We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The Anti Hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Helga's Folly

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Save
You added Helga's Folly to your Saves list
Helga's Folly
70 Rajaphilla Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 52 Hotels in Kandy
Certificate of Excellence 2014
London, United Kingdom
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“The Anti Hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2010

Helga calls it ‘Anti Hotel’... Wondering around this cavernous, WOW factor abode, packed with antiques, sunbursts of vivid colour and cloudbursts of drenching silver in a bustle of murals and painted ceilings, all jostling together with family portraits, photographs of celebrities together with the family, hanging on the walls, I soon forgot the rage in which I arrived, having been driven around Kandy, stopping at different hotels, supposedly ‘trying’ to find this well famed hotel .

Suggest: All who intend coming to the island to arrange their hires before arriving, making sure the driver knows ‘Helga’s Folly’, and also refrains from giving his opinion of the place!! A firm “That is where I WANT to go”, will hopefully put paid to “Very expenseeeve, nice 5 star hotel here....”etc etc..” I do not care, this is where I want to go, not interested in TV’s in room etc..” said I!

Hiring transport from the airport: The vehicle broke down half way to Kandy! Almost an hour’s wait by the side of the road, coconut drink given to quench my thirst and nerves, was kind, but I was in no mood by then, having been in the air for 14 hours!

I was put into another vehicle..

Whilst wondering around, I met Helga, what a presence, walking a Dalmatian, “Are you alright? Is your room sorted? Clean? Are you happy with it?” I told her of my nightmare adventures..Helga looked sad:

“COME, I have some friends, and guests all having coffees and teas, join us, we will sort all out later, now, you need reviving, and perhaps you might like to doodle your experience on the wall!” Said Helga, with an impish smile.

Helga in COMMAND, I automatically, obediently, trotted beside Samira, the Dalmatian behind her.

Lovely, charming people, and the most divinely, delicious iced coffee awaited me, the iced teas looking equally refreshing, but strong iced coffee with homemade vanilla ice cream, did I taste Tequila, GOT me!! I was in heaven, munching on homemade ginger biscuits, talking to these lovely people, sympathetic, with a few knowing nods, my saga, the nightmare hours spent on the road, was so surreal, was this for real, or another of Helga’s fantasy murals on the wall that I had entered..’Alice through the looking glass’. Not being the gallous sort, I found myself sharing more than I would have done, but this place makes you open up..

HF is so full of stories, past, present and no doubt more to come.

There is nothing more that I can add, that has not been written, apart to say, that hotels, which did not take package tours, were empty, and obviously struggling.

Being full is not an option, as this is Helga, her husbands, as well as some old time family retainers home in the hills, not forgetting the Dalmatian. “You do not like our dog, we will find you somewhere else” I heard someone say to a guest who happened to be allergic.

This wonderful Folly family, does not run their home in the hills in a commercial way. A true country house atmosphere, and who cares that a cockroach flies in, or a spider weaves its intricate web, now hold on, that is paint, merging what is real and not, HF is so much more, and should be preserved for those who want to understand, and enjoy what she offers, as appose to comparing the house to other places, there is nowhere, anywhere, like this gem.

More expensive than most perhaps, but then the others are just hotels. This place has a wonderful soulike quality, which I have never found anywhere, not even in my home in the west.

Here is where I will come back to write and paint, once I wind up my ‘rat race’ work in the west..All things are possible here one feels. Life is short.

I met a writer, who had come 4 months ago, for 2 weeks and just stayed on, renewing his visa! “Long stays get a very special deal he told me,“ What can you afford” type thing!!

“ We feel very blessed and honoured when people get inspired here” Says Helga .

Reading through the vast 2-3 ft visitors books, Inspiration must come to all, as I read poems, songs, and see incredible art work that fills the pages of the books!!

The Folly family enjoy and appreciate the quiet, empty days, although one can stay here, and not meet the other guests, in other wings of the house, unless feeling sociable.

Some descend into the Yellow Drawing Room, for cocktails in the evening.

“ Long may the world enjoy drinking tea” says Helga, raising a cup, and whose husband Desmond, owns one of the oldest tea estates in old Ceylon.

Now back at work in grey, cold, drizzly London, that wonderful warm glow of ‘THAT’ welcome I got on arrival at Helga Folly, is kept alight by my SKYPE chats with Helga, when the ‘grey’ gets to me! Long may you carry on weaving your own magic Helga’s Folly...Stay as innocent, warm and” Sweet as you are”, away from ‘those’ elements of the 20th century.

“ Unforgettable”. Nat King Cole sings as I leave...I think of Sri Lanka as Helga’s Folly...

Stayed September 2010, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

304 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    174
    71
    16
    19
    24
See reviews for
37
123
36
4
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Buderim, Australia
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2010

Every aspect of a stay at Helga's Folly in Kandy is a wonderful and unique experience!
This Hotel is a Work of Art and Love, a Creative expression of its owner, Helga De Silva Blow Perera. Eclectic, amazing, inspiring, cultured, colourful, comfortable....truly unique!
The service is wonderful. The meals delicious and organic. Serenity in abundance.
The location convenient on the hilltop above Kandy town, with easy access to all Kandy has to offer. Each room has a different decor, its own ambience. The entire experience, in the midst of an Asian cultural setting, somewhat surreal. One finds oneself in a setting reminiscent of a Somerset Maugham novel An experience not to be missed!! Eyes wide open throughout. My gratitude to you Helga for your insight, creativity and the courage of your convictions, resulting in Helga's Folly!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 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, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorset
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 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, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 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, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wiltshire, UK
2 reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 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, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
158 reviews 158 reviews
67 hotel reviews
Reviews in 94 cities Reviews in 94 cities
151 helpful votes 151 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 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, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Helga's Folly? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Helga's Folly

Address: 70 Rajaphilla Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Location: Sri Lanka > Central Province > Kandy
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Kandy
#9 Family Hotel in Kandy
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 40
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com so you can book your Helga's Folly reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Helga`s Folly Hotel Kandy
Helgas Folly Kandy
Helgas Folly Hotel Kandy

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Helga's Folly, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.