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.
- 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