Monday, August 5, 2013

Hotel Review: Hilton Helsinki Strand's Awful Rooms

When we went to Helsinki in June we stayed 3 nights at the Hilton Helsinki Strand which is located just a few kilometers from the city center. We arrived by taxi in the early afternoon. It was a rainy day but it was on and off and a little chilly. My first impression of the hotel is that it was quite old and dated. There is a lot of tile work with brass trim everywhere. About 30+ years ago this would have been a nice modern hotel. Today it is a little sad. The hotel is an atrium style design, which was also big in the 80s.

This is the check-in area from the hotel website.
Hilton Helsinki Strand Hotel - Hotel Lobby

Check in was very fast and efficient. We were given room 424 which had a harbor view. We also had access to the executive lounge located on the 7th floor. Our room was large by European standards and we had a nice view of the harbor. The room as old and sort of dirty, but very warm. The air conditioning wouldn't go below 25C but it felt warmer than that. Cool air was not coming out of the vents. A neat feature of the room was that the bathroom had heated floors and a heated towel rack. 

Our bathroom looked just like this one. This photo is from their website.
Hilton Helsinki Strand Hotel - Bathroom

Our room looked just like this one. This photo is from their website.
Hilton Helsinki Strand Hotel - King Guest Room Plus

This is the base of the little table.

Stains on the carpet.

Even more stains on the carpet.

The curtain pull was bent. I don't even know how that would happen.

The air conditioning didn't work and room was so hot all the time. It made for some very uncomfortable sleep. The room never got below this temperature which is about 80F, while it was in the low 60s outside. Opening the window didn't really seem to help except letting in mosquitos. On the first night, I realized there were tons of mosquitos on the ceiling. I killed at least 10 of them but there were more in the room because I was bit every night we were there. 

Dirt or stains on the lamp shade.

The breakfast buffet held on the ground floor was pretty good. They had several hot items and lots of pastries and local Finnish items too including egg butter and pickled fish. This is the view of the dining area from a higher level.

This looking up at the top of the atrium.

Much of the hallways lining the atrium had glass barriers.

We made good use of the executive lounge every day to get water, coffee, or other refreshments. In the afternoon teatime and happy hour they served snacks and light food items. In the early evening the lounge became quite crowded with people. The views were very nice too.

This is what the lounge looked like. This photo is from their website.
 Hilton Helsinki Strand Hotel - Executive Lounge Area

This is the view from one side of the lounge.

The gym, saunas, and pool were located on the top floor. They are all accessed through this door using your room key. The gym was on the small side and down the hallway toward the pool were 4 different sauna rooms. They are separated by gender and the other two are used for private reservations. When I went to take pictures there was no one using any of the facilities.

The small gym.

The pool area with some chilly water.

This aquarium was right next to the pool and you can see right through it.

The view from the pool area of the inner courtyard. 

Another view of the courtyard.

 This is the male changing room with the sauna adjacent and a terrace. 

This is the entrance again. 

Besides the hotel being very old, the facilities were nice enough. They weren't modern, just nice. The location was very close to the trams and the metro. Each was a block away, the Hakaniemi stop. There is also an outdoor and indoor market, the Hakaniemi market, right across the street. As for the neighborhood the hotel is in, there were other areas of Helsinki that were more interesting. As for the rooms, because they were so dated and terrible I am not sure I would elect to stay here again. There is another Hilton hotel located somewhat outside of the city, but is more modern and less dated.