Ah, hotels! Even after hundreds of hotel check-ins all over the world, it’s always nice to check in to a new one. I spent a couple of luxurious, peaceful days at Hilton Helsinki Strand during the MATKA Travel Fair in Helsinki. And I wasn’t alone: my tiny dog Einari was warmly welcomed to join me.
Together with E, we managed to get some work done and go for incredibly beautiful winter walks in Hakaniemi, the beautiful home to a famous market place and endless sea shores and views in Helsinki city centre.
Hilton Helsinki Strand takes pride in their Nordic design and nature inspired decor. Once you walk in, you feel all warm and fuzzy: there’s a fireplace going in the lobby, comfortable couches, chairs, nooks and crannies, stunning lamps and decorations and this incredible opening that spans the height of all floors, offering a beautiful view to the massive skylight.
The hotel went through some changes a year before my arrival: new decor, new bar and restaurant BRO and a lovely refurbishment inspired by five elements: stone, water, wood, copper and fire.
Me and my little furry assistant took the dizzying, swift elevator ride up to our room and wow. The view! I loved my room and bed and all of it, but the view! I’ve lived in Helsinki altogether for almost two decades, but I’d never seen Hakaniemi from this angle before. I can only imagine what it’s like during the summer.
It had been cold for several days, so the bay was lightly frozen over and all the city lights were reflecting off of it, offering me an unmissable photo moment.
I had called up the hotel only a couple of days before my arrival, on a whim, to ask if they allow pets in the room. Within minutes, I was assigned a pet friendly room and Einari got to join me for this busy/relaxing city stay. And the best part? They had a little “pets welcome” greeting in the room, along with some doggie treats.
I’m aware that not all dogs get to automatically sleep in people’s beds… but we two are major cuddlers and there’s nothing you can do about it! I even allow him to enjoy light snacks on the bed, as long as he doesn’t make a mess.
But hey, how about we look at the view once more?
The photo above was taken the next morning: I made sure I had the alarm set for the time of sunrise just to see the view in a different light. To be honest, the Finnish sunrises in January are really not that painful for a late sleeper: the sun doesn’t come up until 9am in the morning.
While I was writing up blog posts and doing a photoshoot in the city, Satu was representing both our blog and bloggers in general at the MATKA Travel Fair. For most of 2016 we’d been preparing our very special blogger stand for the fair and the weekend was finally here! About twenty top travel bloggers from Finland getting together to promote the concept of travel blogging to the regular traveler and meeting with industry professionals? We call it Blogipaviljonki (“blog pavilion”, in English on our website).
Putting together a lovely-comfy fair stand for bloggers took a lot of time and effort, and we’d love to thank all the bloggers that participated (all listed on our website!) and also the following businesses and people: Jari M. for the logistics, Messumatot for covering up the cold floor, Vallila for some of the beautiful details, JYA Housing LKV Pakila for the furniture, Yetitablet.com for the, well, yeti sized tablet, CoPrint for the marketing materials and MATKA Travel Fair for providing us with a nice spot for the whole thing.
During our stay at the Hilton we got some urgent work done in our lovely room (just see my comfortable setting with a view above!) and in the lobby downstairs. I’ve said it before, I say it again: for some reason, getting work done seems to be much easier for me at hotels and cafes than it is at home. Less distractions? Calmer environment? Who can say, but this was definitely some of the most productive hours I’ve had in a looong while.
That same night, Restaurant BRO was celebrating its first birthday. I didn’t really have time to try out the food at the Strand, but I sure went downstairs for a fancy celebratory cocktail. I didn’t want to stay too long (as my tiny assistant gets a little stressed out alone in strange places) but I managed to sit down for half an hour to watch my talented bartender whip up a few colourful cocktails.
I’ve always loved watching cocktails getting made and my bartender was kind enough to put on a show for my camera as well. After a bit of consideration, we decided that the Cranberry drink was a nice one for both my taste buds and camera, so that’s what he went with. I was a bit hesitant as I’m not a big fan of gin or egg in a drink, but oh good heavens. It was so delicious! Man… I miss that drink now, to be honest. (Surely it would be ok to have one at 10am while writing a blog post?)
About that “not liking gin” part? I guess gin isn’t to blame here really. I’ve just been served worse drinks for way too many times!
There are a lot of people who travel a lot and then complain that they’re really bored with hotels. Well, I haven’t had that problem yet. On the contrary. I find peace in nice hotels. It’s like a comfortable hotel room just drowns out the din and lets me enjoy the quiet better than any other place in the world.
That is, of course, if I have any free time during the stay. More often than not that is not the case when we travel for blog content. But this time, oh yeah… me and Einari had just enough time for a couple of long winter walks and hot bubble baths, and even he seemed a little calmer than usual. (For a
I spent years living in the area, just a couple of miles from Hilton Helsinki Strand, so I was familiar with the streets and the seaside views. This location is perfect for a Helsinki visitor: one of the city’s most beautiful and most popular parks, Kaisaniemi, is just a couple of minutes away, or you can just cross the bridge and go explore the lovely little streets of Kruununhaka. Or, you can just walk around the market place in Hakaniemi – it doesn’t really matter which direction you take, there’s always water around you.
It’s been a few weeks now since my visit, but I miss mine and Einari’s room with a view now. I wonder if the hotel would adopt me as their resident blogger?
And hey, how about we look at the view.. one more time?
This is a collaboration post: Our stay and drinks at Hilton Helsinki Strand were both complimentary, but the content (including photos, opinions and the experience itself) are 100% our own. We keep it honest at all times. One simply can not buy our love! ⭐️