Helsinki has experienced an entrepreneurial boom over the past decade, with restaurants, bars and shops sprouting across the city like mushrooms. The tourists, naturally, have followed – although the hotel scene is yet to catch up. But that’s not to say that the Finnish capital lacks good places to stay.
Greeting you at this hotel is Ai Weiwei’s “Tianwu” – a silk-and-bamboo kite that is the artist’s only work on permanent public display. Equal thought and care has gone into the rest of the St George, which occupies two merged 19th-century buildings, formerly home to the Finnish Literature Society. Under the guidance of Carola Rytsölä and Mirkku Kullberg (ex-CEO of Artek), these were transformed into 148 eminently graceful rooms and five suites. The feel is more elegant home than pillow-for-the-night: hardwood floors, walls in soft olive hues, abstract artwork by Finnish artists and solid-oak furniture by Sibast. The St George sets a new benchmark for the city.13 Yrjönkatu, 00120
+358 (0)9 4246 0011
One of the newest openings in the city, Lilla Roberts offers 130 rooms across two historical 20th-century buildings that were once, among other things, a police station. Interior designer Jaakko Puro oversaw the redesign; the new art deco style is somewhat kitsch – as are the animal lamps dotted around the hotel – but, that aside, this is a comfortable, well-heeled stay. The rooms are sizeable (even the small “comfort” category could pass for a deluxe) and the downstairs restaurant, Krog Roba, serves hearty Scandinavian fare. Thoughtful touches such as free-to-borrow bicycles by city brand Pelago give it the edge over local competition.1-3 Pieni Roobertinkatu, 00130
+358 (0)9 689 9880
When looking out onto the peaceful forest and waterside views from Hotel Rantapuisto, it’s hard to imagine that Helsinki city centre is only a 20-minute drive away. It’s a perfect base for those who wish to delve into the Finnish landscape while staying within easy reach of the action. Built in 1963 by architects Ragnar and Martta Ypyä, the building was inspired by the work of Alvar Aalto and features modernist lights, wooden-beam ceilings and light-filled corridors. Originally a destination for companies away on team retreats, the hotel has gradually opened to customers outside the corporate world.3 Furuborginkatu, 00980
+358 (0)9 319 11
Images: Juho Kuva