plantation Home

Front elevation of HPH

Front elevation of HPH

The challenge in seeking success in our initiative is to maintain the integrity of a truly unique enterprise which seeks not only to be an economic spice plantation but provides the impoverished residents of the neighbouring
squatter “colonies” with a means of learning unique new agricultural skills while enhancing their current meager incomes. Corporate Social Responsibility in practice?

While we currently, produce, in-house, a monthly Halgolla Plantation Home Newsletter we have decided to also distribute, from time to time, special announcements that would be of interest to those currently on that Newsletter’s mailing list. In this, the first of these, we offer a special incentive for two categories of guests: 1) those who’ve spent time with us before and 2) those who wish to register on the recommendation of those who’ve previously been guests at HPH.

Weuda valley

Weuda valley from the
front verandah of HPH

When we receive the completed Guest Registration Form (attached to this invitation) we will make available to you an additional 25% discount on the Bed & Breakfast component of your booking, for the period ending April 30th 2020.

In the event that you do not recall the exact dates of your sponsor’s or your visit, give us a general idea of when you or they were last here and we should be able to find the required information from our records.

As always, we would welcome your suggestions in the matter of making HPH an even better place than it now is for guests from across the globe.
Arlene & Emil

Soaking pool - Most popular site with HPH guests

Soaking pool – Most popular site with HPH guests!

Alagalla to the south of HPH

Alagalla to the south of HPH


Click here to view the registration form

Read More →


Padeniya temple

An unusual structure adjacent to the Padeniya temple which itself contains a potpourri of architectural styles from over the centuries in Sri Lanka – a mornings visit from HPH


HALGOLLA PLANTATION HOME – the unique sri lankan experience –
January 2020

We’ve had (yet another) major swing in the matter of government change subsequent to the last general election and, despite the usual “hiccups of democracy,” things seem to be progressing okay, particularly for those visiting Sri Lanka from other parts of the world. The author of this

The historic roofing on a building at Padeniya temple – much like shingles of a later time

newsletter continues with a daily regimen which seeks to cope with the ravages of age, inclusive of a reduction in mobility and, overall, is holding on if not “holding his own!” We recently had the son (and spouse) of a first cousin of yours truly, born and raised in Canada, make his first trip to Sri Lanka, spending time with us and it provided us with the opportunity of going down

For January, as in past months, we’ll continue our
“Surprise Basket of HPH goodies,” which appears to delight our guests as they take their leave of us!
Acknowledgements of HPH’s Excellence
■ Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor
■ Rated as Best Home Stay in Sri Lanka
■ Recommended by Bradt Travel Guide for Sri Lanka

HPH from the garden below

memory lane to fill them in on family history etc. That’s a task that falls to us increasingly often as we prove to be survivors of a dwindling generation!
Our meagre work force continues to cope with the immediate tasks at hand and a significant part of their efforts has been directed at general maintenance of the vanilla patch and preventing the wild boar and porcupines doing more damage to that sensitive crop, with more success than failure fortunately.

The monkey menace is a different kettle of fish with our little patch being seen as a corner of heaven in a devastated landscape by the simians. However, our battle against their intrusions will continue unabated since we have little other choice!
The weather, as in most parts of the world, continues unpredictable, though we’ve been spared the cloudbursts

Praying mantis

that have hit so many parts of Sri Lanka with devastating effect.
Biso’s ultra-energetic grandson – nickname “Sudha” – continues to provide us with a computer consultancy service restricted only by his lack of fluency in English. However, what he lacks in language fluency he almost makes up for in great enthusiasm. Even a part of his family’s life story with his mother and grandmother as participants would qualify as a front-runner in the “fact is stranger than fiction” stakes. Unfortunately, the recounting of this narrative is beyond the scope of a Newsletter such as this.

Mgambo/Black Pearl (Majidea zanguebarica)

With all good wishes,
Arlene & Emil



Mob. +94 76 975 2176, +94 77 347 0702


Read More →


HALGOLLA PLANTATION HOME – the unique sri lankan experience – December 2019

Spot the garden lizard (katussa) !


The picture on the left is of a plant that is part of a selection that oral history at HPH says was but one exotic foliage plant previously found all over the “home plantation of Antoine Joseph van der Poorten and reputed to have been brought back by him from his trips to what was then the Congo Free State, where he served that most reprehensible of monarchs, Leopold II of Belgium, as manager of that king’s plantations in Central Africa and from the far east, Java, where he settled his eldest son, Francis, at age 21, never to 

For December, as in past months,
we’ll continue our
“Surprise Basket of HPH goodies,”
which appears to delight our guests
as they take their leave of us!
Acknowledgements of HPH’s
■ Certificate of Excellence from
Trip Advisor
■ Rated as Best Home Stay in Sri
■ Recommended by Bradt Travel
Guide for Sri Lanka

return to Sri Lanka. This is part of what the van der Poorten currently domiciled at HPH has inherited, part of the “good, the bad and the ugly”! From a situation of incessant rain, we have moved to what used to be called “afternoon heat thundershowers” and since they too provide precipitation we will live by our promise never to complain about rain in any form! The wild pigs and porcupines continue to present a challenge to our efforts to grow anything in the ground. The monkeys have become an even bigger menace thanks to the land neighbouring ours being further denuded of what fruit

Alagalla, to the
south of HPH

bearing trees it carried.“Justice” and “fairness” seem to be words singularly lacking relevance to our neck of the woods in the natural order of things! We take shots at the simians with our puny little air gun and light firecrackers which keep them at bay for a little while! Another strategy has been someone wearing a devil-dancer’s face mask and hooting and hollering at them. Suffice it to say that this strategy only works for a limited time! Oh, well, old
problems call for new solutions and “Short” Selvarajah has come up with some “monkeycontrol” measures that we’ll report on if they show any signs of success! The second, even smaller, part of our vanilla crop awaits harvesting by the representative of the processing group which supplies the essence to the primary bottler of pop in Sri Lanka.

Van loaded with coconuts at
Thambili heeriya

Our meager work force has also begun harvesting our coffee crop – Robusta, Arabica & Liberica. Sri Lanka has gone through yet another political convulsion but, given the resilience its people have developed over the years, things will soon be back on an even keel. In any event, these goings-on impact primarily on the permanent residents and visitors/tourists wouldn’t notice any change! Such is Sri Lanka! Our workforce, such as it is, has certainly gone “beyond the call of duty” in keeping HPH on an even keel during often trying times. For that we are so grateful, particularly during a time when such conduct seems increasingly rare in the world at large. 

Coconuts being unloaded by

A comrade in arms, Ranjit Hulugalle has taken wing to shores far away it seems. As someone who shared the same beliefs in the matter of defending our diminishing natural resources, we will miss him sorely and can but hope we’ll see him back before too long. PLEASE let us know what you’d like to see in our monthly newsletter. And don’t hesitate to let us know if it bores you to tears, either!
Much affection
Arlene & Emil


Mob. +94 76 975 2176, +94 77 347 0702



Read More →


HALGOLLA PLANTATION HOME – the unique sri lankan experience – October 2019

Boulder Path

Boulder Path

Champaca Indica

Champaca Indica reputed to
produce the world’s most
expensive perfume

While the lunacy  that passes for the political process in Sri Lanka continues, we have been insulated from it by virtue of our relative geographical isolation.

The tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka have still not recovered to the levels that prevailed before the Easter Sunday holocaust but, with the security forces doing an admirable job of arresting a large number of those connected to that horror, there is a sense of peace having
returned to the country.

Senevi’s health has required sojourns in hospital and rest periods at his home over the last months and that, coupled, with his wife’s deteriorating health has necessitated his staying at his home for the foreseeable future.

Mgambo/Black Pearl
(Majidea Zanguebarica)

Mohan, who also  appears to have faced more than the average selection of life’s challenges, is resident with us and seeking to fill that gap in our (very limited) staff component and we hope that HPH will provide a domicile of stability and peace for him while he contributes to our diverse and unique enterprise.

“Thibbatu” – a wild vegetable
of the Solanum family

While I cross my fingers as I say so, it seems like we’ve got our potable water supply stabilised! Our next effort is going to be to stock our “Aeth Amuna” with edible fish – carp and Tilapia mossambica – and devise a means of supplementing their diet with store-bought fish
food pellets. I know, I know, we never seem to want to sit still for any great length of time.

The excuse for that pattern of behaviour? At our age, if we stop doing things we’ll simply keel over and “kick the bucket!” And while on the subject of diversification at HPH; we have the means of developing a nursery of foliage, fruit and garden plants for sale and the challenge is to find a suitable location and reliable person to do the retailing.

We would like to close this Newsletter with a request for feedback from you in the matter of content and format of our HPH newsletter. 

We’d be most appreciative of any suggestions for increasing our bookings without having to resort to high-priced advertising which we can’t afford!

Elephant foot

“Elephant foot” yam

With all good wishes,
Arlene & Emi

Mob: +94 76 975 2176 & +94 77 347 0702



Read More →




“Unique” is the only description that fits Halgolla Plantation Home which has been catering to guests from around the world for the past six years with an unmatched degree of acceptance.

The “Home” has been occupied by the van der Poorten family since the mid-nineteenth century and the spice crops on it – cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pepper and vanilla – and the better than forty varieties of fruit it carries are being organically cultivated and processed, increasing the skill and earning capacity of our village neighbours.

Self-guided walking trails give guests the opportunity to traverse the property with relative ease, from the Soaking Pool to Meditation Flat and beyond. Mongoose, pangolins, wild pigs, muntjac (barking deer), chevrotain (mouse deer), rusty spotted cats, monkeys, slender loris, giant squirrels and a plethora of avian species share the land with us.











Part of the HPH dining room

HPH has one four-bed unit, a two bed unit with en suite toilet, bath and shower and one two-bed unit with a private toilet and shower. Hot water, produced by our antique wood-burning heater, is available around the clock, and HPH’s incomparable Sri Lankan cuisine is prepared in clay pots on an open-hearth.
The fruit, jams, jellies, preserves and fruit drinks you are served at HPH, at no extra charge, come from our land.

HALGOLLA PLANTATION HOMEThe largest Samadhi Buddha Statue, carved out of the living granite, 67.5 feet tall; the famed Silver Temple; Buddhism’s most venerated site, the Dalada Maligawa, and the famed Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, are among the myriad attractions within a few dozen kilometers or less of HPH.


Part of living room

For more information check our website,, email us at or phone us at +94 (0)77 347 0702 (Arlene) or or +94 (0)76 975 2176(Emil) 

Read More →