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“An experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #23 of 53 Hotels in Kandy
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“An experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2012

You do not go to Helga's Folly if you are expecting a run of the mill 5* experience. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and the food but would agree that with previous reviews that the cleanliness and service is not their highest priority. It is a facinating place where you can read about the history of the house and Helga's family. We loved seeing the monkeys on our balcony and the little pool in the grounds.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank Rhian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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494 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
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Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2012

I was a bit wary after reading some prior reviews so didn't book a room but instead chose to have dinner one night. The food was fabulous, fresh, made to order - and the atmosphere was so fun and magical we immediately cancelled our booking at the other hotel (at a loss) and took a room at Helga's Folly instead. If you expect a standard, hotel chain experience then this isn't for you. If you want a unique, fun place oozing with history and quirky treasures, this is it. It's old Hollywood meets Tim Burton. Antique chandeliers, candelabras, silk pillows, walls wildly painted and covered with black and white photos of family and visitors, a gramophone, the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Edith Piaf playing gently..this is where Lawrence Olivier, Gregory Peck, and Vivian Leigh slept. We spent a lazy afternoon drinking cinnamon tea and eating cookies reading in one of the nooks of the house which had good wifi connection. Staff is friendly and attentive, and we also had the wonderful opportunity to meet the incredible Helga herself who is generously welcoming. The location is only a 10 minute ride up a windy hill from downtown Kandy but you'll be thankful for the peace and quiet from the bustling, dusty town below. Definitely the most unique place I've ever stayed at!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank Nomadgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Basel
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2012

Yes, the decoration (at least inside) is incredible but at 200 dollars a night I was not expecting the bath to be blocked with a plug of old hair and spiderwebs, the water which came out of the taps to be a strange grey/brown gungy color and the entire bathroom to be coated in an unpleasant grey grime. The breakfast plates and cutlery were also wet and grimy. I can imagine it was incredible staying here a few years ago but the place is sliding into decay and disrepair. The swimming pool is green. I would recommend that people pay the few dollars it costs to look round the place and stay somewhere more reasonably priced and cleaner. It felt more like a backpackers' hotel and should probably drop its prices accordingly.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jane W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
106 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank ritajeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
France
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
7 Thank Yank-in-France
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
77 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
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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
4 of 5 bubbles 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
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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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