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“Helga's Folly "Anti-Hotel"”
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #21 of 58 Hotels in Kandy
Reviewed September 25, 2012

Yes, as everyone says, this place is totally unique! Don't go expecting a 5-star hotel or the typical hotel stay. This is a home full of character. The history of Helga's family decorates the walls. What an honour to be in a place associated with famous politician George De Silva, Agnes Nell De Silva and Fred De Silva.. Not to mention that we got to stay where Mahatma Gandhi stayed! The pictures and house also tell of Helga's extended family, including her sister-in-law, princess of Yugoslavia and daughter, a UK fashion designer. There is plenty to look at in every corner of the house, including photos, unique Sri Lankan artwork and china plates on the walls. The atmosphere is truly special. Situated on a hilltop, there is a lovely view over Kandy. You can enjoy being surrounded by beautiful plants and birds - as well as some cheeky monkeys! We were there at off-peak time so enjoyed the peace and quiet and individual attention, though I understand they do the same when there are more people. The staff were friendly and hospitable and gave us good service, presenting our meals at times to suit. It was lovely to meet Helga and Desmond and hear about Helga's family history and life. (She must get sick of explaining, though it doesn't show! A written version is available!) Also enjoyed selecting a movie to watch in the theatrette and a comfortable night's sleep. If you're up for something different and interesting pictures to show your friends, unlike anything else in Sri Lanka, Helga's Folly is the place to go!

Room Tip: Generally basically clean and comfortable but our room and bathroom are being done up so will be eve...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Sriwichic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 27, 2012

I am not sure if this should be listed under hotel or activity! This place is an experience! We arrived late at night and were the only guests. This is a bit like arriving at the hotel of Shinning… or rather to Dali’s hotel. The place looked mysterious in the dark… and in the morning, the view took our breath away. Every room has a different design and paintings, and the common rooms look like museum. You could spend hours looking at each drawing, picture or piece of art in this house. The staff was very friendly and efficient, and we enjoyed our dinner, with a huge chandelier and metal glasses. It would need a little bit more cleaning (hire a Swiss intendant) as many things are either dusty or dirty. I would also appreciate some new ideas and renovation. Maybe a young and creative person should bring some ideas for renovating of the place. It looks a bit too much like a museum for my (modern art) taste. This said, we enjoyed the experience and our discussion with Mrs. Helga. The office staff was also super helpful, going the extra mile for my needs. Great - thank you

Room Tip: You may want to check several rooms. Each has its own design and character
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank BernieBird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank jonnyf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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4  Thank shafi_saxena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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3  Thank LilyAnna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank Sandra T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank CuriousCustomerDerby
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
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
Price Range: $87 - $130 (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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