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“Excellent Hotel with Unique History”
Review of Hotel Katajanokka

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Hotel Katajanokka
Ranked #6 of 63 Hotels in Helsinki
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
59 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Excellent Hotel with Unique History”
Reviewed April 26, 2013

My husband and I just returned from a two week adventure in Scandinavia. After traveling by plane, train, bus, subway, and ship across Norway and Sweden, we were so happy to stay in a room that was large by European standards, at a very reasonable price.

Room
Our room was very spacious compared to other places we stayed on our visit. The bathroom was nice and big with excellent hardware in the shower. Some people might have an issue with the shower however, as there was only slightly foggy glass separating the view from the room into the shower--got some nice views of my husband! If you're rooming with someone you don't want seeing you naked, that might not work out for you. Bed was comfortable with lots of pillows. Free wi-fi is available, but due to the thick walls of the rooms, we had trouble getting reception in our room unless we stood right next to the door.

Restaurant
Buffet breakfast was very good with lots of fresh fruit. You can order hot items like scrambled eggs, omelettes, and bacon from the cook. There were two mornings we had to leave the hotel before breakfast was served and the hotel provided us with packed breakfasts. We really appreciated their effort, but being there for the buffet is much better, as the breakfasts-to-go only consisted of one piece of bread, one piece of cheese, a couple pieces of lettuce and apple juice.

Dinner in the restaurant was too expensive for the portion that was served. The food was decent, but for almost 30$ a plate, there just was not enough food. The chocolate dessert with mango sorbet was fantastic though. We considered going again the next night just for dessert.
We had cheaper and much more filling meals at the Nepalese restaurant, Mount Everest, just two blocks away.

Front Desk
The women working the front desk were always very friendly. I wish I remembered the name of the girl who helped us when we found out our flight back to the US had been canceled! She helped us figure out the proper numbers to call to try to arrange a different flight and also let us use the phone in the lobby. Thank you so much!! They also have a computer available with a printer. Very very helpful.

Location
By the time we arrive to Helsinki (our 6th city on our whirlwind trip) we were pretty exhausted and didn't explore as much as I would have liked, but the 4T and 4 tram stop right outside the hotel and make it very easy to get around. The main shopping area is not too far a walk either. There didn't seem to be many restaurants in the close vicinity of the restaurant though, (like within 5 blocks). The area felt quiet and safe.

Overall we had a fantastic stay here and I highly recommend it! The prison history is great but the rooms and common areas are very warm so don't worry about it being creepy. Definitely check out the cells on the bottom floor though!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank bffchic22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (137)
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Bucharest
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2013

Beautiful hotel with a heritage history! It was a prison until 10 years ago. All the rooms are former cells.
The staff were exceptional and the hotel was clean and modern. There is a tram stop right out the front door or it's a 10-15 min walk into the town centre.

Would definitely return

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Bianca H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riyadh
Level Contributor
253 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2013

The concept of this hotel is what intrigued me when I was looking for a place to stay in Helsinki. I'm happy that we booked here because this property has a lot going for it.

We arrived at the train station from St. Petersburg and took a taxi to the hotel. It's a quick 15minute drive and you see a lot of the city on the way in. At first I thought I had made a bad choice and the hotel was so remotely located, but I was wrong.

The checkin process was very smooth and friendly and the lady had us in our room within 10minutes. The lobby on the first floor felt like a 5-star jail in a sense ... they still had the staircases, and of course the corridor feel with rooms on either side was a very interesting touch.

The room was VERY nice - can't stress this enough. The space wasn't much, but somehow the layout made it feel very comfortable. We LOVED the bathroom - again, minimalistic but very functional and clean.

The breakfast was the best part - not the food itself, which was decent, but the dungeon feel was great. It was a dark cave like room with wooden tables and chairs which added to the whole feel of the experience. There was a nice play room for the kids, which was a welcome addition, since we were able to enjoy our breakfast.

The location turned out to be great - close to the port, which was great since we had an early morning ferry to Riga on our exit, and the it's a quick, very pleasant 15minute walk to the city center. The place was within walking distance of some restaurants and very nice grocery store where we bought some local stuff to take back with us.

If you're looking for a good, clean, convenient and very unique experience - look no further :)

Room Tip: Get a room in the old part of the hotel - the former jail area
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Mohammed B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
43 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed April 12, 2013

Very nice place ! It was a prison until 10 years ago ...
All the rooms are former cells :)
Everything in the hotel looks like a prison - from the walls outside, the staircases, the staff which is dressed like prisoners :) the dining room, the dishes (silver plated).
Shower was great !!! Would definitely return

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank EranBr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bury St. Edmunds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We loved this hotel and would definitely return. The staff were exceptional and the renovations were expertly done and the hotel was quirky yet clean and modern. There is a tram stop (number 4) right out the front door or its a 10-15 min walk into the town centre.

If you want a hotel that feels a little different yet is up to modern standard this is the one for you!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank lianne26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gothenburg, Sweden
Level Contributor
47 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2013

A beautiful hotel with a very heritage history. This was Helsinki jail from 1837 to 2002 and s on lease to the best western property. They have preserved the old jail building with huge renovation and also added a new wing but the selling point of the hotel are the solitary confinement room n the group cell. The dinning area is well done and they have kept the theme of the jail throughout the hotel, from the staff wearing jail costume as a part of their uniform to the cutlery used. Very close to the city centre, white cathedral, esplanade and of course the cruise line terminals. The rooms are cozy n quite big with the crib. N the view of the jail yard from our room made it so special.

Room Tip: The view of the jail yard is lovely.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Paddybailur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tallinn, Estonia
Level Contributor
73 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2013

BW Permier Katajanokka hotel was a prison until 2002, so it is a bit different hotel than the others. From those times they have left a lot to interior - light-rich corridors with metal stairs and absolutely soundproofed rooms. I had quite a large double room, enough place for suitcases and clothes. Flatscreen TV with also some international channels (BBS, CNN), coffee and tea making facilities, ironboard with iron, minibar and in-room safe. So there was absolutely all I could wish for. Beds were comfortable, but pillows were a bit stiff for me (still there was several pillows to choose from).Even though as in prison, rooms have small windows, my room was light and nice, so it didn't bother. Airconditioning works very silently, but I would have liked to open the windows, as former prison has a large backyard and there is no streetnoise. Definitely one of the most silent hotels where I have stayed, so excellent sleep quality.
Bathroom was comfortable and big enough. Liquid soaps and shampoos are mounted to the wall and smell terrible, so bring your own.
Breakfast was served in basement, restaurant called Jailbird. A bit dark place with rustic furniture, but gives you a good idea, how it looked during prison time. Breakfast offer was OK - fried eggs, porridge, yoghurt and cereals and all other stuff you need for breakfast. I was thankful for coffee automate, but it took time to get out a cup of caffe latte (appr 5 times pressing different buttons).
Hotel staff is extraordinary - so open and helpful. Hotel is a bit off from prime centre, but Harbour market is within walking distance and tram stop is just in front of the hotel (tram nr 4), so it is a central location in a nice quiet spot.
I would definitely return.

Room Tip: Room 310 looked a bit bigger than the rest (on the map)
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kai R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Katajanokka

Property: Hotel Katajanokka
Address: Merikasarminkatu 1a, Helsinki 00160, Finland
Location: Finland > Uusimaa > Helsinki > Vironniemi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Helsinki
#5 Business Hotel in Helsinki
#5 Best Value Hotel in Helsinki
#6 Luxury Hotel in Helsinki
#8 Family Hotel in Helsinki
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Katajanokka 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Best Western Helsinki
Helsinki Best Western

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