4 Helsinki hotels that ooze style while still being family-friendly
I’m a sucker for Scandinavian design - clean lines, chic minimalism, and an overall feeling of hospitality. In Helsinki, I found plenty of hotels embracing that Nordic design aesthetic. But these four boutique hotels have kicked it up a notch. Along with solid design, there’s color, whimsy, and surprise - making these spaces especially inviting to families. Additionally, each of these hotels has rooms that accommodate a family in a single room - not an easy find in Europe!
So if you’re traveling to Finland, stay somewhere with Finnish flair!
Photo courtesy: Hotel F6
This boutique hotel’s mantra - Escape the Ordinary - is a cheeky reference to its grim past. Hotel Katajanokka was formerly the Helsinki County Prison, nicknamed “Nokka.” The oldest part of the building dates back to 1837. After the last prisoners were transferred in 2002, the historic building underwent a major renovation. Sections of the hotel are original - the open central corridor, red brick outer walls, and high perimeter wall - and protected by the Finnish National Board of Antiquities.
As you can imagine, these prison walls can tell some stories, including the time that prisoners dug a tunnel from the men’s cell block on the 3rd floor - not to the outside - but instead to the women’s cell No. 13 on the same floor. Use your imagination!
The rooms have been reconstructed from the original cell blocks with a meter-thick brick wall between you and your nearest “cellmate” for maximum peace and quiet. Comfortably furnished, the Superior Family Room has a king-sized bed and fold-out sofa to accommodate two children. Rooms are decorated with original padlocks and keys plus historic photos. The bathroom floors are heated. Rate starts at $153/night.
The hotel gym is open to guests daily; the sauna is free for guests to use on weekend mornings. During the summer, spend some time in the prison yard (aka the courtyard terrace) with drinks and live music. The breakfast buffet here is very good.
You’ll find a wide selection of breakfast options on the complimentary buffet. Sample some Finnish specialities like Karelian pies.
The hotel is located about a 15-minute walk from Helsinki Cathedral.
Photo courtesy: Hotel Katajanooka
Paasivuorenkatu 5 B
You’ll be struck by the colorful and playful details of Scandic Paasi the moment that you walk through the door. The rainbow-striped ceiling starts in the lobby and extends through to the bar. The circus theme is a nod to the fact that this location was once the site of an actual city circus. The library is an especially inviting space with an eclectic mix of furniture and pops of turquoise and gold.
In the rooms, you’ll also find colorful touches and modern design. Some of the rooms have playing cards, board games, and even punching bags! The Superior Extra rooms can accommodate a family of four with the addition of roll-away beds for the kids. The breakfast buffet here is included in the room cost. Rate starts at $144/night.
There’s a gym or better yet, you’ll find hiking trails along Eläintarha Bay just around the corner. You can borrow a bike or walking poles. The hotel is located in the Siltasaari district near the Hakaniemi Market. It’s about a 15-minute walk to Helsinki Cathedral.
KidTripster Tip: If you have young children, you may want to consider one of the other Scandic hotels in central Helsinki. While not quite as stylish as Paasi, several of them do have kids’ playrooms, if that’s important to your family. Just pay attention to the location when booking, as it’s wise to stay in central Helsinki for convenient access to attractions.
KidTripster Tip: If you plan on going to Linnamäki amusement park, ask about the family package that includes admission.
Photo courtesy: Scandic Paasi
3/Hotel Lilla Roberts
Pieni Roobertinkatu 1
In the heart of Helsinki’s trendy Design District, you’ll appreciate the art Deco style of Hotel Lilla Roberts - that and the life-sized black horse in the lobby! The black-and-white checkerboard floors are contrasted by the very earthy wood-burning fireplace and seating area.
The rooms are richly decorated in shades of gray with chartreuse or gold accents. The Lux and Junior Suite rooms are best suited to families, but if you require more space, the Family Holiday package includes a second room at a 50% discount along with surprise gifts for the kids. Rate starts at $235/night.
Photo courtesy: Hotel Lilla Robert
Hotel F6 is such a surprise! From the outside, you’d never guess that there was a fantastic courtyard in the interior with grass (albeit artificial), bright orange bungee chairs, and four bikes ready to be borrowed by guests. In that same courtyard, owner Mia grows herbs for the hotel bar, which is an inviting space with large wood tables and pillow-stacked couches.
The rooms here have a comfortable, Nordic elegance to them. The only downside? The largest room, the Deluxe, only sleeps two adults and one child, so this designer hotel is best suited to a smaller family. The rate starts at around $242/night.
The hotel prides itself on serving a complimentary, Finnish home-style breakfast, so bring your appetite.
The hotel is a convenient 7-minute walk from Helsinki Cathedral.
If you’re looking for the best things to do with kids in Helsinki, click here.