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“Quirky, unusual but that's the point”
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #22 of 54 Hotels in Kandy
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
74 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Quirky, unusual but that's the point”
Reviewed January 29, 2013

I really liked this place with it's real quirkiness and individuality. As some will know, it was the inspiration behind the Stereophonics hit 'Madame Helga' so it's ideal for any 'Phonic fans. Food was good, wine was good and it was made to feel a little 'spookier' with us being the only ones in there at the time.

Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
8 Thank Damian M
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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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 29, 2013

It may be unusual for Sri Lanka, but this is a pretty tacky place - dodgy 1980s lurid paintwork and very expensive drinks.

We met Helga on the stairs and received a haughty glance - her acolytes were walking 2 steps behind - eugh.

Don't waste your time - get out of Kandy and get your mind blown at Sigiria and the ancient cities.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Roo L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
93 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2013

I should be posting a 5 star review of this place. And believe me, I really would like that. This small hotel should be a total delight. It is a lovely old style house which has been elevated to work of art by the visionary owner, Helga. Nothing is ordinary, dull or plain. The sense of mischievous fun with which almost every inch of wall, window and ceiling has been lovingly embellished is infectious. The bar area with its wax encrusted candelabrum is a spooky yet wonderful sight to behold.

It is a creative haven, full of colour and atmosphere. The reception area tells the fascinating family history of the amazing family who were fortunate enough to call this Kandy hill top retreat their home. It is kooky, eccentric, fun, bold, imaginative and you will wish you could peer at every one of the rooms, as each is decorated uniquely.

I loved the murals, antique furniture, colour, history and grandeur. I didn't even mind being woken up my the monkeys thundering across the roof, for all the world making me feel the ceiling would cave in any second. Yet, I cannot give it 5 stars. I note what some other reviewers say about not treating this as a hotel, but as a homestay or a stay with friends at their country estate, but this is a place charging $270 for the upper floor rooms on a bed & breakfast basis. So, I do not expect dirty towels, stained and torn mosquito nets, only one pillow each on the bed, no plug in mosquito coil device for the night time.

And I most certainly don't expect dust and dirt. Or for the staff serving breakfast to be wearing very stained and dirty uniforms.

There is also a need for some basic small maintenance on the place, there are the odd window panes which are cracked/missing, doors which don't close properly, windows which have gaps in the frames.

I note from the guest books that Helga has been suffering from chronic back pain recently, and she wasn't around when I stayed. Perhaps she is not in good enough health to keep an eye on how her hotel is being run. Please, give the place a really thorough deep clean, and fix all the little teeny tiny things which aren't working right about the place (starting with the shower pressure). Yours is a hotel which deserves to be successful, but is not being done justice.

Your staff try to be helpful, but they clearly don't understand the high standards which need to be achieved to justify such high nightly rates. For example, waiting 20 minutes or more for bar drinks to arrive is not cool or endearing. It is just inefficient. Forgetting someone's order for Sri Lankan breakfast placed the previous night is not something that should be blamed on the guest (thankfully not me). And a full English breakfast with cold sausage and the tiniest single sliver of bacon is not really on.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LondonTravelbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brighton UK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2013

'Oh no! you booked the haunted house!" cried our Sri Lankan driver when we told him where we would be staying. We tried to joke with him but he honestly seemed distressed at the rumours he's heard.
Helga's folly is a great place to visit for a drink or possibly dinner. I think there is a small charge to look around which I'd say is worth it. Its best at night, with the lighting the interior design is amazing. But what a missed opportunity.
DO NOT STAY HERE! We booked three nights over New Year as a special treat as HB was $270 per night which is a complete racket. The guest bedrooms are a disgrace. Small rooms with tatty cheap furniture. The clapped out air co unit was so loud you couldn't sleep with it on, the bathroom basin was so loose fitted water fell straight out of the plug hole, flooding the bathroom floor making it slippy everywhere. The shower can only dribble water on you, and you wouldn't want to sit in the bath. The soles of your feet are filthy after walking around the bedroom for a short while. Our lovely Sri Lankan driver was horrified by the drivers rooms which were infested. I've done plenty of back packing in cheap affordable places across Asia but this was the worst I'd seen and unfathomably expensive, and grubby. The staff who were all very nice and amenable, were not surprised when we checked out after one night- it appears this seems to be the case with most of their guests. From what we could tell Helga's Folly isn't haunted but what a nightmare.

Room Tip: There appeared to be another room off the main dining room full of genuine antiques. If you do want...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank tealeavesandroses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nicosia, Cyprus
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

We only had dinner at Helga's Folly but it was a rewarding experience. The pre-dinner cocktail went down very well amidst the Belle Epoque/ Surreal environment of the lounge area. The 3-course meal was authentic and tasty, I could do with a bit more quantity though :-) Be sure to book your dinner table a few hours in advance.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank Alkis_Ieromonachou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Helga's Folly for 3 nights opting for the 1/2 board, which included breakfast and dinner.
The Folly is unlike anywhere else I've seen and is a fantastic place to slow down and relax for a few days. Staying there is much more like being in somone's home than being in a hotel, and indeed that's what the Folly is, Helda's extaordinary home.
This is not a place to stay for the unadventurous, the unimaginative or the jaded cynic. It is a place with heart and soul. A place of light heartedness, whimsy and fun. Every afternoon and evening visitors come for a drink and or a meal and many, I thought seem to wish they had stayed.
The food, service and tour information were excellent and our room was beautifully decorated and refreshingly devoid of tv, wifi or other silly distractions.
When I first started travelling over 25 years ago there were no travel guides to many of the places I visited and travel was much more an adventure than it is today. Nowadays I do use guide books, but only for a general overview. On the few occaisions I've succumbed to their recommendations, I've been disappointed. For those who still like their travel experiences to have a sense of unprefabricated fun and are happy to step away from the cyberbworld for a few days, Helga's is the ideal place.
Helga's is old school cool.

Room Tip: If you go 1/2 board you will get a superior room.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank David T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxted
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2013

We had a lovely meal and cocktails here! We enjoyed the decor and ambience. The food was fantastic and the bar staff made us drinks that weren't on the menu.
Definitely recommend a visit, apparently the rooms are very nice too

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Heidiblum
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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