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Helga's Folly
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Reviews (608)
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Reviewed September 27, 2010

Falling in love with Helga's living room in a Japanese magazine, featuring world's top must-stay-hotels, I decided to stay there with my husband on our honeymoon to Sri Lanka, Sept- 4-6 2010. We booked through emailing directly to the chalet asking for a good package.

The exotically decorated chalet is almost wicked. And yes, some parts may be falling apart, but that is only because it is an antique hotel, may also come across an hundred-legged fellow, but that is as friendly as the surrounding nature :p still, looking closely around the room is convincing enough to see that it has been carefully cleaned and kept comfy.

What I loved the most is their food!!! Thanks to a great weather, we had our meal, breakfast & dinner, at the balcony with a nice view of the sky, trees and Kandy town. The meal is simply GREAT. Traveling further in the country made us feel all the more so comparing with other foods.

We booked for two nights, pick up from Colombo's airport, day tour in Kandy, drive to Sigiriya, tour in Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa, and finally a drop off at Trincomalee. We extended the driver for the latter part since he was such a great person.

The staffs were such an gentlemen as well. Excepts for their monkey friends that probably would come to the roof waking people up.

Our experience at the stunning place was more than what we expected and would love to go back again someday.

*** we were also able to meet Helga! Sept 5th is her birthday :)

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Megumis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
6  Thank Hibiscus21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 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
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6  Thank KaMuRa_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank tattywalton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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5  Thank PMEB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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