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“Interesting and excellent hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka

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Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Merikasarminkatu 1a, Helsinki 00160, Finland (Vironniemi)   |  
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Ranked #5 of 66 hotels in Helsinki
UK
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Interesting and excellent hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2011

We booked this hotel on the strength of TA reviews and because we managed to get a good deal. Although not on the doorstep of the city centre, it is only about 15-20mins walk and there is a tram which stops on it's doorstep you can take as an alternative. Another bonus is that if you happen to travel to Helsinki via the Viking Line, their port is only 5 mins walk away - this was handy for us as we caught the Viking Line back to Tallinn on our last morning in Helsinki. Back to the hotel, it was very interesting because of the prison background. We had read reports that the standard rooms were quite small but when we arrrived we found these rooms to be more than big enough for our needs. Rooms were modern and clean - they have done a great job of blending the prison cell design with a modern decor for today's living. Bathroom was a decent size with a great shower. Only slight minus is that the free wi-fi doesn't extend into the rooms which they do state is the case. I could get a very weak signal but it dropped off and wasn't reliable. If I walked out into the corridor I could get a decent signal without having to walk all the way downstairs to the reception area. Breakfast in the cellar was excellent - freshly cooked omelettes available with good selection of cold meats, good quality smoked salmon, and salad items. Eating from metal plates and cups was a novelty in keeping with the prison theme.
Overall, we had an excellent stay here (and Helsinki was very good too!) Only downside was that I really wanted to buy one of the metal drinking cups which had the hotel name on it (found some like this when having breakfast) as a souvenir but we were told that we couldn't! Oh well.......

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
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Hanoi
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2011

I lived in Helsinki 10 years ago and was travelling back with my family (two children under two and my husband). We wanted a central location but didn't want to pay outrageous prices. This hotel was exactly what it advertised-a unique, family friendly place in downtown Helsinki. Our room was spacious, quiet, nicely decorated and had a lovely bathroom and tub. The staff were helpful, the outdoor terrace was great on summer evenings with live music, the breakfast was wonderful with lots of choices and a great play room for my older son...a train table and many other toys! The hotel itself was a unique place and the halls still had some of a prison feel to them with stairs between levels. The number 4 tram stops right outside of the hotel so it was easy to use public transport and you are steps away from the Uspenski Cathedral and the marketplace. A wonderful hotel and an amazing city. We will be back!

Room Tip: Spacious rooms with a unique feel.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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The Hague, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
154 reviews 154 reviews
110 hotel reviews
Reviews in 90 cities Reviews in 90 cities
132 helpful votes 132 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2011

If you visit Helsinki, the Best Western Katajanokka is a good option you may consider. The location isn't a plus. It is about half an hour walking from the centre (station) and most of the restaurants and nice pubs. However, there is a tram (line 4) just stopping just in front of the hotel and that tram will take you to the centre in less than 15 minutes. Check-in brought a bit of a disappointment. The staff told me that we couldn't get the rate we found and booked on the website of Best Western (I am a member of the Best Western club). They staff told us that the room we booked was a family room and we were not travelling with children. At the time of booking, no information was given about the necessity to bring children to get the rate Best Western quoted then. We could get the room at a higher rate though. When we arrived in the room (404), it appeared to be a twin with two beds and no extra beds for children to sleep in if we had brought them along. So, we felt a bit cheated, because this defenitely was not a family room and the reason why we had to pay a higher room rate wasn't valid. The room itself was large and clean and so was the bathroom. A very high step though to get into the bathtub. Old and less flexible people will have problems there. The breakfast was adequate and worth the price. There is free wifi, but because this is a converted prison with thick walls, you can not use wifi in your room. The hotel does provide a cable for a laptop, but your I-Pad will not work with this cable. You have to step outside to get onto the Internet with an I-Pad. At reception there is also is a computer and a printer you can use free of charge. The hotel is expensive for what is on offer, but so is everything in Finland. If they hadn't cheated on the quoted roomrate, the stay would have been perfect.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2011

Service, atmosphere and cleanliness cannot be faulted. Staff are always willing to help. The hotel is an old gaol which adds an interesting quirk to staying here.

This is a recently refurbished hotel with plenty of quality facilities and service. It aint cheap...but not many hotels are in Helsinki. The fitness centre is cramped but well appointed. There's a great bar/cafe that has just started up in the courtyard of the hotel....great to unwind. Nice hotel but not easy walking distance to city centre...hire a bike though from the hotel for ten euro / day and it makes it a nice commute.

BTW the wireless internet doesnt work in some rooms because being an old goal the walls are very thick! You can plug into an ethernet port in your room though...

Room Tip: Rooms close to reception give you wireless internt
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2011

The location is a bit out of the city – probably 2km or so from the main train station – however the property itself is quite amazing. You wouldn’t call the reception staff ‘warm’ and ‘jovial’ but they were efficient and as we came to realise, the Finnish are typically conservative and quieter than people from most countries.

Obviously the hotel used to be a jail however apart from the elements they’ve kept intact (staircases, some of the internal gates) you really couldn’t tell. The rooms are medium sized (say 4m x 6m excl. bathroom), modern and clean with a really nice shower, heated bathroom floor, clean and new carpet, and a comfy bed. The TV had a variety of local and European channels including French, German and English as well as a wide selection of on-demand paid Movies. Internet is via a cable however they have many to loan out. The gym was small and with no water or towels but adequate for a couple of nights.

Breakfast is extensive with pretty much anything you could ask for – including fish and vegetables if that’s how you start your day. The eggs were cooked as you like and they even had an automatic espresso machine to give you the kick you need.

We ate at the restaurant one night and the meal was nice as were the staff – they even modified one of their dishes so that my lactose-intolerant wife could enjoy it without issues.

Whilst really nice and perfect for a business conference, as tourists in this instance we’d probably stay closer to the town next time – we walked past the GLO Hotel and we’d give that hotel a try next time.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2011

I just returned from a weekend trip to Helsinki and absolutely loved our hotel at the Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka! The hotel is close to the port where the Viking Line comes in from Stockholm and within walking distance to the center of the city. The hotel staff were incredibly friendly and accomodating. We arrived at 11:30 am at the hotel and even though check-in time wasn't until 2 pm, they provided us our rooms upon arrival. The hotel was so incredibly nice, modern and clean, and the fact that it was an old prison converted into a hotel makes the stay so much more exciting!! They have a history sheet of the old prison they gave to us, which was interesting to know the background! The rooms were incredibly comfortable with large beds and very good size bathrooms!! The breakfast area/restaurant is very nice and the breakfast selection was one of the best I've had in Europe. In the restaurant/breakfast area which used to be part of the prison they have left one cell untouched and it's really interesting to see the accomodations the prisoners once had! The hotel has a very nice terrace with an outdoor bar and tables that you can sit and enjoy! The value of the rooms were quite reasonable as well! If you visit Helsinki then staying at this hotel is a MUST!!! Absolutely loved it! I would hands down recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Helsinki!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Fort Worth, Texas
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2011

Best Western has done a very good job of renovating this former historical prison into a 4-star hotel. You can definitely tell it was a prison by the unique layout, thick brick walls and small, high windows -- but it has been renovated and decorated very tastefully and comfortably. I also really loved the small touches thrown in for fun; such as the staff members who wear black and white striped uniforms, the meals served on metal plates and with metal cups/bowls, and the Jailbird Café restaurant (which houses the breakfast buffet in the morning) and Jailbird bar in the lower level of the hotel. There were even some prison-themed souvenirs for purchase in the main lobby.

The hotel is located on the "island" of Katajanokka just southeast of the city centre of Helsinki. It's a quiet, clean, seemingly safe neighborhood with lovely art nouveau buildings -- an easy 6-8 minute walk from the Market Square and about a 15-20 minute walk from the main train station in the city centre (or catch tram #4 that stops literally right outside the front gate of the hotel).

I had a double room with two twin beds that was generously sized. The beds, linens and pillows were very comfortable, and the bathroom had a lovely shower with liquid soap, hair/body gel and a hairdryer. The bathroom even had heated tile floors, which was a nice touch. The room had a large closet (with a digital safe inside), a mini-bar, hot pot to make coffee/tea, flat screen TV, and desk/chair for my laptop. There were two connection ports for wired internet in the room (one at the desk, and one near the bed), and although I brought my own Ethernet cord, the front desk did have some to loan if you don’t have one. I found the internet connection to be very fast and reliable. The windows in the room do not open (for obvious reasons; it was a prison), but the air conditioning in the room was sufficient for circulating air. I can honestly say that we got very good sleep in this hotel, as the rooms are VERY quiet due to the thick brick walls.

The complimentary breakfast buffet was very generous, with a large selection of fruits, breads, oatmeal, plain yogurt, muesli, berries, cold cut meats, cheeses, sausages, and fried eggs (and there was a sign that said the chef would make other types of eggs, such as omelets, on request). There was also juice, milk, coffee, tea, and they had a coffee machine that would make espresso, lattes, and latte macchiatos. During the evening, the buffet space was used for the Jailbird Café, a restaurant open to the public. We found the food in the Jailbird Café to be good, but like most food in Helsinki, it was overpriced. The hotel also has an outdoor patio, where I assume food/drinks will be served, but it wasn’t open yet when we were there. It looked nice, though, in the back “yard” of the prison underneath a big tree.

The hotel also has a small lounge just near the front desk with a computer and printer where you can access the internet for free and/or print documents if you need to. There is also a secure luggage storage room where the staff will store your luggage until your room is available or after you check-out. We found the hotel staff to be friendly and helpful, and they spoke perfect English.

Overall, this was a fun and unique hotel with comfortable, high quality accommodations. The prices were a bit high for my preference – but considering all the hotels in Helsinki are priced high, this was at least a fun option for the money we were inevitably going to spend during our stay in Helsinki.

Room Tip: Check BestWestern.com and Booking.com
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka

Address: Merikasarminkatu 1a, Helsinki 00160, Finland
Phone Number:
Location: Finland > Southern Finland > Helsinki > Vironniemi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Best Value Hotel in Helsinki
#5 Luxury Hotel in Helsinki
#5 Romantic Hotel in Helsinki
#6 Business Hotel in Helsinki
#6 Family Hotel in Helsinki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka 4*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Best Western Helsinki
Helsinki Best Western

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