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“A Unique Kandy Experience”
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #20 of 57 Hotels in Kandy
Reviewed 10 August 2014

My wife and I stayed at Helga's Folly on our recent trip to see the Esala Perahera in Kandy. The Folly is not simply a place to stay while in Kandy; it is a full-fledged attraction in its own right. Most of the walls are murals, and each room is lavishly decorated according to Helga's unique artistic taste. The overall effect is probably a little overwhelming for some visitors, but I found the experience fascinating. A visitor can easily spend an afternoon wandering from room to room studying the paintings and old photographs that line the walls. Just to the side of the front desk is the Jane Vance grotto, a room featuring several large canvasses by an American painter whose work is very influenced by Sri Lankan Buddhist art. On the other side of the front desk is a comfortable lobby and bar where I spent a very pleasant evening relaxing.

We found the Folly's staff to be extremely polite and helpful and enjoyed wonderful meals during our stay. I noticed that some previous reviewers had complained about wait times for meals; apparently food at the Folly is cooked to order and certainly well worth the wait while it is being prepared. Overall we found the Folly to be one of the best parts of our stay in Kandy and highly recommend it to other travelers.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2014

Thank you so much sir for taking the time and trouble to write your lovely review, which is much appreciated by all the folly family, as HF is home to not only madam Helga and her husband but to many of us who have been with the family for decades.
Not an easy house to understand for some..We are so glad that you did.
Look forward to having you back, where a warm welcome awaits.
All the very best from us all, and thank you again.

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272 - 278 of 560 reviews

Reviewed 6 August 2014 via mobile

I have no doubt that once upon a time, maybe in the early 1960s, this was a cool place to hang out. It is no longer.

Truly awful in every possible way. The only folly here is agreeing to pay the insanely overpriced rates.

When you first walk in you initially think the place might be ok and maybe it is all a whimsical fantasy land ...by the time you get to your room though - it dawns on you how awful this place is.

Everything in here STINKS of moth balls and/or those little bleach balls they put in men's toilets to keep them clean. It's hard not to cough the smell is so overpowering!

Then there is dust on everything. The couches and the beds smell old and damp and you feel dirty just lying on them.

Then there is the food which to be honest tastes reasonable until you realise you could eat a cheaper (and just as good or better) curry in New York/Tokyo/London...

The decorations are not whimsical - there just confused and terrible looking. We like the boho vibe or the hippie aesthetic normally but this place achieves neither. It just looks like a terrible mess.

The whole place is a disaster. Whoever Helga is, she should come and invest some of the money she's making into renovating the place. It could be amazing but it isn't, it's awful.

We ended up having to wash the mosquito net from our bed in the shower to remove what must have been decades of grime - yuk yuk yuk!

Stayed: August 2014
8  Thank TravellingCoupleX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2014

Dear Sir.
Very sorry, but you were both here for two days.
It is a pity as you found 'our' home which it is to not only madam Helga and her husband but also to many of us here, who have been with the family for decades, so unsavoury, and that you stayed at all.
You had not paid in advance, and Helgas Folly never keeps guests who are unhappy.
I did ask you if you wish to speak to madam Helga at check out, but you did say that you did not wish to speak to anybody.
Kandy was fairly empty when you came, and you could have easily found a place more to your liking.
Very sad that you should have left unhappy.
Our website clearly states that HF is a Sri Lankan home and not a boutique or starred emporium, and if looking for a regular hotel experience, best look elsewhere...
Helgas Folly is a love or hate place, and we are sad that you fell into the latter.
Hope you enjoyed our beautiful country.

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Reviewed 24 July 2014

This place is like nothing I've seen before. You could spend hours here going from room to room looking at the quirky art pieces and old photographs on the walls. An enjoyable evening was spent at Helga's starting with a delicious Arak cocktail followed by a spectacular three course around an elaborate table setting. A once in a lifetime experience I was lucky to share with good friends.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
3  Thank Emma B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014

We went for dinner and had a fabulous evening - we were very sad to leave. I'd love to see it during the day and will definitely visit if I'm ever in Kandy again. You're not going to get an experience like this anywhere else in the world. It's like walking into a chapter of Alice in Wonderland except with really good Sri Lankan food. The thai fish soup was the best I've had, toasted coconut left me speechless and the chilli chocolate desert was my idea of heaven. Can't wait to come back and stay properly. Unfortunately I didn't get to test out the bar properly (stuck to beer as we were in a group on a budget), but if they have good wine and know ow to make a good cocktail, I would find it hard to leave.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Service
3  Thank Janine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this reviewResponded 1 September 2014

Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to write your lovely review, which is very much appreciated.

So glad that you were able to understand our home, which it is to many of us who have been with the family for decades. Makes carrying on worthwhile.

Thank you again, and look forward to having you back.
A warm welcome awaits.
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
Reviewed 3 July 2014

Having stayed at or dined at Helga's Folly across 14 years I can attest to their attention to detail, both in the rooms and in the food. There is no where else like this in Sri Lanka, perhaps the World, and they pitch themselves in a category of their own. The food is of gourmet quality and arguably the best in Kandy. The rooms are extravagantly furnished. The environment is densely packed with Helga's unique, creative flair which is loved by many but could be overwhelming for a few.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank russell604
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2014

After coming down to the city from Club Lespri our son persuaded us to visit '' a very odd place' in Kandy. Odd it turned out but an exceptional experience which is unforgettable. Most of the hotels at the end of it gets erased from our memory but not this. It's a jumble of a chinese temple, a museum & very crowded living rooms. There must be some method to that 'madness' but I couldn't find a clue why all these were put together.
If time permits you can spend hours there enjoying the display.It is mysterious but so attractive& I'm sure there are no other similar 'follies 'in the world. I've shown the photos to so many of our friends & encouraged to visit this place

Since we went there only for a cup of tea we couldn't experience the rest of the place.If I go again I would like to have a crowd with me.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank kalyani_guruge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Put away those preconceptions about what your hotel should be; this is an experience. Kandy has all sorts of accommodations where you can rest your body but Helga's Folly is where you go to feed your soul. I spent one night there ( probably in the same room where Sir Laurence Olivier slept, but maybe not ) and I was attended to by the wonderful staff who are unobtrusive yet completely at one's service. I did a self tour of the rooms that were unoccupied and marveled at the fanciful decor of each one. Those lucky enough to live here find surprising new additions that they'd not seen before. I made my small contribution in the guest book but I secretly yearn for a room to let loose my creative expression upon. How do I describe Helga's Folly:" it's like Burning Man with monkeys", or should I say "travel back in time when not every corner of the globe had tv monitors blaring 24 hour news coverage." The anti-hotel is a gem, an oasis, an otherwise subversive cultural stronghold in the most conventional of places.

  • Stayed: May 2014
    • Value
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3  Thank Emily L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Blythspirit77, Manager at Helga's Folly, responded to this reviewResponded 3 September 2014

Thank you sir for taking the time and trouble to write your lovely review. You are truly one of the Folly family, coming here over 14 years. Very much appreciated.. All the very best and look forward to seeing back again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
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
Price Range: £63 - £93 (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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