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“Nursed back to health by lovely hosts in a fab kitsch spot”
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #21 of 58 Hotels in Kandy
Reviewed 23 July 2010

We arrive here by train from Colombo (highly recommend) and met by driver +1 don't ask! This was my treat for our tour of Sri Lanka I really wanted to stay here as I thought it looked so cool in the pics and I love a bit of decadence! It was cool and decadent and kitsch and exactly how I would have a hotel if I had a hotel brilliantly random!

We had a great dinner we were the only guests so treated royally and a had a cool room with four poster and butterflys. Then it went wrong through not fault of Helga's we were both really ill (we had eaten earlier in the day at a Colombo street cafe by the station - stupidly). We couldn't eat anything or do anything the next day but they really tried bringing us chicken soup and toast and changed the sheets numerous times thank God we were here. It was a shame our time here was spent being ill but its a great place to be ill!

We were conned by our drivers but at least Helga didn't add to that as she didn't charge for them (I know can you believe it we had two they could see us coming!) and they had a room each and got fed (all the lovely food under normal circumstances we would have been enjoying).

When we felt a little better we went to the botanical gardens they made us sandwiches and Helga insisted I had one of her hats, you feel more like house guests than anything! We were still feeling so rubbish that it was a bit like 'lets get the temple over with' type of visit but I would love to go back, if all we did was go back to Helga's folly and be really decadant like we had planned instead of sickly tourists!

I loved the decor loved loved loved it! So boudoir, so kitsch, glastonbury, moulin rouge...

Thank you for looking after us Helga one day I will come back and lap it all up properly!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank tattywalton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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468 - 474 of 573 reviews

Reviewed 8 June 2010

A truly magical experience at a unique place full of fanciful art, interesting antiques and historical interest. Helga is a marvelous hostess: elegant, artistic and warm. The staff are friendly and helpful and the garden is full of interesting flora and fauna.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank PMEB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2010

A holiday to top all....Magical, amazing, transporting, delicious food, warm, friendly and genuinely concerned family and staff.
Do not be put off if on a budget by rates appearing on Helga’s Folly website... I'd promised my son, should he do well in his exams his treat would be to visit ‘Helga’s Folly’, where his favourite band ‘The Stereophonics’ had stayed and been inspired to write the chart topping single ‘Madam Helga’... Being recently divorced, going through much mental pain and being on a budget, reading some negative complaints, I was concerned about fulfilling this promise, but when my son won a scholarship I had to live up to my part!! I wrote to Helga’s office explaining my problems and giving them my total budget. 24 hours later I got a very kind and concerned note from Helga to say that they would organize our trip, including meeting some school boys of my sons age as was requested so that they could interact.
Relieved but not quite knowing what to expect in all of this ‘whirlwind’, we left our trip in the hands of Helga and her what turned out to be very able travel desk.

Peter made friends who he is corresponding with...Armed with ‘Jungle Tales’ of Ceylon, which Helga kindly gave him as a read on the plane back home, or should I say our Sri Lankan home!!
Above all . although we had originally booked to stay 2 nights at the Folly, it ended with a magical 6, with all the activities arranged..We just did not want to leave..
I just relaxed, sipping iced cocktails, and read [a rare treat] by their heavenly swimming pool which is surrounded by primeval jungle and as the brochure says ‘guarded by fairies’!! Lovely, herbal, massages by the efavessant Sriani who came to the hotel when required..A couple of yoga exercises by the swimming pool, surrounded by all the energy of the jungle...I was totally revived and ready for another day, the wimp dead for good..Crossed my mind that had I come here before those final horrendous days in court I would propably be in another position!!! Ah yes, one of the highlights, watching and having snacks and drinks in their gorgeous cinema room, sitting alone with Peter on old tea planters chairs watching old movies, reminiscing...
THANK YOU ALL ...Long live this idyllic magical place..OH yes, a cockroach did fly in through the open window..These creatures FLY, and although all the bedrooms are air-conditioned the doors opening onto the private balconies that all bedrooms have are not sealed, so that one can sit out and have whatever is fancied at the moment.
Long Live ‘Madame Helga’. Her charming tea planter husband Desmond, their shadow Samira the lovable Dalmatian and all at this amazing time capsule sanctuary..Most of the staff have been with the family for over 27 years.Wickremapala 41!! Home full of exciting stories and larger than life family and guests, chronicled on the walls and ancient visitors books. So much to see and read on these walls...Pictures chronicling SL Independence which Helga’s grandfather helped secure..Mahatma Gandhi on a visit..Nehru, Idira Ghandi, Lord Mountbatten together with Helga’s parents, having a quiet cup of tea, ..Vivian Leigh..Helga’s aunt Minnete De Silva, the first Asian woman architect, dancing in the drawing room with Sir Laurence Olivier.. .Planning next trip now affordable, with new partner, and new adventures!! Thank you for giving me my life back! You need to spend time here to completely unwind, and you will..Books, birds, elephants, flora and fauna...Unbelievable!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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4  Thank Ola_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2010

For those seeking a rewarding and genuine - rather than conventional - travel experience, an explosion of stylish and eccentric creativity awaits them at Helga's Folly! Enchantingly perched high above Kandy's lake - surrounded by Jungle - this atmospheric old family home of a well respected political dynasty - packed with memorabillia - has hosted many celebrities over the years.
During my extended 3 month stay, I found the Folly to be an oasis of peace and tranquility "far from the madding crowd". Special features were the powerful , creative energy of "raw-nature" at the Jungle swimming pool and relaxation in the private cinema.
Ayurvedic massage plus yoga and meditation are also available nearby.
The cuisine was excellent and service both friendly and efficient.
Helga encourages "longstays" with generous discounts and artists and writers are especially welcome.
In my opinion, this hotel is not for "package tour mentality nitpickers", who are usually uncomfortable when faced with alien cultures and standards and "real" travel experiences!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled solo
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3  Thank SPFworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2010

Can honestly say that my stay at Helga's was the highlight of my visit to Kandy. Otherwise we all found Kandy to be very touristic-didnt really enjoy.

Helga's is totally excentric and a real one off! It is an experience in itself! Don't expect your run of the mill hotel.

Staff were all helpfull.

Guestbook includes many celebs.

Can't wait to return-Wonderfull!

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank fordwater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2009

From the moment I arrived and was invited to pick my bedroom , staying at
the Folly was like having all the excitement of being a seven year old diva
again. After being shown five or six rooms, all harlequin-coloured but quite
different in feel, I chose an elegant room with a garden terrace and
with yellow walls covered in jungle stripes, mirrory mosaic and drawings
that reminded me of early Picasso. Mahatma Gandhi and Vivien Leigh stayed
there in the past and it proved a wonderfully inspiring place in which to
write. The private cinema was directly opposite my room and raiding Helga's
cabinet of DVDs for Hollywood classics to watch with a nightcap before bed
felt like an illicit treat! The swimming pool is also a delightful
spot, with its mythological statue and its imposing backdrop of jungle vines
and trees that must be over a hundred feet high. Leopards come to drink at
night I'm told, but I didn't hang around to find out.

The genius of the place is the lady who inspired the Stereophonics to write
their hit 'Madam Helga' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH2SBbJezIY) .
Although her bohemian but impeccable chic and her deep English voice
seemed a little formidable at first, I've never met a warmer or a more
generous hostess. Listening to her stories of her childhood in the jungle
and of high jinks in the English countryside over cocktails in the sultry
drawing room was a heady experience.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with friends
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4  Thank SophieKLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2009

I enjoyed my second stay at the Folly all the more for being warmly welcomed back by Helga, her husband Desmond and the staff as part of the family. I was invited along with other guests to join in for Helga’s glamorous candlelit birthday dinner where we sampled a memorable baked crab dish and the yummiest Christmas pudding I think I’ve ever tasted (a Helga birthday tradition!). The local Kandy crowd were all exotically attired and included many a jaunty raconteur. Helga was enormously kind in arranging for me to accompany local doctors on 'health camp' expeditions into the jungle and I also made a trip down to Agars Land: Desmond’s tea estate on the slopes of Adam's Peak, which is one of the oldest in the country. I loved my stay in their cottage on the estate, which is exquisitely furnished with daybeds and with glowing red and orange hangings depicting Sri Lankan warriors. The drive down and the surrounding landscape were spectacular. While there are lots of worthwhile daytrips on the tourist circuit which can be made from the Folly - the cave temples at Dambulla, the rock fortress at Sigiriya, game parks, venerable hill clubs and elephant orphanages are all within several hours’ drive - I do recommend blanking out a few days on your travel itinerary in readiness for unique adventures.

  • Stayed: August 2009
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4  Thank 1000melanie1000
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
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: £62 - £92 (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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