STAY HELSINKI: ST GEORGE HOTEL
Quick- Don’t overthink, Don’t dig your brain, Definitely don’t google it- 3 things you know about Helsinki. If you blanked- I’ll forgive you. If you said DESIGN, then you’re definitely on the path I was on.
I’ll be honest- any time I thought of Helsinki (or Finland more broadly), my immediate go to was Finnish Design. Much like the rest of the Nordic countries, Finland is also known for having popularized the brand of design characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality. So I was rather excited about a stay at the brand new Hotel St. George in Helsinki. I knew I would be in for a design treat- oh how I love lovely spaces. Sidenote: All hotels, please take note- Most of the time, Less is indeed more.
LOCATION: Perfect location for exploring the city and walking distance to all the shops, parks and dining you’ll need. It sits across from the Old Church park and the building is striking once you see it, especially from across the street. Older, historic buildings is really where Europe for the most part has USA (much younger country, so not it’s fault) beat.
ROOM DESIGN: Not surprisingly, the rooms had that Nordic flair, but not so minimal as to be cold or inhospitable. I actually felt that there was a perfect balance of neutral tones that didn’t feel bland and somehow managed to make one feel welcome. I actually thought there was a lot of warmth in the space. Interestingly enough, most of the hotels furnishings are actually available for sale at the Finnish Design Shop, so check it out.
FOOD: The complimentary breakfast was served every day from 6AM -10AM. The restaurant space felt much more elegant than some full scale restaurants. The range of options was varied, every pastry and bread you’d need as well as so many alternatives for those with dietary restrictions.I spotted gluten free and low lactose, or dairy free options. Eggs were made to order from what I believe was a wood burning stove (the kind you’d use for pizza) and service was attentive without being overbearing. Around the corner from the restaurant was a little cafe (St George Bakery & Bar) that became my go to for their fruit smoothies and for a quick bite before or after long walks in the city.
SERVICE: I often delicately ask (don’t want to be obnoxious) when I arrive at a hotel for some kind of accommodation. Often, I know I would be taking pictures so I often request one with good light, big windows or higher up with less obstructions. The staff were so very busy that weekend as they had been open for barely 2 weeks and were planning a large opening event with all of Helsinki’s best. In spite of what could have been a chaotic period and an unreasonable request, the staff were so attentive, followed through, personally walked me through a few different room options to make sure I was happy. Even though very single one of them had been on the job for so little time, they were professional but warm. Those interactions were very welcome and they made every effort to accommodate all my requests.
OVERALL: I think Now is the time to visit. Their rates are currently quite reasonable but I imagine as more people discover them, their rates will go up. So now is a good time to visit. Unlike me, make sure to visit their Library, as well as their Spa and Playground Gym.