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“I love Helsinki, but I didn't really love this hotel” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Hellsten Helsinki Senate

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Hellsten Helsinki Senate
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Kauppiaankatu 5, Helsinki 00160, Finland (Formerly StayAt Helsinki Senate) (Vironniemi)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #33 of 65 Hotels in Helsinki
Arlington, Virginia
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“I love Helsinki, but I didn't really love this hotel”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

My wife and I had a quick two-night visit to Helsinki in mid-October, and found this hotel via a prepaid internet booking service. We arrived and departed via Silja Line ferry, which made the location of this hotel pretty convenient for us. It would be even more convenient for Viking Line travelers. The hotel is situated on the little island just east of main Helsinki (Katajanokka island, I think) and is both walking distance to downtown and very close to the number 4 tram. There is a small grocery store a couple of blocks away.

Other reviewers have noted the arrival process so I won't really go into much detail, except to note that we arrived at the hotel without any access codes because the e-mail with the codes had been sent after we departed for our trip. Getting into the hotel and leaving our luggage wasn't really much trouble, however; a maintenance worker let us into the "lobby" area and I was able to call the other hotel's receptionist on the phone we found by the key safes. It all worked out OK.

Our room was described as a two-person studio, and that's about right. There was a pretty large living/sleeping area with a kitchenette area, and a separate bathroom. Sort of shabby furniture and quite basic kitchen items, but they worked well enough for us. The bathroom was fine and was pretty clean. The room had high ceilings which made it feel spacious. We were in the "A" building. There was a sauna on the ground floor but we didn't use it during our stay.

The bed was the real problem with this room. It was a queen-sized platform holding a box spring-like thing and a 3cm mattress/pad on top of that. Unfortunately the construction of the platform and the box spring thing made the bed basically a big U -- we rolled into the middle of the bed and into each other. Very bad news for sleeping. We ended up moving around the furniture in the room (good thing it was a big room) and putting the pad on the floor, which made it sort of like camping but was still 100% better than the bed.

The building this hotel occupies is like an old apartment building, with a great big staircase, heavy doors, and high ceilings. It has great "bones" but feels shabby and in disrepair. If the Hellsten people would renovate this building and especially update the rooms, they could probably charge 25%-50% more per room and it would still be a very good deal. As it stands now, sorry to say, you're probably better off ponying up the extra cash and staying somewhere else.

There is a very good Nepalese restaurant -- called "Everest" if memory serves -- about a block northeast of this hotel. Definitely worth the walk to eat there. Very good food and friendly service.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
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Rauma
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

We have been at the Hellsten Helsinki Senate Apartment Hotel from July 29th until July 31st 2012. Our rooms have been located in the A-building (= the old part of the Hotel) ground floor.

To get in we had to call another Hellsten Hotel and there we got a code for the main door and another code for the locker where we found our keys – in addition to the keys for some other guests. Ok with this.

The rooms are quite big and the location of the Hotel is brilliant. Only 10 minutes to walk from the Kauppatori and 5 minutes from the Utspenski cathedral. But this is all positive I can tell about this Hotel.

When booking the apartment we asked if our 72 years old visitor from Canada could stay in the bedroom and us, my wife and me, on 2 spare beds in the living room. However, the beds for us two have been made in the bedroom and for our visitor they have placed a camp bed with an about only 5 cm thick mattress in the living room. In addition to this, one of the wooden bars of the bed frame was broken. This camp bed hasn’t even been opened and the fabric of the mattress was already lacerated. So we had to prepare the bed ourselves. I tried the bedroom mattress but this was completely saggy too.

To make the camp bed a little bit more comfortable, we took the seat cushions from the sofa, but what we saw then was more than rude. Under these sofa cushions have been salted sticks, potato chips, breadcrumbs and dust. This sofa hasn’t been vacuumed for weeks.

Also the top of the carpet in the bathroom and the top of the lamp haven’t seen a duster for a long time. On the floor between the shower and wall (small gap) was still a genital hair from one of the former guests. The silicon seam, former probably clear silicone, was brown and the corners black of mould. The electrical connection to the lamp in the shower looked quite dangerous.

In the whole building is nobody who takes care of these matters. We had to call the other hotel again and they promised to take care of it ….. on the next day because there were nobody anymore to help us or whom we could show our findings on the day of our arrival. So the first night has been for our visitor, who had just a transatlantic flight behind, more than inconvenient. Also the smoker’s area has been located straight under our bedroom window. It is not very nice to smell cigarette smoke in the bed.

My proposal is that they hire a caretaker who lives in the house and where the guests can go if there are problems.

This hotel (apartment hotel) should have only ONE star – for the location.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bucharest, Romania
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

Nice country,nice city,nice people but not so nice place to leave for 11 nights .Beside the good location the size of room and wardrobe and comfy bad nothing else deserve *** (three stars)No good sheets ,no internet,poor tv channels ,missing lamp from over the bed,no valet shower ,no soap ,electric bulb off just in the entrance ,no lobby, inappropriate place to keep bags,next building to leave garbage,no clean stairs ,24h no lift more than no friendly or English speaking staff. In eleven nights the cleaning of the room was made only once in a very superficial way So ...you can try to stay but no more than two or three days although you will see the difference from nice to not nice .Please enjoy Helsinki ,the Baltic Sea ,the friendly people on a summer holiday like us !

Room Tip: Do not take a room in corp B at street level
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Best, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2012

We booked a 6 night stay in the one bedroom apartment. I think it is in block B. The location is very nice, quickly accessible to downtown. The tram stops close by, and there is a little grocery store only 300 meters down the road. It is nice and quiet in this area as has been noted by other reviewers.

This apartment is however not recommendable as a family with young children, especially ones who don't listen well. We were on the third floor. Our apartment door had no way to lock from the inside to keep kids inside. There was only one window that opened a handwidth in the kitchen. Speaking of the kitchen, I expect of a self catering apartment that it has some basics in the kitchen. A toaster would have been nice. There was no oven, only a tiny, old fashioned microwave. It did have a well working fridge and freezer and a major plus was knives that actually cut. But the two stove tops didn't work well, and they were so old and worn that the numbers had rubbed off and you had no idea where the hot setting was. Also, I think basics that don't spoil and should be included are salt and pepper.

The other bizzarre thing was the bathroom. It had a humongous vanity with loads of storage but then this dinky, dirty, crappy shower with not so much as a shelf to put your soap on. And the shower head was all gross and caulked up. The shower itself was just three walls on the floor so the shower water would in fact drain on to the floor. It just makes no sense to have a big vanity and then such a crappy shower. Also, the towls that were provided were teeny and thin. We only had one maid service come, and thankfully she left us two rolls of toilet paper, otherwise we would probably have to buy that too.

Then about the sleeping arrangements: the main bedroom does have black out curtains which is essential in a country where the sun sets for only 4 hours a night, but the curtains were too narrow to cover the window. We were provided roll out beds for the kids in the living room, but the curtains were thin, no black out lining, and the big balcony door had only one panel that covered only half of it. Then the beds were very hard and uncomfortable. We wouldn't recommend this place to anyone with kids. Ours had a hard time falling asleep and staying inside. There is a little sandbox by the way in the courtyard, but it's not something I would let my kids go unsupervised.

So in short, I would'n't recommend this place to a family, only to singles or couples who want a good location, don't care about it being cheaply maintained, and don't actually want a self-catering holiday.

Room Tip: The one bedroom apartment facing the courtyard on the third floor of wing B seemed to be quiet (well...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Douglas, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2012

The accommodation was a little away from the city centre but it was still easy to walk up to the main shopping district. It is served by the number 4 tram which is nearby. I chose this place as I wanted to be near the ships going to Tallinn. You are sent an email prior to arrival giving you the access code to Building A where the keys are kept in the vestibule area in lockers. A further access code is needed to access the key box. My apartment was then in the adjacent building labelled as Building B. It was situated on the 6th floor and fortunately there is lift. The place had a large roof terrace so you can sit outside when it's warm. The studio apartment I was renting was for a single person and had a single bed. I would've preferred a bigger bed but then it costs more. It was reasonably comfortable but just too narrow! There is a small kitchenette with a coffee machine and kettle provided in the cupboard. There are also pans, crockery, glasses, kitchen utensils and cutlery. The shower room was quite adequate although the towels were rather small. Towels are only changed once a week so it maybe better bringing your own? What I liked about the place was the privacy. I wasn't bothered by anyone whilst I was here. It was also very nice having the top floor and access to the terrace.

Room Tip: check the various websites for room prices and then if you see a hotel you particularly like, try an...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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London
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2012

We booked through Octopus travel and did not receive anything other than a generic confirmation email with hotel voucher "to be presented to the hotel". We arrived to find of course there is no reception and close scrutiny of both the confirmation email and hotel voucher did not give any useful information about how to gain access. After quite some time knocking on the door and circling the building getting quite cold as it was in the evening, a guest on an upper floor balcony noticed us and offered to come down to help. He examined all the documents we had and said they had not given us any of the information we needed, such as instructions, the door entry code, and the lock-box entry code where the room key could be found. He ended up phoning a number he had for Hellsten on our behalf in order to get the codes for us. This was quite a stressful start to our stay as up until that point there was no one else around and no means of contact.
Later that evening, we ran into a couple who were also staying there and they said they were also not given any codes when they booked, and were also let in by another guest, who had let in several others that day and said the same thing had happened to him when he arrived. This seems to be a common problem: either the Hellsten people aren't giving the instructions to the travel agents or guests, or the travel agents get them but aren't passing them on to the guests.
Once we did finally get keys our room was pleasant enough. I don't remember which class of room it was: there was a separate bedroom and a kitchenette/lounge and separate bathroom. They seem to be meant for longer stays as they are basically apartments with a weekly cleaning service. It was fine for a short stay but it would not be very comfortable for a longer stay: there was no sofa or even coffee table, only two armchairs in front of the tv in the lounge area.
The kitchenette was just that: compact and not very comfortable for a lot of everyday cooking.
The bathroom was fairly spacious but in the shower compartment there was nowhere to put shampoo etc except on the floor, or carefully balancing the shampoo bottle on the tap handle which had a flat space about the size of a 2-Euro coin. Showering also left a puddle of water on much of the bathroom floor.
It all had that sort of Ikea-chic, very spare design but not well maintained: the laminate was starting to separate on the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, the bedroom door was not able to be closed without a great deal of effort and noise as it hung crookedly in the doorway, all of the cabinet and closet handles were a bit sticky/gungy as obviously they were never cleaned.
On the plus side, there was a lot of closet space: both in the bedroom and a separate coat closet at the entrance.
The location is certainly quiet--a bit eerily so. The most people we ever saw on the street at one time were 3. Most of the time, day or night, we never saw other signs of life on that island, despite the density of buildings, and it did make us wonder if anyone actually lived there or if the whole place was business apartments.
It was the sort of place that business travellers on a long stay for work might use, either eating out or getting delivery but not really cooking, and it would never fool them into mistaking it for home.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alajuela, Costa Rica
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2012

We were delighted with our stay at this facility. We had a nice apartment in Building B on the third floor. It was roomy, comfortable and a change of pace from hotel rooms during our trip to the Baltics. The bed was a bit soft, but that was not a problem. What I liked was that the television is in the living room area and not in the bedroom, so if your partner wants to read or watch TV while you want to sleep you can do so in comfort. It was also nice to have a kitchen to prepare some of our own food and eat in. It is very close to the harbor area and to the Market Square where you can get ome pretty terrific fresh seafood and cruise the stalls for various Finnish handicrafts and other items. It is located on the #4 and #4a tramline which drops you off a block from the building. If you are coming in to the ferry harbor, it is a bit of a walk with suitcases, but it is doable...if the weather is good. One thing to note is that they do not have a reception area. BUT...what they do is to e-mail you the information you need to get into the building to get the keys to open your apartment. We found their system very user friendly and had no problems. There is a number you can call for reception from your apartment and they are most helpful, even including assisting us in arranging for a shuttle to pick us up and take us to the airport early on the day of our departure. This is also a GREAT VALUE considering the incredibly high prices of hotels in Helsinki. They are also very prompt in e-mailing your receipt for your stay. I would highly recommend this facility for anyone traveling to Helsinki, be it a short stay or for a longer period of time.

Room Tip: We had a GREAT apartment on the third floor of building B, complete with balcony which was usable an...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hellsten Helsinki Senate

Address: Kauppiaankatu 5, Helsinki 00160, Finland (Formerly StayAt Helsinki Senate)
Location: Finland > Southern Finland > Helsinki > Vironniemi
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
#25 Business Hotel in Helsinki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hellsten Helsinki Senate 3.5*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hellsten Helsinki Senate is located in Katajanokka, one of the most exclusive districts in the heart of Helsinki. It is a promontory surrounded by water, just a stone's throw from the city centre and its attractions. Katajanokka is separated from the mainland by a channel, but it is possible to reach the city area by four bridges. Katajanokka is also the place where ferries from Stockholm and Tallin dock. Helsinki-Vantaa airport is just a 30 minute drive away. All of the major amenities, including shops, cafes, restaurants and cinemas are within walking distance from Hellsten Senate. The hotel has 52 designed one and two bedroom apartments each with a kitchenette, telephone, satellite TV and free internet access. Some of the apartments have their own sauna. A common sauna can be used as well as common laundry facilities. This old renovated building from 1915 has self contained rooms and apartments ranging in sizes from 28 to 160 square meters penthouse suite. All apartments are equipped with kitchenettes for cooking your own food. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hellsten Helsinki Senate Hotel Helsinki
Accome Senate Helsinki
Accome Senate Hotel Helsinki

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