An old printing house of the Finnish Literature Society, the residential palace, a meeting spot of the Helsinki Finnish Club. Reading the history of the building which is now occupied by Hotel St. George, the place strikes you with its spirit.
This newly opened gem is located in the heart of Helsinki at Yrjönkatu, overlooking the Old Church Park, right next to the elegant Design District. The hotel has undergone a complete restoration but its original parts were maintained. Some of its most iconic parts were designed by a famous architect, Onni Tarjanne, back in 1896. Indeed, the hotel is where the old meets the new. Wandering its corridors, one can feel the developing narrative and it is the story of how Finnish culture and design identity were built after the country regained independence in 1917.
Upon entering the lobby, the visitors are greeted with Ai Weiwei‘s airy Tianwu sculpture hanging upon the ceiling. This transitory space is a portal to an art gallery that expands over 148 rooms. There are nearly 400 pieces of abstract and contemporary art inside the hotel – some of them were commissioned. This is also a great opportunity to get to know the new generation of Finnish artists – Pekka Jylhä and Klaus Haapaniemi to name a few. The different facets of Finnish design can be explored in hotel’s Wintergarden. This light-filled meeting space is sheltered under a glass roof adorned with a Learning to fly sculpture by Jylhä. The eclectic interior features a unique selection of furniture such as The Euvira chair by Brazilian designer Jade Almeida and Artek A805 floor light conceived in 1954 by Alvar Aalto. The rendez-vous space leads to Nooks – small private rooms destined for private meetings.
The design trip continues inside the guest rooms. Even their names leave a lot to the imagination. From Sky Attic Studio through Companion Twin to Finlandia Suite, the interiors are painted with soft, calming tones; the bathrooms are covered with Spanish marble. Again, a mindful selection of furniture contributes to the calming ambience. The Sibast No 7 Chairs by Dane Helge Sibast or Dandy sofas by Swedish Massproduction are just some of the most notable examples.
Holistic approach to hospitality inspired the hotel services. St. George Care and Spa are ubran retreats where treatments were inspired by the power of nature, making the most of the fact Finland can boast the cleanest drinking water in the world. At the hotel, well-being encompasses food too as nutritious breakfast buffet, comprising of home-baked bread and Finnish products, offers a fresh take on a classic Continental Breakfast. It is served at Restaurant Andrea that turns into a vibrant dining space at night, serving a mix of Scandinavian and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. If you’d prefer to feed your soul with a good lecture, visitors (and paper enthusiasts) can stop by The Monocle Reading Room equipped with international newspapers and magazines.
As Hotel St. George brings you on an immersive journey into the world of Finnish design, art and architecture, it also invites you to take a step back and slow down. The serenity and elegance of the capital were well translated into the interior and a list of services that remind visitors of taking a complex approach when it comes to cultivating own well-being. Particularly when travelling.