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“Great place to eat”
Review of Helga's Folly

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Helga's Folly
Ranked #22 of 54 Hotels in Kandy
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great place to eat”
Reviewed March 16, 2013

We stopped at Helga's Folly for a morning drink on the recommendation of The Lonely Planet Guide and were so captivated by the exotic decor that we decided to return for dinner that night. While the hotel is captivating by day, it is by night that it really comes into its own. A combination of fairy light and candelabras gently illuminate a cornucopia of wildly improbable memorabilia. The walls are filled with bold murals covered by interesting paintings and photos.

We had a coctail while we chose our food and were then shown to the equally extraordinary dining room. Helga's Folly eschews the common practice of providing a huge menu and instead concentrates on a small selection done well. The food was excellent and the service attentive and enthusiastic (albeit I was not sure how well I was understood).

While Helga was unfortunately unwell while we were there, her receptionist rang her to ask what the amazing scented flowers were which perfumed the whole hotel. I probably wouldn't have been pleased to receive such a call if I were in her position. However, she could not have been more charming and my only regret is not to have met her properly.

If you like your restaurants bland and uniform, Helga's Folly is not for you. However, if you want to experience everything that life has to offer, then it is somewhere not to be missed.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Chris_McIntosh
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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English first
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2013

my girlfriend and I initially booked two nights here as we were curious to experience the hotel but on a budget. on arrival we were presented with a choice of two beautifully decorated rooms and instantly extended to a third. when we sat down for dinner that evening we knew we'd made the right choice.

the food was very good, including the breakfast (try the Sri Lankan option too). madame helga is a lovely eccentric lady who came over to talk with us one evening to check everything was ok and give tips on kandy. all the other staff we very helpfull and accommodating to our requests.

the only issue we encountered was the wifi was a bit unreliable and didnt extend to the rooms. be sure to try the cinema and try to find the disused pool (would be nice if this were in use but doesn't detract from the charm). helgas folly was a highlight of Sri Lanka for us, not just kandy - an experience not to be missed!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank nickbjones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2013

We knew Helga's Folly from a book about Sri Lanka and we were very curious to see this special hotel. During our trip we stopped in Kandy and had the possibility to have lunch in Helga's Folly.
It was great to discover this place, totally different than we are used to see here in Sri Lanka. You can watch for hours the interior with such a melting pot of different items. Places like Helga's Folly you normally find in SOHO - New York or in Amsterdam... but with the Sri Lankan art and atmosphere you feel the vibrations of this nice country.
About the food .... our lunch was delicious and the presentation very original. The staff was so kind and even gave us a visit of the building, rooms and garden with swimming pool and a nice view of Kandy. If you want to stay outside the busy city of Kandy in a totally different place .... go for the Helga's Folly experience !

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank rafharold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
144 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2013

We visited Helga's Folly after opting not to stay given its mixed reviews and were happy for doing so.
The hotel/ house itself is charming and beautifully decorated, echoing with the grandeur with what it once was. We had fun walking through, taking pictures and exploring the hotel. It truly is charming, beautiful and quite worth the visit. But that's where it ends.
The service was atrocious. We waited ages for a huffy waiter who gave us our overpriced drinks after another wait and then promptly disappeared. The desk was unmanned and when someone finally arrived we asked if he could please call us a taxi back to our hotel. He promptly started calling up tuk tuks and told us he did not have the number of any taxi cab companies or Derana cabs as I had requested. In the end he told us the tuk tuks were reluctant to come over in the rain. It was only 9pm at the time. We ended up having to walk back to the main road in the pitch dark and got lost numerous times. It was also pouring cats and dogs. How does a hotel or any establishment not have phone numbers of taxi companies?
While we were there the roof kept leaking and mirror sprang off its hinges.
Given its charm and history I would stay here if I had an excess amount of cash to spare(it's expensive!) wanted solitude and wasn't as concerned for cleanliness or picky on service.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mark S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2013

Going to and staying at Helga's Folly is magic!!
The food is terrific, rice served in banana leaves, best coconut soup we ever had, homemade icecream and pudding cake... sooo great!
we loved our room! all the wall-paintings, every room is unique, and if you have the chance you can pick your favourite one!
the pool is surrounded by a beautiful garden, just dip into the magic of the place! it is really worth to stay there over night! just staying there for dinner is already so great but staying and living there for a day or more is mind-blowing!!
and serious, if you have the chance to meet helga - she is one of the nicest, greatest, loving persons we ever met!
and if you want to know something about kandy from. the 1920's on it is the place where you have to go. The grandmother of Helga, agnes nell, was a leading figure in the suffragette movement, her grandfather, george e. de silva, had an importnat part in the struggles for independence, her aunt, minnette de silva, was one of the first women in asia who got trained as an architect.... and so on and on...
allow the place to enter your life and you'll have a really magical expierence for sure!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank himo2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 15, 2013

We'd heard a lot about Helga's Folly and were early anticipating our stay. It certainly did not disappoint. The decor is even crazier than everybody says, and really comes to life by candle light so it would be worth at least dining there in the evening if not staying the night.
Apparently there was a landslide the day before we arrived but we would never have been able to tell as everything inside and out was in its place. The place is spotless and the staff competent and friendly.
We were actually there in a big group to celebrate a friend's birthday and had a brilliant time frolicking around the charismatic corridors and lounging in the parlour, which had some fascinating photographs. We were honoured with Helga's presence in the evening, which completed the elegant and excentric ambiance. Food was great, cake was even better!
Would definitely recommend, especially for a big bash!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Ally F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2013

Read mixed reviews about HF, but what everyone had to say intrigued us enough to want to come by for dinner and drinks on a Sunday night. The house is gorgeous, imaginative, crazy, whimsical, awesomely over the top -- like stepping into a naif canvas dotted with some very seriously heavy antiques. Most of our time was spent gawking at murals, framed photos, paintings, lamps, deer antlers, & other curios hanging on the walls. Yet, you never forget that it is a REAL house, and not a museum. Which means, you don't have to be reverently quiet and stuffy -- it's cozy enough for you to plop down anywhere and have a good laugh.

Dining at the house was a bit surreal. The food was superb, and the plating even more so! Loved how even subtle details in the choice of plates, cutlery, table setting, even the demeanor of the servers make a difference in how you enjoy your meal. The water served in silver goblets coupled with Miss Havisham-esque candelabras made for some very silly photo ops! We were the only ones there for the evening, and so the staff kindly humored us into serving the different courses in different parts of the house. Aperitifs and samosas in the drawing room, soup & main course in the dining area, tea and dessert on the lounger.

We were even lucky enough to meet Madame Helga briefly, even without reading about her life & family, the way she has put together her house can tell you more about her very intriguing personality and her way of entertaining. Though we didn't stay the night, we would definitely come back for dinner the next time we find ourselves in Kandy again!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank CelineSE
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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