People often think we’re a couple. We travel almost everywhere together, spend a lot of time at the same events and same circle of friends and constantly tag each other in social media posts. Maybe even more than the actual couples we know.
We don’t mind it, not at all. But we have to admit that the idea of fine dining and a Valentine’s Day stay at Hotel Katajanokka amused us a little bit: “aww that sounds very romantic!”
This one day getaway from the freelancer life was a welcome change. We’ve both been working hard in the past few months and there have been some changes to our regular schedules. Even though it’s all just fine and we both love what we do (me as a freelancer content creator and Satu as a catering coordinator on set), new responsibilities always generate a little bit of stress.
Our Valentine’s Day started at Helsingin Kaupunginteatteri (Helsinki City Theatre, roughly translated) where the cast & crew of Little Mermaid / Pieni merenneito met with some media folks and performed a couple of songs from the upcoming musical. A lovely quiche lunch, beautiful performances featuring the famous Disney songs and meeting some friends while at it? A good start to a day.
Since it was indeed Valentine’s Day, I simply could not leave my best little furry friend behind: after the stop at the theatre we drove back to my house to pick up Einari the Dog. He was already super excited, since he’s learned to understand the words “coming with!” (“mukaan!” in Finnish, said in a very excited tone.)
After a quick and smooth check-in at Hotel Katajanokka it was time to check out our rooms for the night. An allergy friendly room for Satu and the total opposite for me & Einari: a doggo friendly room.
In our rooms we were greeted with a little Valentine’s Day surprise: bubbles, balloons and something sweet. Einari was, however, more excited about the divan and the wide bed he was totally going to be sleeping in later that night.
Obviously, half of my hotel photos come with a dog now. I often make jokes about him being the most photographed dog in the world, but honestly… I don’t think that’s even a joke anymore 😅
Our evening at Hotel Katajanokka was a relaxed one. Even though we spent quite a while planning the practical sides of our upcoming blog trips to New Zealand (omg we’re actually going!!!), Hawaii (omg we’re actually going!!!), Stockholm and Oslo, and worked on some other blog stuff, we still felt like we were on a holiday — definitely somewhere farther away than our own home city.ohewIt’s moments like these when we really notice how this blog thing has become a huge part of our lives. It’s a lot of work, often unpaid, but we still end up spending time on it even on our day off. And don’t honestly don’t even mind.
I guess that’s why Fangirl Quest can definitely be described as our true passion.
That night we took a little time to roam the hallways of Hotel Katajanokka, just snapping photos and capturing the amazing atmosphere. This place is for reals one of my favorite spaces in Helsinki.
I love the modern, newly refurbished rooms and hallways, but it’s the combination of those and the almost 200 years of prison history that really gives it a unique vibe.
Hotel Katajanokka has witnessed thousands of stories, colorful and often tragic. Prisoners, among them famous writers and even presidents, have inhabited the building or the oldest parts of it since 1837.
And here we are, voluntarily spending time inside the three foot thick walls, feeling absolutely safe, relaxed and pampered.
I don’t really believe in supernatural things, but it does genuinely feel like if you just stood quietly for long enough and listened carefully, the walls might whisper you secrets from the times before yours.
As a photographer, I also love the building. It’s inspiring. The light coming from the high up windows in the main hall is stunning and there’s a lot of texture and beautiful spaces to use in, say, portrait photography.
Even though by now we’re quite the experts in packing for a trip, there are times when we manage to forget something essential. Like this time; we only had our bulky winter shoes with us… and we were going to have a fancy dinner downstairs.
Well, that just wasn’t going to work. So, we decided to go with the flow, so to speak, and went downstairs for our Restaurant Linnankellari dinner wearing the hotel’s branded slippers. The friendly waitress downstairs only smiled at our choice of footwear and guided us to our table.
Linnankellari dress code? Quite a relaxed one.
Our Valentine’s dinner turned out to be a fun and social one: we had a friendly chat with a gentleman dining alone at the next table and exchanged some humorous commentary with a group of businessmen over at the back.
We also entertained our fellow diners by taking silly selfies with the balloons and carefully photographing our slipper feet.
It’s also quite easy to turn the dinner photos into Valentine’s themed ones with pink balloons everywhere!
Alright, so I’ll have to apologize to anyone who’s feeling really hungry right now. Because what I’m about to do is almost rude to you guys.
I’m going to post a bunch of photos and they’re all hilighting some delicious food. There was a lot of it. We left with our bellies so full that we actually took the elevator upstairs. (When I say upstairs, I mean one floor up.)
What’s one of the best things in life when you’re in your 40s? I’ll tell you. It’s the mornings when you don’t have to be anywhere really early. That’s what happened at Hotel Katajanokka.
Since we’re the adventurous and efficient type of travelers, we rarely get to sleep in or enjoy our hotel rooms all the way to check-out time, ever, anywhere in the world. So this one was a lovely exception to the rule.
A late, slow breakfast including all the good basics of a hotel (scrambled eggs, freshly baked bread, oatmeal and orange juice etc.) accompanied by some lovely specialities like pancakes and my favorite; the melt-in-your-mouth berry pie.
We even had time for a little cozy time with Einari! His favorite thing is to lie close to me while I check social media and work stuff on my phone. He even has a little footstool at home next to my work desk so he gets to be as comfortable and close to me as possible.
He’s a spoiled one, I admit.
Even though Valentine’s Day was a while ago and we’re a little late to wish you a good one, I’ll attach this loving photo of Einari. Maybe it’ll cheer up your day and even make you smile a little!
You can book your room for a relaxing city escape or business travel at Hotel Katajanokka’s website. Aside from hotel accommodation, they also offer unique and stylish spaces for meetings, parties and other gatherings.
Another thing we warmly recommend that you check out is the History page. The short stories you’ll find there are not only related to the prison itself, but are an essential part of Helsinki history.
Collaboration: the night at Hotel Katajanokka was provided for review and content purposes. Photos, experiences and opinions 100% our own. We’ll happily answer any collaboration related questions!