Location: The hotel is some 10 – 15 minutes’ walk from South Harbour & Market Square and Senate Square. The number 4 tram stop is directly outside the hotel, which is very handy if you have bags. There are a few restaurants in the area, and a neighbourhood bar for those who like to get out & about.
Staff: The staff are exceptional; Over 4 days we did not meet one who was less than cheerful, helpful and knowledgeable. They were happy to share information on the hotel’s prison past, or where to find a restaurant or bar, or the best way to get to wherever you were going.
Rooms: The rooms are very comfortable, and surprisingly spacious given their origins. The bed is very comfortable, with bedside lamps and separate reading lights to avoid disturbing your partner. The ensuite has a rainfall shower, and is accessed via a non-locking sliding door. The TV has some English channels, and movies are shown in the original language; the minibar is well stocked, and priced in line with the lobby bar.
Food & drink: The basement restaurant is used for all meals, and is quite atmospheric. Breakfast is buffet style, with hot & cold options and fresh fruit, as well as filter coffee, or machine made espresso, cappuccino, macchiato etc., as well as a selection of teas. Dinner is a la carte from a shortish menu, but the quality of food is excellent, and in line with the prices in Helsinki; there is a mix of traditional Finnish (e.g. Arctic char, fish soup) and some excellent burgers (beef or chicken), and the desserts are wonderful. Also in the restaurant area is a well-equipped playroom for younger guests, and an original isolation cell. Upstairs, next to reception is the lobby bar, with a good selection of beers (5 on our visit) ciders and spirits, at normal bar prices (for Helsinki anyway)
Overall: This converted prison is a great find, a very comfortable haven in a wonderful city. Comfortable rooms, great staff and wonderful food – what’s not to like?