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“A great place for a romantic dinner.”
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #22 of 54 Hotels in Kandy
jonnyf
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A great place for a romantic dinner.”
Reviewed August 13, 2012

Note that I can't comment on the quality of the hotel, other than to say we were there in low tourist season, and there were no visitors at the time. We did, however, enjoy an astonishing meal, in exceptional surroundings.

The service was impeccable, the food was reasonably priced, and the antiques and family history on the walls of this place made it a very worthwhile destination.

We had a call from Helga on the way out, with an apology that she felt very unwell, otherwise would have popped down and visited with us. For me though, the absolute highlight was to see the room that Mahatma Gandhi stayed in, when visiting in the late 1940s.

If you book for dinner, make sure you get there in daylight, or at least an hour or so before your dinner reservation, to spend some time walking around the grounds, and absorbing some of the artefacts on the walls.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank jonnyf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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506 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
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New Delhi
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2012

Sensory overload. Color, music, candlelight. Everything is over the top. Cole Porter on the gramophone. Knights in armor in the hall. Fairies dancing around the pool. Ceilings adorned with art and crystal pendants. Miro-esque murals on the walls. Dancing girls painted on your door. Fish swimming in the bathtubs. Monkeys knocking at your window panes. Four poster beds. Tea and gingersnaps served in a silver service in your room. Staying at Helga's is like being transported into Helga's diary ... yes, we met her. She's as eccentrically elegant as her Folly. And warm and funny and brilliant. Shared a cognac with her after dinner and enjoyed hearing about Sri Lanka's history from someone whose family has been such a key part of it. You'll be disappointed if you want plastic luxury (our window pane was cracked, our bathroom door didn't shut right). But you'll love if if you have a sense of fun and adventure. Don't think of this as a hotel stay. Think of yourselves as houseguests at a friend's country estate. I stayed over Christmas with my two sons (11 and 13) and we had an absolutely wonderful time! Oh - not only is the food delicious (and the servings uniquely presented in lavishly decorated dining rooms) - the chef will create special somethings for you (including cake for breakfast!). Ask to see the giant menu scroll. Everything about this place is wonderful! Including apertifis by (giant) candlelight before dinner. And, movies in the slightly dusty screening room.

Room Tip: Each room is unique and uniquely interesting but the ones on the upper floor are nicer.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank shafi_saxena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
Level Contributor
67 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2012

Can highly recommend dinner here -a truly magical place especially for a special occasion. We were given an amazing special dining room just for my travel companions birthday - an beautifully set table with lots of chandeliers, candles and a lovely meal. A special visit from the amazing and lovely Helga was the highlight. Booked here because we enjoy wacky and interesting. The decor is very creative!!. The pool in the most wonderful setting and monkeys entertain in the trees. We decided to stay only the one night as beds were a little uncomfortable for us. However, it is a truly unique place for dinner!!

Room Tip: Ask for a spacious room Test the fan airconditioning and the beds for comfort before committing.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank LilyAnna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbo sri Lanka
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2012

We spent an AMAZING 3 night stay in the DELIGHTFUL Helga's folly and were totally
entranced, spellbound and transported into another realm! For those with an artistic bent
or those who just appreciate art .... do your self a favour and prepare for an experience
of a lifetime. If you are really lucky you may get to share a drop of Red with Helga herself
and hear some past glories of the house and it's illustrious clientele. Sandra T

Room Tip: Room 12A gets my vote
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sandra T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2012

Wandering around Helga's Folly you can imagine yourself inside a magic realist novel or a vast piece of Outsider Art. Decades have been spent decorating the deco building and the project is ongoing, with one of the delightful members of staff painting whimsical and fabulous creatures on the walls when he is not employed with more conventional duties. Helga is as fascinating as her creation, offering up stories about the building's past and how leopards came out of the jungle to lap from the swimming pool at night. (No leopards in sight now but do keep your balcony doors shut when you are out or the monkeys--a very friendly lot--will make off with your belongings.) It's all great fun and with fabulous food! If you don't book a room at least go for afternoon tea or a meal and make sure you take your camera because everywhere you look there's a visual treat.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank CuriousCustomerDerby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2012

Helga's folly needs to be treated as a home stay - an expensive home stay - rather than as a hotel.  If you think of it as a hotel, then it becomes a place of myriad imperfections: random furniture; broken tiles; amateurishly boxed in toilets.  Haphazard, unprofessional, slightly random.  Is it dirty (as some here have said)?  Not really unless compared to the sterile surrounds of the average Marriott.  And that's probably the point - Helga's shouldn't be seen as a hotel.

If you stop thinking of it as a hotel and treat it instead - as Helga encourages you to - as your home for the period of your stay, then the gaudy murals and random family photographs (weddings, Bar dinners, encounters with the great, good, and famous) become part of a rich environment that you can relax into and enjoy.   If you want a hotel - even a boutique hotel - then Helga's will irritate and exasperate you.  If you want to share a family home - albeit one set up to accommodate 50-60 people - then you will find Helga's amusing, relaxing, fun.  

Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
5 Thank Nathan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2012

Nestled amid beautiful trees and flowering bushes on a hillside overlooking the magical city of Kandy in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, is a delightful get-away called Helga's Folly. Eclectic in its decor and eccentric in its demeanor, Helga's Folly is one of the most enchanting guesthouses I've ever seen. And I do travel a lot. And I do seek out the imaginative and the charming wherever I go. This is the place to stay, trust me.
Overseeing this charming hotel is the lady herself, Helga Desilva Blow Perera, one of the most interesting women I've ever met. You will be amazed at her beauty, depth, kindness, and wit - she seems an ageless soul and I adore her.
The staff at Helga's Folly is fantastic - generous, helpful, gracious, and thoroughly professional. The food is extraordinary - simple, fresh, and prepared with care. Great gin and tonics! The rooms are decorated in a kind of loving excess - mosquito netting, painted walls (throughout the house!), updated bathrooms, comfortable beds. I particularly loved the pink princess phone in my room.
I was first enchanted by dinner at Helga's Folly a year ago and just returned from several days in residence there. I can't wait to go back, next time I'll stay for a week! Just to reinvigorate my creative self in the environment that is Helga's Folly.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Sue R
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
Location: 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
#8 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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