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“Both appealing and appalling simultaneously!”
Review of Helga's Folly

Helga's Folly
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Helga's Folly
Ranked #21 of 54 Hotels in Kandy
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
“Both appealing and appalling simultaneously!”
Reviewed 5 April 2012

Divest yourself of all expectations and standards before you enter.This is not a hotel...it is an experience, guaranteed to be memorable!. There is never a dull moment here. Sensational eye candy overload everywhere, accompanied by Marlena Dietrich and Frank Sinatra. Definitely a major 'wow factor' to this eccentric, colour-saturated testament to the power of creative spirit unleashed.
But as with Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, there is great benefit to low voltage lamps and lots of candles. The place is tired, worn and, quick frankly, dirty. Cobwebby, moldy, mildewy and often even grungy, as if no one has actually moved or cleaned anything in 50 years.
So don't look too closely.
Just relax and let the whimsy wash over you. It will, I promise.
Great location.
Intensely up-close monkey encounters right on our balcony shortly after a most lovely jungle sunrise.
Excellent, laid-back service from a kind and attentive staff.
In the end though, I have to say, not enough bang for what is a lot of buck! Way over-priced for a definite lack of proper, clean facilities ( some of the bathrooms will scare you!), mediocre food and worn-out furnishings.
Still, I have to say, both appealing and appalling simultaneously, a one-night experience here is something you'll be talking about years after you've forgotten every other hotel on your trip, and isn't that part of a memorable adventure!
,










The kind and attentive staff were eager to please

Room Tip: Each one is an eyeful!
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank ritajeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
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France
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2012

If you don't go to Helga's Folly, you will miss out on the most unique family home/hotel experience you might ever see. The place is simply BONKERS! but in a really wonderful and happy way. As I wrote in Helga's book, you could have the most amazing party here,
or the World Hide & Seek championships. On a serious note, it was the most expensive hotel of our whole trip to Sri Lanka, but for me it was totally worth it just to see it and spend one night there. The house has so much soul, and that is rare these days. Yes, the bathrooms need updating, and not everything is perfectly up to scratch, but I almost wouldn't change a thing, because it wouldn't be Helga's Folly anymore. Helga was incredibly sweet to meet us during our dinner despite being a bit unwell, and then insisted to say goodbye personally on the phone on our departure. A very personal touch by Helga and we had lovely and caring service by the personnel.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Yank-in-France
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2012

You can call it bizarre and eccentric, or simply ingenious, the interior design will amaze you for sure. Located on a hill of Kandy, this home stay hotel is designed with the artifacts of the bizarre and the curious, from the dining areas to the salons to the rooms you are staying in. Don't expect 4 hotel star luxury but more a family B&B feeling as the rooms are clean, with airco but no TVs and no minibars. The owner Helga is a very friendly host, greeting all in house guests morning and evening time. Read the history of her family that have been collecting old photos, Asian art and Gothic puppets to medieval painting, to a dining room that could have come out of Dracula's castle. Swimming pool and retro cinema room are some of the facilities in house. Staff was very friendly and helpful all the time.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank AsianTravelGuru11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palo Alto, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2012

We visited Helga's in a group of 9 friends recently, all seasoned travelers. It was a surreal experience from the visual overload (in a good way), the continual Sinatra in the background placing us in another time, the sumptuous food and attentive staff, often silently appearing coupled with monkeys trying to get into our rooms, bouts of sickness (not from Helga's Folly) and middle of the night bats in the hall (only once). While plumbing and lights need some upgrading, nonetheless every inch and every moment had a magical quality which, if you are open to it, you will carry with you long after. In fact, our stay there is my touchstone for Sri Lanka in general. and Helga is as gracious and magical as her surroundings.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank meimeipan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2012

We just went for dinner. Glad we visited. We were going to stay there, but I got cold feet reading some of the reviews and stayed somewhere else. We looked at a few of the rooms while we were there though, and I thought they were pretty cool and could happily have stayed there (although not cheap). Might do your head in a bit if you were there for a long time though. Decor and Helga's whole "thing" won't be to everyone's taste (at all), but as I say - well worth a visit. I really liked the place.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank additasum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2012

Truly magical inspiring and very welcoming - wonderful decor very imaginative and peaceful situated high up on a hill. Helga is a very warm eccentric lady impeccable manners ensuring we had everything we needed and we were happy with our rooms showing us a few to choose from - which my daughter was very pleased with as she got a butterfly and pink panther fairytale themed room. Complimentary afternoon tea with homemade biscuits welcomed us and after an afternoon of sightseeing we had a fantastic dinner / pre dinner drink / nibbles in the lounge listening to edif piaf then a wonderful 3 course meal, good wine and a very thoughtful valentines gift for us. If it is all the mod cons and run of the mill 5* hotel you are after then this not the place for you but if you want something memorable romantic and inspiring this is your hotel.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Jo D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Sussex, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
222 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 191 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2012

We were lucky enough to return to Helga's Folly on our recent tour of the island. It is just as we remember, still magical and totally different!
When we think of Sri Lanka the first thing we think of is always the Folly!

It was our 5yr old daughters introduction to Sri Lanka and she was encaptured by Helga's Folly. She loved the Lonely Goat Herd fresco's on the bedroom wall next to her mosquito net covered bed. She also loved the magical swimming pool and was facinated watching the cheeky monkeys in the grounds.

We spent hours re-discovering the curio's of the nooks and crannies together with celebrity hunting in the guestbooks (as well as finding my previous entry)

Dinner was taken by a mass of candlelight and we especially enjoyed our pre-dinner mulled wine-expertly spiced and totally unique (would love that recipe!)
Breakfast was a colourful display of fresh fruits and home baked bread rolls.

The team at Helga's looked after us well. We checked out after breakfast, left our baggage at the Folly to collect before taking the 1st class Colombo train in the afternoon. On our return we took tea we were delighted to be offered our original room in order that we could freshen up before we departed. This was so appreciated, especially with a 5yr old -such a considerate touch!

Now for the important bit...
The 'anti-hotel' as it's refered to is not for everyone you either 'get-it' or you don't!
An idea of what to expect is totally transparent at Helgasfolly.com and it is made clear that you must read the 'are you aware' candid clarification/guest expectation page before making reservations.
We are so pleased that we do 'get-it' as we view our visits as an experience and not so much as a nights accomodation. (we still however don't get-it enough yet to stay more than a couple of days)

So if you fancy unique, aged warn about the edges, eccentric, explosive colour and stepping out of reality you might be lucky enough to 'get-it' too!

Love it or hate it you will never forget it!

Hope our photo's help too

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank fordwater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Helga's Folly

Property: Helga's Folly
Address: 70 Rajaphilla Mawatha, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Kandy District > Kandy
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Kandy
#8 Family Hotel in Kandy
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Helga's Folly 2.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
HF is just a Sri Lankan’s home with some history and color, backed by jungle, and if expecting a regular hotel experience, best go elsewhere.... quite a different concept to a normal hotel. Please be assured that you should be interested in our hospitality, we will be delighted to assist you..Thank You ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Helga`s Folly Hotel Kandy
Helgas Folly Kandy
Helgas Folly Hotel Kandy

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