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“Oh dear Helga, sorry but no” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #26 of 58 Hotels in Kandy
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
2 reviews
“Oh dear Helga, sorry but no”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 October 2013

We went for dinner only with great expectations
The place was quirky to say the least, but that was expected
We four were the only ones dining that evening
We dined on the deck with great views high above Kandy in the evening
We were shown around which was good
Staff were attentive as was the new manager
It seemed to be magical at first sighting
The limited music looped around regularly
The rooms smelt musty and very old fashioned
The food was limited and ordinary at best
Cleanliness was not a priority it seemed, cobwebs being the order of the day
Maintenance a priority need
Many negative TA comments seemed to be right unfortunately
Helga phoned in to see how we're we're going ...
So no recommendation from this reviewer

Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Ivor D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Public Relations Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this review, 3 November 2013
Dear Mr Ivor.
We are sorry that Helga's Folly, home to many of us, some working here for many, many, many decades was not enjoyed by you.
Happy that you enjoyed dining on the balcony overlooking the Kandy lake with its twinkling lights.
Sorry Jamie Oliver's chocolate chillie pots was not to your liking.
The heavy rains experienced in the hills with many landslides, and all the horrors that go with it, an experience which you would never experience in Anuradapura, the dry zone, where I see you live, has given a few unused bedrooms rooms a musty smell I do agree.
Sad that you had not looked into our website: helgasfolly.com, before coming, which makes a point of saying the the house is not a boutique or starred emporium and that if expecting a regular experience best not come!
Helgas Folly is primarily a Sri Lankans home with some Sri Lankan history.
The original house was built in the 30's by Madam Helga's mother as a family home, with much family memorabilia. Myriads of photographs of movie stars and poloticans connected to SL gaining Independence which Madam Helgas grandfather, grandmother and father were heavily involved with. Grandfather served in the first cabinet after Independence, all adding to make it as you say "old fashioned".
Although madam Helga, sadly has not been too well of late, she always tries to talk to guests if she is unable to be around by telephone.
At night when sometimes taxis are hard to find sends guests back to their places of abode by the hotel car, as she does get concerned about guests walking back in the dark especially female guests..
We at Helga's Folly are sad you left unhappy.
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485 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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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)
Date | Rating
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 October 2013 via mobile

Our driver warned us that there was no point to see this place as we'd be disappointed. He advised that he'd stayed there and hated it as most drivers apparently do. He stated that his clients didn't enjoy their time there either. We went for a look only and maybe a drink. The driveway almost killed our car. The artwork is just awful, not even the awful that you can laugh at! We were asked for USD$3 each just to look around! We laughed and left, this place isn't worth it. So stupid, we would have spent more having a drink and/or buying some kitch merchandize if available....no business sense! Avoid!!!

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank AmyB1978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Public Relations Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this review, 7 November 2013
Sorry that you found 'our home' which it is to many of us here not to your liking.
Helgas Folly is a Sri Lankans home with much of the islands history. Madam Helgas grandfather, grandmother and father were heavily involved with the islands gaining Independence
The house is crammed with many styles.
Sad that you did not check out our website helgasfolly.com which would have given you an idea what the house is about.
Website clearly says HF is not a boutique or starred emporium, just a Sri Lankans home and if expecting a regular hotel experience best not come.
Realize that one cannot press all buttons, but for some of us whose home it has been for many, many, many decades, one of us 48 years, we are somewhat biased.
HF is a love or hate place, and we are sad that you fell in the latter catagory, wasted your valuable time and left unhappy, very sad. Best wishes.
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Devon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 October 2013

It is really impossible to 'rate' this hotel on any scale, as everything about it is unique, but, since a rating is required, it is certainly a full FIVE! However, this does nothing to describe the whole experience of Helga's Folly. A Folly? No! More an inspiration of artistic, fantastic, colourful and nostalgic imagination. this is a place to enchant, to lose yourself, to escape from the humdrum and the ordinary and to immerse yourself in the life and times not only of Helga and her illustrious family, but of the whole age of glamour, sophistication and sensuality of the 30s. It is also a place to learn about the history of Sri Lanka in the world, and the part that Helga's family have played in it. It is both a living museum and a very real home, where the spirits of the owners and all those who have come through the doors, are ever present.
We were able to spend only one night at Helga's Folly, though, if we hadn't had to keep to a timetable, I should still be there now! On the night in question, we were the only guests and sadly, Helga and her husband were not in residence, but we were splendidly looked after by the wonderful staff and welcomed like house guests, rather then paying guests of a hotel. This feeling continued throughout our short stay. We were able to look at more than one room, as all are quite different in décor, and choose which one we preferred. The decoration has been well described by others, but suffice it to say that you could spend an hour just absorbing the details of each and every room. Magnifique!
We also had dinner at the hotel and, once again, it was tailored to suit us. We made use of as many parts of the building as was possible in the time! Drinks in two different locations, dinner in another etc. so that we could enjoy the different ambience and feeling behind each one. I was in heaven, but I shouldn't forget to tell you that the dinner itself was excellent, brought, as it was, to our enormous table, full of the signature candles, coated in an armour of wax drippings. The special chocolate dessert was as imaginative as everything else, but I won't tell you what was in it!
I see reviews from guests who have not enjoyed the Helga's Folly experience and I am quite sure that there are some, because this is not everyone's cup of tea. If you are the sort of person who is not comfortable with the unfamiliar, or you are a minimalist through and through, or you care deeply about sharing your space with a few specks of dust, then this wonderful treasure trove of extraordinariness will not please you, BUT, if you want the most unique hotel experience you're ever likely to encounter, then this is it! I wouldn't have missed it for the world!
Thank you, Helga and all the Team. I do hope we'll be back!
Oh.... and I forgot to mention the early morning swim...... etc. ....... etc. !

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank SusieQR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Public Relations Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this review, 3 November 2013
Dear Miss Susie.
Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to write to Tripadvisor.
We are all delighted that you were able to understand her and was happy here.
Look forward to having you stay again.
A big welcome awaits.
thank you again.
All at Helga's Folly
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nelson, New Zealand
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 October 2013

Words can not describe the wonderful experience of spending four nights at Helga's Folly. From the moment I walked through the door of the amazing home and anti hotel that Helga has created, I was enthralled. Every room is a visual feast and so full of family history, that I spent the whole stay finding new corners to lose myself in. The Jane Lillian Vance Grotto is quite incredible and a must see. Great local cuisine for breakfast and dinner taken either on the balcony overlooking Kandy or a dining area that takes your fancy. Attentive, friendly staff especially the lovely Lionel who drove us everywhere and looked after us so well. The essence of the house is Helga and we were so privileged to spend time with her. Wonderful memories. Highly recommend this for all you adventurous and inquisitive travellers. Great value for money

Room Tip: The Nutcracker Suite large and peaceful
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Pauline F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Guest Relations Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this review, 3 November 2013
Dear Miss Pauline.
Thank you so very much for taking the time and trouble to write to Tripadvisor, which is much appreciated.
So glad that you understood and enjoyed what she had to offer.
Look forward to your next visit.
A big welcome awaits!
Take care all the very best from us all.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Prague, Czech Republic
Level Contributor
87 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 September 2013

We only went for drinks, though I must say if I ever again make it to Kandy, I am staying here. We were given the tour of a totally empty hotel, and it was amazing. You cant really compare it with any other place, it just has this amazing spirit. Of course the price tag is wild, but they do offer to fit your budget, but if in Kandy, make sure to make it here atleast for a cocktail, that can fit any budget...

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Guest Relations Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this review, 3 November 2013
Dear Miss Jan.
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to Tripadvisor. Much appreciated.
Delighted that you enjoyed your visit to us.
All the very best.
Look forward to seeing you here again.
From all at the Folly
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynchburg, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 August 2013

Helga's Folly is not about being a hotel and restaurant, though it is that. It is also not about being a tribute to a remarkable woman and her life, though it is that too. Instead, I would say Helga's Folly is about being a lovely window into the most imaginative version of an era possible. You get to see a wonderful combination of whimsical imagination (in the paintings on walls and the decorations) and a historical era (with the Cole Porter music playing and the newspaper articles about Sri Lankan independence and Helga's extraordinary family, it feels very much like you are in an old but progressive English country home). This is a place not just to stay and eat at, but a place to soak in.

The staff is very kind and attentive, the rooms are beautiful, the food is great, and the new Jane Lillian Vance Grotto is a tribute to artistic accomplishment. Getting to meet and talk with Helga is also a huge plus. But most of all, perhaps, come here and sit down and wonder at the world Helga has created. Be inspired by the artistic and imaginative accomplishment of it all.

Well worth an extended visit.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Emerson S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Public Relations Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this review, 7 November 2013
Thank you so very much for taking your valuable time to write to Tripadvisor.
We are so very happy that you understood the house and were happy here.
Helgas Folly is home to many of us who have been here for many, many decades..Your review was much appreciated..Thank you again.All the very best and hope to see you here again. A big welcome awaits.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blacksburg, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2013

After staying at Helga's Folly in Kandy, any other hotel anywhere in the world would feel bland and boring. Every inch, and I mean EVERY inch including the ceiling, is a treat for your eyes with paintings of trees, flowers, sun-faces, curious cats and much more. The art on the walls isn't the only thing that sets Helga's Folly apart; the walls contain photos of Helga's family and old historic family photographs that document part of Sri Lankan history. Have a breakfast of fresh papaya with fresh lime juice and string hoppers while the monkeys watch to see if you will turn your back long enough for them to swipe something from your table. Have a cocktail in the living room that opens into a beautiful garden or take a dip in the secluded pool. You will be treated to the voices of Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Elvis as you dine on a deliciously prepared dinner of fresh food served by an attentive and friendly staff. Ask for the chili chocolate pot for dessert! And if you are fortunate you will talk with Helga, who is a most gracious host and a beautiful person, inside and out. This really is her home and it is an extension of her warm personality.... she sees to every detail. Don't miss it.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Reba H
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
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
#10 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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