Sunday, March 3, 2024

Accommodations in Helsinki, Finland’s design-forward capital

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This article was created by National Geographic Traveler (UK).

Finland’s largest city is also Finland’s most stylish city. Once home to influential local architect and designer Alvar Aalto, the capital’s Art Nouveau core is now home to modern Scandinavian architecture and Marimekko’s flagship clothing and home goods store. It’s complemented by quirky design hits, including the underground Amos Rex Museum. Adding another dimension to the city is the once-remote port district of Jatkasaly, which has been reinvented in the past 20 years with stylish apartment blocks centered around restaurants, cafes, shops and a new public sauna. Ta.

In spring 2022, the maritime hub welcomes the art-focused Hotel AX. A fantastical metal sculpture titled ‘Orc’ marks the hotel’s entrance and sets the tone for the whimsical interiors within.

The hotel is the brainchild of Finnish interior architect, designer and sculptor Stefan Lindfors, and features walls of murals such as ‘The King of Poetry’, ‘Love Letters with a View’, ‘Novel Corner’ and ‘Novel Corner’. With whimsical names like , we’ve transformed our guest rooms into artistic sanctuaries. “Fairy tale corner”. Its restaurant is inspired by Jatkasaari’s maritime history, and Hotel AX also features works by Finnish artists, including abstract art by acclaimed local artist Nina and Ruth, scattered around the building. We are making a large investment.

It’s a 5-minute tram ride to the pastel-colored city center, and a 2-hour ferry ride from Jatkasaari’s Rensiterminari Ferry Terminal to Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. From €105 (£92), B&B.

Located in the heart of the Kamppi district, Hotel Herka was built in the 1920s by the Finnish Young Women’s Christian Association as a women’s shelter. We now welcome people from all walks of life. There is a sauna and bar, the lobby has Art Deco décor, and the rooms feature Alvar Aalto’s iconic mid-century chairs and local artwork. From €132 (£115), B&B.

This LGBTQ+-friendly hotel champions the art of cult gay erotica illustrator Touko Laaksonen, widely known as Tom of Finland. Guests can sleep in a room decorated with Laaksonen’s work, take his Tom of Finland walking tour, or watch his show in drag as part of Thursday club nights. The hotel has Art Nouveau features, a restaurant, and a prime location on one of Helsinki’s main streets, the Bulvardi. From €95 (£83), B&B.

This stylish hotel in the central design district represents the aesthetic of northern Finland. 105 of the 182 rooms feature dark walls, decorative antlers and private saunas. The hotel’s restaurant, Kultá Kitchen & Bar, is famous for its Lappish cuisine. Art galleries and design boutiques are nearby. From €198 (£172), B&B.

Published in January/February 2024 issue National Geographic Traveler (England).

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