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“A unique place to stay”
Review of Hotel Katajanokka

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Hotel Katajanokka
Ranked #5 of 63 Hotels in Helsinki
Certificate of Excellence
Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A unique place to stay”
Reviewed 26 August 2014

This is a unique hotel which has merged the old prison features with modern amenities very well. It feels like an interesting place to be compared to a generic modern hotel. Our room was large, which was a pleasant surprise (right beside the lift; maybe 2 or 3 cells knocked into one?). The thick prison walls meant it was very quiet, so along with a comfortable bed this made for very sound sleep every night. Staff spoke excellent English and were very helpful. Breakfast was good, with a selection of hot and cold options and a selection of fresh bread. A couple of minor changes would have made the morning experience even better, e.g. there was only one two-slice toaster, which was quite slow (so not ideal at busy times) and the coffee machine was somewhat temperamental. The hotel is conveniently situated on tram line 4, with a stop right outside so you can access the rest of the city easily. Alternatively, a walk to the market place at moderate pace took about 15 minutes. Overall, a unique stay in a great location and pretty good value for money.

Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Gingerpie123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (137)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 August 2014

What a great stay in such a cool hotel. We traveled with our 15 month old and it was perfect. Big wide hallways and a nice garden for him to practice his walking skills. And the super thick prison walls meant nothing would wake him up...nor any of his crying waking others. The tram outside the "walls" made it super convenient to get downtown although we often walked as its such a nice neighborhood. The breakfast was excellent with a wide selection of hot and cold foods...including some Finnish specialties. The only thing that may bother some people is that the wifi in the rooms is poor (they are prison walls!). But the hotel compensated with lots of comfortable seating in the common areas.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1 Thank BinGeneva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2014

Great location and superb prison theme. Our room (321) had the prison bars in front of the door which made the whole experience very authentic.
Quiet and clean room with a lovely view into the court yard. Nice decor although paint work on walls a little tired. The windows did not open which made the room a bit stuffy. TV foreign channels did not work during the stay.
Bathroom small however well equipped. Bath tub wall too high that even my 190 cm husband had issues stepping in and out to have a shower.
Reception staff was very friendly and helpful. Good tram link to rest of city.
Breakfast was slightly disappointing. Bread was dry and very little left. Tables dirty as staff did not have time to clear after guests. Nice room and we loved the idea eating food prison style (from metal plates and cups) plus all the staff were wearing black and white stripes.
Overall a nice experience but could be made better with small improvements.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank MsJenzen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
118 reviews
97 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2014

I loved my stay here - it was fun to wander the corridors and see the isolation cell, and the terrace restaurant was great situated in the old exercise yard.

Rooms are a little small (they were prison cells after all!) but very modern and very clean - everything was so well maintained it all looked brand new. Sparkling clean bathroom with a good shower including 'rain forest' shower head. All amenities you would expect of a 4 star hotel and the hand wash/body wash was excellent.

The included breakfast is fine - it has plenty of cold choices but not many hot options - and in keeping with the theme it's served on tin plates and mugs!

The free wifi didn't work in my room (right at the end of a corridor) but people were connecting ok on the seats in the corridors and I used an ethernet cable which worked well in my room.

Gym is small but functional, sauna is expensive but you have to give it a go when in Finland!

Staff are nice and friendly and dress in 'prison stripes' uniforms!

Location is good - a little out of the city centre but easily walkable or catch the tram directly outside, and handy for the Viking Line ferry (5 minutes walk).

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled solo
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank Steve T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seinajoki, Finland
Level Contributor
264 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2014

Good value for money, friendly staff, roo was nice, even quite small for family... (look my door-photo)
This hoten is good old prison near city centre. Tram number 4 going just behind maindoor, and it takes few minutes city centre and exp. hard rock cafe.
Hotel has few car parking place but it takes 15-20euros /day.
Good anf nice and qiuet area. Childrenroom is okay...

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
3 Thank J11P33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milton Keynes UK
Level Contributor
70 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2014

On the whole this is a great hotel. The fact that it used to be a prison extra adds an extra air of quirkiness – and as one of the 'premier' versions of the chain, it certainly seems to be a cut above the average Best Western. I was staying in a twin room with my sister, for three nights. We had a premier room, which was a good size, with nice big windows and a decent sized bathroom - with bath, and shower over. We were very pleased with the room, and it was spotlessly clean, although the orange striped carpet would not be to everyone's taste!

We had two main concerns with the room, the first one being that the windows did not open, and it was impossible to turn the air conditioning off. The week before had been very hot and so the air conditioning make the room quite cold, and when we asked if they could turn it up, we were told this was not possible. So despite turning the dial to maximum – there was still a definite chill in the air every time we walked into the room. The receptionist told us that when we took the key card out of the slot (when we left the room, turn the lights off) the air conditioning would go off as well – but this was incorrect. We tried it overnight but the fan kept humming and the room stayed chilly. She also told us that if we were cold, there was a heater in the wardrobe – which indeed there was, and which we used - it was very effective. However, in this age of energy conservation, I find it bizarre that they make you have air conditioning on which uses energy, and heating on which uses energy - rather than being able to simply turn off the air conditioning and open the windows if needs be!

The other issue we had was that the housekeeping services were rather erratic. In the main, as I said, everything was very clean - but dirty glasses were not removed or washed, and the little bottles of shower gel not replaced after the first day - despite it being obvious we'd used it all up. They were replaced the following day though. Yet the maid had time to fold the duvet neatly under itself - in a rectangle which then sits on top of the bed, and you have to unfold it and almost remake bed! We put this down to being some sort of a Finnish quirk.

The hotel restaurant – The Jailbird — is in the basement and this was absolutely excellent. We ate in there twice, as restaurant prices in town were astronomical – whereas the hotel was relatively well priced, though still €20 to €30 for a main course. The steak was one of the best I've ever had, and the burger was also very good – or so my sister told me. I have to say we took our own wine to dinner in brimming wine glasses, as alcohol prices in restaurants are ridiculous in Helsinki - around €7 for as little as 120ml.

On that note, Google 'Alko' for details of alcohol shops, as they don't sell anything other than light beer in supermarkets - we found a great one in the Stockmann department store and got good bottles of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for around €10 (vs €40 or more for the same in a restaurant), which we then kept in the mini-bar. There are also ice machines on some floors in the hotel, and wine glasses in the rooms. One other thing to mention for us Brits - unexpectedly, there was a kettle and tea making stuff in the room - which was a nice surprise. One word of warning, take your own teabags!

Breakfast was also excellent, with lovely fresh bread and croissants baked on the premises – and a large selection of fruits, cold meats and so on. Only two types of cereal though - a Finnish Cheerios equivalent and some muesli! Plus excellent mini ring doughnuts (sugar and chocolate coated versions), which made handy snacks throughout the day as well. There was an attempt at hot food, a kind of omelette thing, and some bacon, sausages and fried eggs – but these were not quite 'English fry up' standard!

One thing I must mention is that there was one particular lady on reception who we felt was in serious need of some customer service training - hotel management take note! All of the other staff were absolutely delightful but this one lady, who I believe was probably quite senior, was extremely abrupt, sarcastic and not particularly helpful. I will only describe her as having short spiky hair and glasses, but I'm sure you will know who she if you have the misfortune to be served by her. We christened her 'the Rottweiler'. I cannot stress enough though how extremely helpful, pleasant and accommodating the other members of staff were.

In summary, this is an excellent hotel to stay in. It is a little bit further out of the centre – on Katajanokka, which is technically an island but joined by roads - but it is only a 10 minute walk to the waterfront, and the number four tram stops right outside, so you can be in town, near all the shops, in about five minutes. The hotel is also five minutes walk to the port for the Viking line which goes to Tallin - another must-do if staying in Helsiki. Plan ahead though, we paid E46 for two on a Friday, but the same ticket on the Saturday would have been double.

The other main recommendation of things to do would be the €5 boat trip to the island of Suomenlinna which goes from the waterfront - or the price is also included in the 24 hour €8 tram/bus ticket, so this is a great way to get about cheaply. On that note, to get from the airport, take the 615 bus from bus stop 21 to the train station for just €5 (payable on board), then the no. 4 tram to the hotel. Taxis are expensive, and even more on Sundays.

Price for a twin room for three nights at the hotel was around €300 with Booking.com, so not too badly priced at all we thought. I would definitely recommend it is a good option when staying in Helsinki, and unlike many hotel restaurants, The Jailbird is somewhere I would go out of my way to visit again.

Room Tip: This used to be a prison, so the cell rooms are fun, but the wifi doesn't go through the walls...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1 Thank TDMB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
85 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2014

Everything about the hotel was lovely, the staff, the rooms etc. Breakfast let it down. Not the quality but the chaos. I think they need more staff or someone in charge. The second morning especially the breakfast room looked like wetherspoons on a busy sunday afternoon. Every table was dirty, full of used crockery and left over food. We cleared our table and saw one girl fighting a losing battle to clear the rest. There were no cups for coffee, glasses for juice. Bread two days running was not replenished for the toaster.
Secondly our room was half cleaned!! My towel left in a heap on the side, wet, the sink full of toothpaste etc. Just get some more staff when you know it's going to be busy.

  • Stayed August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank shirty58
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
Region: Finland > Uusimaa > Helsinki > Vironniemi
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 Best Value Hotel in Helsinki
#5 Business Hotel in Helsinki
#5 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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