Mount Lavinia is has a certain feeling to it that’s just hard to put your finger on… In its air, a sense of romance, and warmth tinged with the yellow hues of a setting sun and a drop of nostalgia. Why this is so is anyone’s guess but it may be intertwined with Mt. Lavinia’s history and even be responsible for the events which have taken place here.
The second British Governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Thomas Maitland, bought land in Mt Lavinia and built a residence there in 1806 and came into contact with a young local girl of mixed Portuguese and Sinhalese heritage who was a Mestizo dancer by the name of Lovina Aponsua and fell in love.
It was rather unconventional for such unions to occur in those times and the girl was said to have been smuggled in to his premises to meet him along underground Tunnels which have since been closed upwhich connected to a well in her father’s house. He named the area Mt. Lavinia after his love. He was called back to England in 1811 and lived the rest of his life as a bachelor.
After he left, his official residence was occupied by his successors and eventually it was expanded and converted into the world famous Mt. Lavinia Hotel in 1895. It still stands and is a monument to the colonial legacy left behind in Sri Lanka. It is also captivating due to the controversial romance that took place there centuries ago and enchants the many lovers who come to the location.