As travellers who like the finer hotel rooms in life, we always find Scandinavia tricky when it comes to finding hotels of the standard we’ve *ahem* become accustomed to. Oslo has The Thief and Copenhagen has Hotel Nobis – and now we can happily add Helsinki’s newest boutique hotel, the St. George, to the list of TheLuxeologist approved boutique Nordic properties.
Housed in a 19th-century seven-storey Neo-Renaissance building that was once home to the Finnish Literature Society, Hotel St. George has kept its ethos firmly rooted in the arts. The property is a member of Design Hotels, boasting not just elevated Scandic styling but also an impressively curated art collection of over 300 pieces throughout the hotel. In fact, the striking art pieces are perhaps the first thing you may notice about the St. George, given the enormous Ai Weiwei sculpture hanging from the ceiling of the entrance lobby. Entitled Tianwu, the floating ‘polycephalic dragon’ constructed from bamboo and silk is the artist’s only piece displayed in a public space. Rather impressive feat, whoever negotiated that deal.
In true European style, the hotel boasts 153 rooms (comprising six different configurations) but just five suites. We took the highest of the ‘room’ categories for a spin, the ‘Atelier with balcony’. And balcony, it certainly did have. Our 6th floor abode boasted a rather large one, overlooking Old Church Park (which is, unsurprisingly, a park adjoining an old church) – a lovely spot for gazing upon the beauty of Helsinki’s majestic architecture and its many trees shedding their gloriously gold leaves in fall. The balcony is separated from the room by two sets of doors to keep the Nordic chill where it should be (i.e. not in the room), much appreciated when temps in fall still sit around the 6-11C mark.
The comfy Duxiana bed is topped with a plethora of down and feather pillows to choose from, with a 55″ TV in front should you feel like catching up on world events or perhaps something a little less serious. Sadly there’s no Nespresso machine, just a kettle and instant coffee (why must you eschew coffee machines Scandinavia, why?!?) but lovers of bubbly water will be impressed by the Soda Stream machine provided in-room so you can turn your oh-so-pure Nordic tap water into its livelier incarnation (still, give me a good coffee any day). There’s a mini bar fridge too if you want to chill BYO beverages.
The bedside thankfully has USB ports for charging, as the plugs aren’t international – but housekeeping whisked an adapter up to this forgetful, sleep-deprived traveller in record speed, so, crisis averted. A spacious, marble-laden bathroom boasts a walk-in shower and full-size bath, with super fluffy towels and good quality robes and slippers to relax in after a day in Helsinki’s icy climes.
Hotel St. George also offers dining options on site – a bakery, the beautiful Wintergarden bar and Restaurant Andrea, overseen by Mehmet Gurs of Istanbul’s acclaimed Mikla. It’s also the venue for breakfast, and while we think that’s an area that could be improved on (see Hotel Nobis‘ amazing artisan brekkie spread), it’s the place to head to if you feel like a bit of Turkish/Nordic fusion come nightfall. (Don’t miss the innovative cocktails at Wintergarden.)
When it comes to location, Hotel St. George has it in spades. Helsinki’s main shopping promenade is just one block away, and many of the cities bars and restaurants within walking distance. Service is friendly and surprisingly, extremely prompt, whether you need a new key because you’ve misplaced it in your room, again (er, not us) or forgotten something and need amenities brought delivered (again, definitely, er, not us).
Hotel St. George is definitely our pick if you’re visiting the Finnish capital. Cosy, comfy and stylish, its just what the weary (and of course, discerning) traveller needs. ‘Atelier with Balcony’ rooms are priced at a reasonable (by Nordic standards) 315 Euros per night including taxes and fees.
What’s your favourite hotel in Scandinavia? Let us know in the comments below…
For more details, visit the Hotel St. George website.