A group of friends who “fell in love with” a crumbling 100-year-old mansion on a hill in Sri Lanka bought it for £315,000 and now rent it out for £1,000 per night.
Dean Sharpe spotted the property in 2010 at which time it had a tree growing through the roof and the entrance was overcome by the jungle.
A year later he and friends Jenny Lewis, Richard Bleasdale, and Bentley de Beyer bought the mansion along with two acres of land for around £315,000.
After a lengthy renovation of unknown cost the villa can now be rented for £1,000 per night.
The villa near the town of Weligama is named Halala Kanda and is known locally as Firefly Hill. It was built in 1912 by the son of a wealthy plantation owner, reports The Sun.
It had fallen into disrepair with bats in the rafters, windows boarded up and collapsed walls.
Mr Sharpe said: “It was a ruin of what it once was. But we walked in and fell in love with it.”
In December 2012, a century after it was built, work began on revamping the mansion. The four friends commissioned architect Ross Logie to restore the building.
They tried to keep the site “authentic” but the crumbling entrance, termites in the plaster and the tiled roof caving in meant not everything could be salvaged.
But the group resisted making a “big bonfire” to “burn everything” and instead carefully worked on the building.
Mr Sharpe said: “Each window frame and roof joist was carefully removed and stacked.”
Parts of the building needed to be demolished. This took four months and tarpaulin was used to protect the roof from monsoons.
Work was done to provide air conditioning, modern plumbing and access to water, and electricity by 2014.
They also constructed a 23-metre saltwater pool in the garden.
Architect Mr Logie said: “I think we achieved this goal by matching the spirit of the existing villa with harmonious, yet contemporary, additions.
“For example, the swimming pool and pool pavilion are clearly designed for modern living, yet the pool pavilion shares a fluid style of early-20th-century art nouveau.”
Mr Sharpe replaced the building’s 1950s-style pastel walls with a monochrome theme and added antiques from the local countryside.
He commissioned a carpenter who had worked on hotels in Abu Dhabi to make sofas and four-poster beds for the villa.
The total cost of the renovation has not been revealed.
The villa can accommodate up to 12 people with five bedrooms and bathrooms, and is fully staffed with a manager, chef, a security guard, two service staff and two gardeners.
A description on TripAdvisor reads: “Halala Kanda, or Firefly Hill, is a stunning luxury Villa built in 1912 by wealthy Sri Lankan owners.
“Set in the lush plantation hills of Weligama, Halala Kanda once more offers a serene oasis to relax and recharge, yet is within easy reach of the pristine southern beaches and the historic charm of Galle.
“It is set upon a breezy hill on two acres of groomed gardens and includes a 23m pool.
“Our large, open plan kitchen is equipped to the highest restaurant standards and houses a generous day table for early morning coffees and teas and relaxed dining.”