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Our Guru’s recommendations for the best places to stay in Helsinki are clustered around the centre of town and by the harbour. They’ve plumped for some seriously hip, design-y options, which also happen to be extremely comfortable. For a capital, Helsinki is a pretty affordable destination, and there are plenty of reasonably priced options on our Guru’s list of the best places to stay in Helsinki.
Helsinki has often been called ‘the Daughter of the Baltic’, a fitting moniker for a city built around such a crenelated section of coastline. It was the Russians who built much of this version of the city, modelled on St. Petersburg, but with more Art Nouveau detailing, but the high concept design taste of the Finns makes Helsinki look very much its own town.
Probably don’t mention this, but Helsinki was actually founded by the Swedes - as a trading post with a fantastic maritime fortress. Then it was annexed by Russia. So it’s definitely worth looking into its history.
Maybe start at Suomenlinna, the Swedish-built maritime fortress, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to several museums and Finland’s only remaining WWII submarine. On an island just out of the city is Seurasaaren Ulkomuseo, an outdoor museum with historic buildings transferred from other parts of Finland. There are also some costumed re-enactments and folk music, dancing and crafts.
After that you might visit the Mannerheim Museum, which was the home of Gustav Mannerheim, former president, commander in chief and civil war hero. And the Ratikkamuseo and Helsingin Kaupunginmuseo, which is a group of small museums that sort of make up a city museum.
Then there are the churches. Helsinki has some amazing ones, but the highlights are probably the vast, square Lutheran Cathedral in central Senate Square, the classic onion domes of the Uspenski Cathedral and the amazingly minimalist ‘Church in the Rock’, which has been dug out of solid rock, with a roof of copper strips added over the top - which really looks a lot like a UFO.
Then there are the art and design museums. And there are many. And the parks. Which are no good to you if you go in the winter, but which are an amazing place to meet the locals during the warmer months.
Helsinki is one of the world’s northern most capitals and the winter is long, dark and freezing. But not necessarily snowy. The short summers are probably a more enjoyable time to visit - when you’ve all those extra daylight hours to explore the city.
Then there’s the shopping and the food. Helsinki’s design chic boutiques and galleries are well known and the foodie scene is incredibly vibrant, with plenty of locally sourced options, local craft-beers and spirits from local micro-distilleries, and locally prepared coffees. And Helsinki really knows about coffee, with each inhabitant consuming around 12kgs of coffee each per year!
As Finland's capital, it's obviously a busy city year round, so if you want to guarantee yourself a room in one of the best places to stay in Helsinki, don't leave it till the last minute to book.
The Best Places to Stay in Helsinki
For a City Break
- Hotel Haven overlooks Helsinki harbour and offers 77 five-star rooms and a very good Finnish restaurant. The rooms have large beds and elegant furniture. And the harbour is actually a pretty central location.
- Right in the centre of town, by Market Square, the Hotel Fabian is a trendy, cosmopolitan hotel with 58 luxurious rooms: think parquet floors, monochrome details and super modern bathrooms. There’s also a chic bar.
For great value
- Klaus K is a 137 room design hotel - supposedly Helsinki’s first - in the centre of town, with rather opulent fabrics and rather splendid bathrooms. There’s also a gym and spa, an Italian restaurant and a nightclub.
- Hotel Kamp is an opulent 5 star offering in the centre of the city. Come here for sumptuous accommodation, spa and smart Finnish restaurant.
For a chic stay
- If you're looking for a hip spot, book into the Hotel Lilla Roberts located in Helsinki's Design District. The interiors are Art-Deco inspired and there's a fabulous restaurant specialising in Nordic cuisine.
Best Hotels in Helsinki
Hotel Lilla Roberts 130 rooms from $163Helsinki
A sleek Art Deco-inspired hotel in Helsinki's vibrant design district. The cool contemporary rooms and suites are black on black with bold splashes of animal print and luxurious en suites. Downstairs the restaurant serves up fantastic Nordic cuisine in a stylish setting. An achingly hip hotel.Foodies - Krog Roba has gained a reputuation for excellence in pan-Nordic cuisine, and Lilla Robert's cocktails will not disappoint.City Style - A chic and sophisticated hotel with innovative interiors, nestled into Helsinki’s uber cool design district.Great walks - Wander the hip design district and soak up the range of galleries and museums in this vibrant creative city.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Small Luxury Hotels, Tablet
Klaus K 137 rooms from $173Helsinki
Design hotel in central city. Rooms modelled on themes offer opulent, warm fabrics, splendid bathrooms and sitting areas. Gym and spa treatments available, modern public areas with fireplaces. Nouveau Italian cuisine in restaurant and cool nightclub. Superbly chic at good value.City Style - Hailed as city's first design hotel, it's a hop and a skip to public transport routes, with nightclub and chic restaurant insideLocal markets - Market Square for food, handicrafts and souvenirsSights nearby - Helsinki CathedralDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Tablet
Hotel Haven 77 rooms from $220Helsinki
5* hotel overlooking Helsinki harbour. Sumptuous rooms have big beds, plush fabrics and elegant writing desks. Romantic bar lounge with fireplace and good restaurant includes a definitively Finnish menu. Excellent service, central location and good value. A great stay.City Style - Haven is a 10 minute walk from the historic heart of the city, and hotel itself is set inside one of the city's oldest buildingsSights nearby - Take a trip to Suomenlinna, the ‘fortress of Finland' and UNSECO World Heritage SiteLocal markets - Hotel is very close to Kauppatori Market SquareViews - Market Square and harbour of HelsinkiRecommended by - Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels
Hotel Fabian 58 rooms from $221Helsinki
A trendy contemporary hotel right in the heart of Helsinki. Luxury rooms feature parquet flooring, clean designs, monochrome details and uber modern bathrooms. A chic bar is the ideal spot to unwind with a drink in the evening. An extremely comfortable base for city exploration.City Style - An oh-so chic hotel just steps from Helsinki's Market Square.Local exploring - Walking distance to many of the city's sights.Local markets - Wander through the stalls at the iconic Market Square.Sights nearby - Visit the Temppeliaukio Church, excavated into a rock.Recommended by - Tablet
Hotel Kamp 179 rooms from $222Helsinki
Opulent 5* hotel in central Helsinki. Stunning guestrooms have 19th century style furniture and Imprimo Collections prints; many have lounges too. Spa, sauna and elegant lounge. Chic restaurant and brasserie offering Finnish menu. A luxurious step back in time.City Style - Located near best shops, sights and restaurants in the city, the opulent hotel offers a chic and memorable Helsinki experienceSights nearby - The city museum, the presidential palace, and the central rail station are all walking distanceGreat walks - Esplanadi Park is opposite for a strollRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Tablet