I first stayed here back in November 2012 and was very impressed. I wrote a review at the time of the hotel and its facilities which was well received by Tripadvisor users and if you're interested, I'd suggest reading that one before this latest one, as I've not covered everything in that one to avoid repetition. Everything that was good about my last stay was not only equally good this time around but even better.
Check-in was enthusiastic and welcoming. We had specifically booked one of the newly refurbished executive business rooms because of the in-room sauna and this was duly confirmed. We made our way to the room, down the corridors wonderfully illuminated by the tightly focused ceiling spotlights and coloured room numbers outside the various doors. Upon entry into our room via the RFID proximity card, there was a series of wow moments, even more wow that my previous visit.
The room was much larger, even though on the website it is stated as being the same size. With the white walls and high ceiling and huge windows, it was massively light & airy and felt very spacious.
The bed was massive and a 'proper' height, where you get up into bed as opposed to down into a low bed. I've always been impressed by the beds in Radissons - they always provide a good night's sleep - but this one was something else. There is a whole instruction card listing the different options - Magic Dreams is the concept I think - although we stuck with what was on the bed. My partner commented that it was one of, if not the, most comfortable night's sleep that she had ever had.
On the far wall was a large (I'm guessing 42") flatscreen TV with Ambilight. Either side and higher up the wall were two hifi speakers. The connectivity panel was next to the bed and allowed connection to the AV system by just about any means possible; RCA audio, S-video, USB, HDMI and Bluetooth. Don't worry if you haven't brought a lead as you didn't know you could connect...just call guest services and they will sort you out. Within a matter of seconds I had our iPod connected by USB and smartphone connected by Bluetooth: this meant we could play our offline Spotify collection via the hifi speakers and then - once connected to the complimentary wifi - stream music and video through the system. If we had bought the laptop we could also have connected it via the HDMI and watched Blu Rays in HD. I may be speaking as a bloke but this level & range of connectivity is amazing and I've yet to see any other hotel - Radisson or not - provide similar. It literally provides hours of enjoyment.
There was plenty of storage space by way of drawers, wardrobes and shelf space. With a partner who travels with two weeks' of choice of clothes for a weekend, this was most welcome. There were also plenty of plug sockets, including 2 UK sockets for those who hadn't brought adaptors. One of the sockets was ideally located opposite the full length mirror so was perfect for the hairdryer - it is amazing how many hotels don't put sockets anywhere near the mirror you would use when drying your hair.
Whilst still looking around the room and before we had had the chance to unpack, we received a call from guest relations asking if everything was OK with the room. My Concierge level membership of Carlson Rezidor's loyalty scheme means that I receive a complimentary upgrade and the call was to ask if I would like an upgrade to a suite if we didn't like the room. Given that we had booked this grade of room specifically for the sauna and a suite doesn't have one, we declined. However, guest relations didn't know this and to be called and offered the upgrade after check-in to the room showed commitment to a very level of customer service, as well as recognition of the member level of the loyalty scheme. The very matter of fact nature of the Finns is wonderful at moments like this; you are entitled to it, so we are offering it to you.
The bathroom was compact, with a walk-in shower cubicle and TV built into the mirror behind the basin, so you can watch TV whilst washing or sitting on the loo. However, the room's party trick was next to the shower; a sauna. In your bathroom. It was more than large enough for the both of us and once we had worked out how to use it, more than hot enough. We had it up over 50'c in no time and with the bucket & ladle provided, churning out great amounts of steam. You even get provided with a couple of additional towels to sit on, as well as the usual collection of towels and robes.
The mini bar and beverage options were well stocked. Along with the usual tea & coffee was a good selection of small plates, mugs, wine and champagne glasses. There was also a Nespresso machine with a selection of capsules and the proper Nespresso cups; these are double the normal espresso size and it's the first time that I have seen them alongside a Nespresso machine in a Radisson. It makes all the difference. There was also a couple of complimentary bars of chocolate (totally addictive) and - as before - the business card of the general manager. This level of transparency can only encourage engagement as it immediately gives you a named point of contact, to whom any relevant issues can be communicated.
On the first evening we ate in the hotel's restaurant Kitzens - reviewed separately on here - but the relevance to this review was that all of the staff were welcoming, friendly and attentive.
After a long lie-in the next morning (to savour the comfortable bed) we had breakfast in the executive lounge. Firstly the hotel does breakfast until 11am on a weekend that is great and secondly the executive rooms allow you access to the lounge. This is on a mezzanine level that runs around the central atrium above the restaurant. It has a collection of comfortable booths on one side for breakfast and then an eclectic collection of chairs & sofas on the other side for relaxing in. Breakfast was the usual excellent Radisson buffet, with a wide choice of cereals, pastries & breads and cooked ingredients. We each asked for omelettes and were served fantastic cheese & ham and cheese & onion omelettes, that were tasty, delicate yet filling.
We were going to come back to the lounge in the early evening for complimentary drinks that are served but ran out of time with our sightseeing. Instead we came back the following late morning and just chilled out there.
After coming back from dinner out we went to the HUB bar that sits behind reception. Whilst relatively small, it was comfortable and quite busy with patrons. There was a good selection of wines by the glass as well as local beers, of which Lapin Kulta is my new favourite. We eventually took our drinks back up to the room and then played around with the AV system some more, trying to come up with the most suitable tracks to go with the adjustable lighting. If you haven't read the previous review, you can alter the lighting within the room to your personally taste. With the Ambilight from the TV, you can come up with some fabulous combinations.
We were also going to try out the gym but again, ran out of time so didn't get the opportunity. The gym is small and functional but should suffice for those looking for some basic exercise facilities whilst away.
Mention has to go to the staff; all those we encountered were professional, friendly and keen to provide great customer service. Nothing was too much trouble. Radisson's 'Yes I Can!' ethos was reflected by the behaviour of the staff but it was evident that this hotel has gone that bit further. There was a very clear recognition of a) brand value and b) service proposition and I would imagine that the management have spent a lot of time ensuring that staff are conscious of these and reflect them in their actions. As an example, when were due to leave, we checked-out and booked a taxi to the airport. We then went up to the room to collect our bags. As we were leaving the room, the service manager was coming along the corridor to tell us that the taxi was here and to help us down with our bags. Without being asked or prompted. Excellent service.
In fact, as guests we felt incredibly welcome and valued throughout the entire duration of our stay.
On the downside, housekeeping didn't replace the dirty Nespresso mugs on one day. We called down and new ones were brought up very quickly, with a sincere apology. Our room was right on the corner of the hotel (possibly to do with being able to vent the heat from the sauna?) and the wifi was a bit patchy a couple of times.
On the Sunday morning, neither of us wanted to leave. The combination of excellent facilities and very high levels of customer service made this a most enjoyable and relaxing stay. The room cost was 219EUR/night which, for all the room's facilities let alone the sauna, is exceptional value for money.
We stay in a lot of Carlson Rezidor properties and as Concierge level members have very high expectations. Radisson Blu Plaza Helsinki met and exceeded our expectations. I would suggest that this should be viewed as a flagship Radisson location since - from our overall guest experience - it thoroughly deserves to be rated as such.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated in the heart of Helsinki; convenient to the city's business, shopping & entertainment centers; near major transportation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki Hotel Helsinki
- Radisson Helsinki
- Helsinki Radisson