Before I realized it, I somehow spent more time in the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in downtown Helsinki than any other hotel I’ve visited in a very long time. For seven nights I called this well-known property home, albeit over two separate stays. It became my home base in Helsinki and a hotel I quickly grew to love. Since I spent so much time there, I thought I’d offer a review of the property including everything that makes it a great luxury option the next time you visit Helsinki, Finland.
Located across the street from Helsinki’s main train station, the Plaza enjoys a rich history calling a legacy building home. Originally built in 1921, this landmark (and protected) building was once home to Finland’s leading cooperative. You can still see remnants from this impressive past around the hotel, from the large, vaulted restaurant to the artwork found along corridors and in the main lobby itself.
It’s not an old-fashioned hotel though, far from it. As one of the flagship properties of Radisson Blu, the Plaza has been recently updated and technology can be found everywhere, from the lounges hugging the main lobby, to the ultra high-tech rooms. It’s a great commingling of old and new, a way to honor the past but serve the modern traveler at the same time.
Location, Convenience and Service
As I mentioned, the Radisson Blu Plaza is across the street from Helsinki’s main train station, as enviable a location as you could want. From there you can easily explore all of Helsinki’s many neighborhoods. The Esplanadi and core historic district is a 5-10 minute walk away and if you use the nearby trams, any neighborhood in the capital city can be quickly and conveniently reached. That includes restaurants, although the main restaurant in the Radisson Blu Plaza is so special I guarantee you’ll want to plan at least one evening dining with them. Restaurant Kitzens is the self-proclaimed headquarters of Finnish food and indeed, a quick look at the menu shows an innovative approach to preserving Finland’s rich culinary history.
Any luxury hotel though is necessarily judged by its commitment to service, and over the course of a week there were many instances where the kind staff helped me in any number of ways, from helping me celebrate my birthday, to giving directions to even allowing for a late checkout. Each new request, no matter how strange (the sauna may have confused me a bit) was met with a smile and a nod, the issue quickly resolved. When we travel what we as travelers want more than anything is not to be hassled or bothered. We want to relax, be productive and enjoy ourselves a little bit. A great hotel will not only make this possible, but will promote each of these aspects of travel, and that was definitely the case for me at the Radisson Blu Plaza.
Business Level Rooms and Suites
I stayed at the hotel twice, once in a business level room and the second time in a suite. I almost always book business or club level rooms because the perks and amenities are always worth whatever minor extra fees may be associated with the room. At the Radisson Blu Plaza, the perks of staying in a business level room include larger rooms, super high-tech room controls, 3D-TV systems, complimentary WiFi and my favorite amenity, access to the Plaza Lounge. I love hotel lounges or club rooms for the convenience they offer as well as the money they end up saving me. At the Plaza, the highlight of the Lounge access was the breakfast buffet, a lavish array of every breakfast goodie you could imagine. After polishing off the buffet, business level guests can then order eggs, omelets, pancakes or whatever they want, made to order. In the evenings the Lounge transforms into a casual hangout with snacks, small dishes, beer, wine and cocktails all included. Add in the beautiful view over that vaulted restaurant, and it’s a fun place to relax or catch up with friends.
For something a little extra special, consider booking the lavish Plaza Suite. This two-level suite is located in the historic tower of the hotel and boasts Spanish-style windows with great views of Helsinki. The downstairs is the main living area and includes a great lounge space where you can get some work done, or just relax. Up the spiral staircase is the main bedroom and bathroom, complete with a private sauna. The suite includes all of the normal amenities but in a 900 square foot room ensuring the best luxury experience possible.
Radisson Blu is a great brand to seek out whenever you’re traveling in Europe and the Radisson Blu Plaza is one of the best properties in the collection’s portfolio. Whenever I book a luxury hotel I look for a great location, wonderful amenities and of course stellar service. Over the course of two visits in two different room types I can say that without a doubt, the Radisson Blu Plaza not only met all of my expectations for a luxury hotel in Helsinki, but far surpassed them.