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“A very special place !”
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #25 of 56 Hotels in Kandy
Reviewed 24 February 2013

We knew Helga's Folly from a book about Sri Lanka and we were very curious to see this special hotel. During our trip we stopped in Kandy and had the possibility to have lunch in Helga's Folly.
It was great to discover this place, totally different than we are used to see here in Sri Lanka. You can watch for hours the interior with such a melting pot of different items. Places like Helga's Folly you normally find in SOHO - New York or in Amsterdam... but with the Sri Lankan art and atmosphere you feel the vibrations of this nice country.
About the food .... our lunch was delicious and the presentation very original. The staff was so kind and even gave us a visit of the building, rooms and garden with swimming pool and a nice view of Kandy. If you want to stay outside the busy city of Kandy in a totally different place .... go for the Helga's Folly experience !

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank rafharold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 February 2013

We visited Helga's Folly after opting not to stay given its mixed reviews and were happy for doing so.
The hotel/ house itself is charming and beautifully decorated, echoing with the grandeur with what it once was. We had fun walking through, taking pictures and exploring the hotel. It truly is charming, beautiful and quite worth the visit. But that's where it ends.
The service was atrocious. We waited ages for a huffy waiter who gave us our overpriced drinks after another wait and then promptly disappeared. The desk was unmanned and when someone finally arrived we asked if he could please call us a taxi back to our hotel. He promptly started calling up tuk tuks and told us he did not have the number of any taxi cab companies or Derana cabs as I had requested. In the end he told us the tuk tuks were reluctant to come over in the rain. It was only 9pm at the time. We ended up having to walk back to the main road in the pitch dark and got lost numerous times. It was also pouring cats and dogs. How does a hotel or any establishment not have phone numbers of taxi companies?
While we were there the roof kept leaking and mirror sprang off its hinges.
Given its charm and history I would stay here if I had an excess amount of cash to spare(it's expensive!) wanted solitude and wasn't as concerned for cleanliness or picky on service.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Jebediah_Solomon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2013

Going to and staying at Helga's Folly is magic!!
The food is terrific, rice served in banana leaves, best coconut soup we ever had, homemade icecream and pudding cake... sooo great!
we loved our room! all the wall-paintings, every room is unique, and if you have the chance you can pick your favourite one!
the pool is surrounded by a beautiful garden, just dip into the magic of the place! it is really worth to stay there over night! just staying there for dinner is already so great but staying and living there for a day or more is mind-blowing!!
and serious, if you have the chance to meet helga - she is one of the nicest, greatest, loving persons we ever met!
and if you want to know something about kandy from. the 1920's on it is the place where you have to go. The grandmother of Helga, agnes nell, was a leading figure in the suffragette movement, her grandfather, george e. de silva, had an importnat part in the struggles for independence, her aunt, minnette de silva, was one of the first women in asia who got trained as an architect.... and so on and on...
allow the place to enter your life and you'll have a really magical expierence for sure!

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank himo2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2013

We'd heard a lot about Helga's Folly and were early anticipating our stay. It certainly did not disappoint. The decor is even crazier than everybody says, and really comes to life by candle light so it would be worth at least dining there in the evening if not staying the night.
Apparently there was a landslide the day before we arrived but we would never have been able to tell as everything inside and out was in its place. The place is spotless and the staff competent and friendly.
We were actually there in a big group to celebrate a friend's birthday and had a brilliant time frolicking around the charismatic corridors and lounging in the parlour, which had some fascinating photographs. We were honoured with Helga's presence in the evening, which completed the elegant and excentric ambiance. Food was great, cake was even better!
Would definitely recommend, especially for a big bash!

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Ally F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2013

Read mixed reviews about HF, but what everyone had to say intrigued us enough to want to come by for dinner and drinks on a Sunday night. The house is gorgeous, imaginative, crazy, whimsical, awesomely over the top -- like stepping into a naif canvas dotted with some very seriously heavy antiques. Most of our time was spent gawking at murals, framed photos, paintings, lamps, deer antlers, & other curios hanging on the walls. Yet, you never forget that it is a REAL house, and not a museum. Which means, you don't have to be reverently quiet and stuffy -- it's cozy enough for you to plop down anywhere and have a good laugh.

Dining at the house was a bit surreal. The food was superb, and the plating even more so! Loved how even subtle details in the choice of plates, cutlery, table setting, even the demeanor of the servers make a difference in how you enjoy your meal. The water served in silver goblets coupled with Miss Havisham-esque candelabras made for some very silly photo ops! We were the only ones there for the evening, and so the staff kindly humored us into serving the different courses in different parts of the house. Aperitifs and samosas in the drawing room, soup & main course in the dining area, tea and dessert on the lounger.

We were even lucky enough to meet Madame Helga briefly, even without reading about her life & family, the way she has put together her house can tell you more about her very intriguing personality and her way of entertaining. Though we didn't stay the night, we would definitely come back for dinner the next time we find ourselves in Kandy again!

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank CelineSE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2013

We nearly didn’t come to this marvellous place and I am so glad we did - we came for dinner and our experience was truly magical.
Entering HF, we were welcomed into the most uniquely creative, history-full family home, covered in naïf wall and ceiling art, wonderful paintings/sculptures, dripping candelabras, pewter goblets, tons of momentoes, family photos and press clippings which paper the walls. There are also enormous tablet sized books full of comments, laughing anecdotes and scribbles from previous guests.
We were 1 of 3 couples dining that evening and we each had our own private lounge area where we enjoyed a cocktail and appetiser and soaked up the wonderful atmosphere. The lighting is intimate and the music [Edith Piaf and other legends] evokes more impressions of happy times and eras gone by. We were then invited to dine in our own beautiful room upstairs with lovely antique tableware and more dripping candles. We had a truly delicious dinner although I understood the other 2 couples were less excited about what they had ordered [vegetarian biryani I think?] so maybe we were lucky in our dinner choice as it was lovely. We had a beautiful soup with homemade bread, followed by a very generous perfectly cooked chilli spiced tuna steak with rice and aubergine salad. Dessert was a lovely chocolate cake.
Helga had been unwell that evening but had made the effort to email us the next day to check we had enjoyed our meal and to apologise for not being able to say hello which was v thoughtful and summed up for us the essence of the Folly, which is that it is so magically personal.
When travelling around SL we wanted to experience SL as authentically as possible and thought that choosing to dine in the glamour of HF might be cheating a little bit …[?!] Having visited we now realize that was naïve as HF’s long and beautiful story [hung, draped, painted, etched on every wall and ceiling!] is every bit as authentic as our other adventures in SL.
Passing an evening at HF was a step into a very special time and place in SL and it is off the scale in atmosphere and heart. Thank you for a truly lovely, transporting evening, we’re still reeling from having visited!

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank SJFF123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2013

There must always be certain places that catch the imagination in a
very certain way. If this opportunity were not there, the world of
travel and discovery would be a far less exciting place.
Helga's Folly is just such a place.

Visitors to Helga's Folly will not need to know that the essence of
the place is Helga herself. It is to be found . In the
photographs on the walls, in the reflection of the silver-slivered
mosaics of the bedrooms, in the voices of Andrea Botelli, Frank
Sinatra and Aretha Franklin that float across the distance of years,
through a series of cavernous, cool reception rooms and distant
The house is imbued with a lingering concentrate of the woman who
brought the idea into being in the first place. A little time worn, a
little faded by the years, withdrawing more from the acquisitive probe
of the sun into the shadows of its' theatre-land setting, the Folly
carries - along with the allure of moth-blown velvet and dust-settled damask -
the elegance and wit of a bright and engaging mind, a generous spirit of glamour;
it is this that the guest will remember.

Some people are fortunate in stumbling upon the adventure they
recognise from the outset; others suffer the misfortune in arriving
somewhere for the right reasons, but in very much the wrong frame of
mind. These are the people who will not see a place for that very
particular magic it possesses. They, sadly, leave empty-handed and in
no way enriched by the experience.

This visitor is fortunate in thinking that a certain kind of magic has
worked in bringing him to the door of Helga's Folly.
Where would the magic be found without the memories to carry it away?

Stayed: December 2012, travelled with friends
10  Thank FrancisFry
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

Address: 70 Rajaphilla Mawatha, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Kandy District > Kandy
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: £65 - £109 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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