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“Average hotel, but good value in central location”
Review of Hotel Helka

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Hotel Helka
Ranked #13 of 64 Hotels in Helsinki
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed February 5, 2013

I stayed (in fact, I still am staying!) at Helka Hotel for four nights on business in February 2013.

Helsinki as a whole isn't that welcoming at this time of year, with widespread ice and snow, and temperatures plummeting as far as -20 celsius overnight. The hotel is well placed for the central railway station (Rautatientori), but is a good 10-15 minute walk, and not easy in the snow and ice with a fully laden suitcase! Transit into town from the airport is also mainly by taxi (€50 approx) or the Finnair City Link bus service (€6.20). The hotel is also well priced at little over £100/night for a single room.

Check-in was efficient (although not that friendly), and the lobby appeared to be relatively modern. I had only booked a single room (as I was travelling alone and looking to keep costs down), and the room was of a reasonable size. Furnishings were somewhat spartan, and with wooden (rather than carpeted floors), the whole impression was a little utilitarian. Wi-fi is, however free, and widely available throughout the hotel - although slow and erratic at times.

The bathroom was somewhat bleak - being lit by a single fluorescent tube, and tiled floor to ceiling with a rather old toilet with a plastic seat. There was also no full length mirror in the room, which made it slightly difficult to check my appearance in the morning!

The room claims to have "climate control", but the thermostat seemed a little peculiar to operate. Indeed, whatever setting I made seemed to have little effect on the overall temperature of the room which remained a little too warm at all times - notably overnight, when it became uncomfortable. It was also not possible to open the (double glazed) window for some fresher, cooler air due to the noise from the street outside, and the inclement weather conditions.

I ate in the hotel restaurant on several occasions, which offered decent enough food, at reasonable prices (for Helsinki!). Even wine was not too expensive at around €6 a glass - almost unheard of in this city!

The hotel feels a little tired. Soft furnishings around the hotel were worn, and parts of my room could have done with maintenance, replacement and re-decoration.

Overall, a reasonably priced, central choice if money is an issue. Standards of cleanliness appeared OK, but attention needs to be given to detail, air conditioning, overall maintenance and the welcome given by reception staff if the hotel is to become better. I would certainly consider staying here again, but would perhaps upgrade to a better standard (twin) room.

Room Tip: Avoid single rooms
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled on business
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Thank lexy1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomas H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Helka, responded to this reviewResponded February 14, 2013

Dear Lexy1968,

Thank you for your detailed review. There was plenty of valuable information for us to improve our service and facilities!

We are sorry to hear that the first impression at check in wasn´t as friendly as it should have been. This shouldn´t be the case - not even during rush hour check in times. We´ll have discussion together on this matter.

Our rooms have cooling ventilation system so it is not actually a full climate control. The cooling is on during summer times and during winter time the heating comes from the radiators. You are right that the system control panel has been a bit confusing. For that reason we have placed this week instructions to all rooms referring the heating and ventilation system.

Thank you for pointing all these inconveniences out - including the need for maintenance in specific areas. We wish you a happy Valentine´s Day and a warm Welcome back to Helka!

Lämpimin terveisin
Thomas Högdahl
Hotelli Helka

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Reviewed February 5, 2013

Clean comfortable hotel with unique design. The room is small, but very effectively placed. The beds are comfortable, good quality bed linen, as always in Finland. Warm, but not stifling.
Everything works. Delicious.
I recommend this hotel for everyone.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank mfs78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomas H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Helka, responded to this reviewResponded February 6, 2013

Dear mfs78,

Thank you very much for your kind review!
We wish you a warm Welcome again to our casual stylish Hotel.

Lämpimin terveisin
Thomas Högdahl
Hotelli Helka

p.s. Nice picture!

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Reviewed February 1, 2013

I stayed at Helka for 3 days, mainly due to that I got an excellent offer. The location is very good. The room that I stayed in was for 1 person, and it really meant that as it was quite small and with a bed for 1 person only. But considering the price, it was ok.
On the first glance the hotel seemed a bit on the lower end, but then I visited the bar, the restaurant and sauna. The hotel has actually its own style and atmosphere, that would be the Finnish style furniture and interior. Nature is a big part of the whole concept.

With some smaller additional touches, maybe taking the style and nature concept even a bit further in areas like elevator, floor carpets, TV visuals and bathroom, and the hotel could be exceptional. Overall, for the price I paid, the experience was very good.

Room Tip: I had a room right by the elevator, which was partly annoying as you could hear the bling from the e...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled on business
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3  Thank Kai H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomas H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Helka, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2013

Dear Kai H,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience! We are pleased that you chose Helka and that you enjoyed your stay.

Thank you also for all the additional ideas to our concept. We are constantly trying to find new ways to improve our service and the atmosphere. You are right that there are still possibilities to expand the concept inside the hotel.

We will also inform the elevator maintenance company to mute the bling. Thank you for pointing this inconvenience out!

Welcome again to even better Helka!

Lämpimin terveisin
Thomas Högdahl
Hotelli Helka

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Reviewed January 28, 2013

Spent 1 night in last summer (Jul/2012). This is a really nice boutique hotel, with lovely decor. Rooms are a little bit smaller that I like, but with amazing details (would not ruin your experience, check it by yourself). Only downside was the breakfast schedule. We arrived very late in the night and woke up for breakfast some minutes before it would be closing. At 10 o'clock sharp they dimmer the lights and don't allow you to pick-up from the buffet anymore. In my opinion this is a little bit unpolite but OK, we need to adapt ourselves to local habits....

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank e1000lewing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomas H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Helka, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

Dear e1000lewing,

Thank you for your honest review! We are happy to hear that you have enjoyed our Finnish design decor and atmosphere.

We would like to apologize for the inconvenience at the end of our breakfast time. During the weekdays the breakfast ends at 10am and the lunch buffet starts at 11am. So we have only one hour after the breakfast to clean up the restaurant and prepare the whole lunch buffet. That is the reason why we need to be efficient during that time and to be rather precise about the informed breakfast times.

However we should be able to do this without making us feel unpolite. Thank you for the feedback as now we know how we can improve our service to the next level.

We wish you warmly Welcome to Helka again!

Lämpimin terveisin
Thomas Högdahl
Hotelli Helka

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Reviewed January 26, 2013

I stayed one night in Helka Hotel in Jan 2013. Here is my feedback (all positive)

Location - (1) If you are arriving into Helsinki airport, take the FinnAir City bus, it will drop you within 3-4 minutes of the hotel. (2) If you are taking a train, the main train station is also 3-4 minute walk, right next to the bus station. (3) If you are arriving at the port, like I did on a ferry from Tallinn, there is a direct streetcar (I think No. 9), which drops you within 4-5 blocks. There are lot of street-car routes within a 3-block radius. So location-wise, it can't get any better. There are quite a few restaurants (albeit fast food) within a block, but you can of course walk toward the bus/train station, where the options are lot more.

Hotel & rooms - Great value for money. As some other reviews have mentioned, the decor in the room is funky, and everything works. The night I was there, it was 27 degrees Celsius BELOW zero outside, but the heater kept the room comfortable. Breakfast spread is very good. What amazed me was the size of the "singe" bed room. On the same trip I had stayed in some really tiny "single" rooms, but this one was nice and big. There is a bar/cafe downstairs near the reception, but it's open only some hours of the morning and then in the evening. I did not use the restaurant.

Staff - *Extremely* friendly. When I reached there, I realized that the website through which I booked (Gala Hotels) had goofed up, and the hotel never got my confirmation. However, the lady at the reception was very friendly and warned me that this had happened before with this agency. She assured me I would get a room that night, got me a cup of coffee and also talked with the folks at Gala Hotels. Eventually it got figured out.

so, overall great place to stay if you want to use the public transport, and if you want to attend trade shows or something (like I did in Pasila).

A couple of general comments:

- Be careful while booking through Gala Hotels - they have a UK number, but they are based in Turkey, and it is difficult to get a hold of them, especially when you run into problems. And if you call their customer service, all they tell you is "we are sorry, but please have patience, we will get back to you" - Imagine someone telling you this when it is 27 degrees below zero outside, and you have come to a hotel to find out that there is no reservation

- When traveling on a commuter train in Helsinki, you can have to buy a ticket before you board the train, and most of the automatic ticket machines didn't seem to take cash. they accept only the cards with chips. You can buy ticket on the train, but only on certain compartments - so just be careful.

Hope this helps.

Room Tip: I stayed in Room 608, and in spite of being a "single" room, it was very spacious, with a...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank MapsAndStories
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomas H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Helka, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

Dear MapsAndStories,

Thank you very much for your review and for all the information to our future guests. You really took the time to share your tips and the local information! We are pleased that you saw the real winter with nice and cool weather as at the moment it is about +1 degrees with wet snow all over..

You are right that there are some unreliable Online Travel Agents that have some problems with their bookings. We always recommend to book directly from the hotel as it is the most reliable way.

Greetings from Eeva - she was happy to help you with this issue =)
Hope to see you soon again at Helka...maybe next time during summer!

Lämpimin terveisin
Thomas Högdahl
Hotelli Helka

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Reviewed January 22, 2013 via mobile

Stayed for 2 nights and this hotel was a refreshing encounter compared to the chain-hotels. Unique rooms with very nice design pieces, good location and friendly staff. Breakfast was good and served in a relaxing setting. Will certainly return.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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1  Thank MKSLFM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomas H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Helka, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

Dear MKSLFM,

Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion! We are very pleased that you enjoyed the unik Helka atmosphere.

We wish you happy beginning of the year 2013 and hope to see you soon again!

Lämpimin terveisin
Thomas Högdahl
Hotelli Helka

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2013

I have stayed at the Helka hotel three times (once with my friend and twice with my husband) and I would definitely stay again.
Prices were reasonable and it's a lovely little hotel in a gorgeous city.
The staff were polite and friendly and were happy to book a taxi for us when it was time to leave.
Breakfast was included in the price, it was served quite early so not ideal if you are the type of person who likes a lie in on a morning. You could just help yourself to the breakfast food, it had some hot food, including bacon, sausages and scrambled eggs which were all very nice and standard cold breakfast food such as cereal, toast, buns, sliced meat and cheeses and fruit. There was also tea, coffee and a few different juices available.
The breakfast area is rather small and was very busy at times, but we always managed to find a seat.

The room:
The room was decorated in typical Scandinavian style and was very clean, rooms had recently been updated and everything seemed to be of a high standard.

The hotel had a sauna and a large jacuzzi tub which we had to pay to use.

The hotel was approximately a 5-10 minute walk to the main shopping/restaurant area and approximately a 15 minute walk to the harbor. The street was fairly quiet and felt very safe. There was a nightclub next door but I'm not sure if it's closed because we never heard any music or saw any people crowding around it.

It was a beautiful (underrated) city which was very clean and felt very safe. We had a wonderful time, shopping, dining out and looking at the sights (we even took a boat to the Helsinki zoo one day which was fun.) Overall a lovely holiday, we will definitely be back in the future and would be more than happy to stay at the Helka hotel again and we would recommend it to friends and family.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank B L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thomas H, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Helka, responded to this reviewResponded January 18, 2013

Dear B L,

Greetings from sunny and cold Helsinki and thank you very much for the detailed review of Helka.

Our breakfast is served in our restaurant on midweek from 6:30am to 10:00am and on weekend from 7:00am to 10:30am. On midweek the lunch buffet serving begins at 11:00am and on weekend the restaurant serves a la carte beginning from noon. The lunch and a la carte serving sets time limit to the breakfast serving as the restaurant needs to be prepared beforehand.

We think it´s good to wake up at latest that time so that there is enough time to explore our beutiful city ;)

Thank you once again and we wish you warmly Welcome to Helka again!

Ystävällisin terveisin
Thomas Högdahl
Hotelli Helka

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Helka

Address: Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 23, Helsinki 00100, Finland
Phone Number:
Location: Finland > Uusimaa > Helsinki
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Romantic Hotel in Helsinki
#11 Green Hotel in Helsinki
#11 Family Hotel in Helsinki
#13 Luxury Hotel in Helsinki
#20 Business Hotel in Helsinki
Price Range: $111 - $218 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Helka 4*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Casual Elegance inspired by Finnish Design and Nature! Only 250 meters from Kamppi Metro Station, privately owned Hotel Helka offers 150 functional rooms, fine dining and a cozy street bar. All the rooms have design furniture and a strong sense of Finnish nature. All of the rooms have air-cooling system, minibars and flat-screen TVs. Breakfast buffet, use of Sauna and WiFi connection are complimentary for all guests. Hotel Helka is housed in a refurbished 1920s building. The bright rooms feature decor by Artek and other well-known Finnish design brands and designers. Guests can enjoy drinks and snacks in Helka’s trendy Lobby Bar. Helka’s central location provides easy access to shopping, dining and culture. Helsinki Central Station is 10 minute walk away. Welcome to the Heart of Helsinki! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Helka Hotel Helsinki

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