Trip Report – Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki

This is part six of an eight part trip report from my recent travels to Estonia and Finland. This report covers the recently renovated Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Helsinki, Finland.

Booking – I planned this weekend trip from Tallinn last minute and the available rates for a standard room at the Radisson Blu Plaza were: €95.00 EUR non-refundable, €135.00 EUR refundable AAA, 44,000 Club Carlson points, or 10,000 Club Carlson points and €45.00 EUR. I decided to go with the €95.00 EUR rate as I was saving my Club Carlson points for a redemption at the May Fair hotel in London for the 2012 Olympics (50K points per night instead of €595.00 EUR).

Arrival & Check-In – The hotel was a short 10 minute taxi ride from the ferry terminal and was quite empty for a Friday night when I arrived. At just before 9pm, I was the only guest in the newly renovated lobby. As a Club Carlson Gold Elite member, I was told that I had been upgraded to a recently renovated Executive Business Class room. At the time of my visit, about half of the 302 rooms had completed their renovation (currently all rooms are renovated).
The Room – The room literally smelled brand new and everything was in pristine condition. I especially loved the Nordic look of the room and the extremely comfortable bed. The illuminated room numbers on the hallway floor, the ample lighting, mounted speakers, digital light controls, media input panels (by the bed and the desk), and the TV built-in to the bathroom mirror were also nice modern touches.
I was curious to see the standard and business class rooms as well as some of the non upgraded rooms (what a difference). The older rooms had hard beds, dirty carpeting, and just an altogether dingy feel.
The renovated standard and business class rooms were similar to the Executive Business Class room except they were a tad smaller. They too had new bedding and furniture and all the new gadgets including the built-in speakers, multiple media inputs, and built-in bathroom tvs.
Warning – Several of the standard rooms I viewed had NO desks. If you want a desk in your room, make sure you request an Executive or Business Executive room.

Amenities & LocationLocation – The hotel has a stellar location, you are literally right in the center of the city, but yet the hotel is extremely quiet and located at the end of a dead-end block overlooking beautiful Kaisaniemi park. The park is gigantic and houses botanical gardens, ponds, sports fields, and in the summer is a major concert venue. Making a right out of the hotel lobby, the park is about a two minute walk away. Going the other way, the central railway station (inspiration for much of Gotham City architecture in the Batman movies) is next to the hotel as is the main bus station, underground, ports, ice skating rink, shopping, and restaurants. The airport is about a 30 minute drive from the hotel.

Amenities – The Radisson Blu includes free and fast internet and breakfast for all hotel guests. The breakfast was one of the best non-Asian property buffets I’ve had. It’s served at Kitzens Restaurant off the lobby and there is a huge selection of fruits, danishes, yogurts, multiple hot items, and made-to-order omelets. They also have multiple global newspapers and champagne which was a very nice touch.
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at the Radisson Blu Plaza hotel and it was certainly worth the €95.00 EUR. If you plan to get some work done, make sure you request a room with a desk or are comfortable working from your bed or the lobby. Up next, the Helsinki winter experience!

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Comments

  1. Wow night and day between the pre and post renovated rooms! Good choice on paying cash instead of using points. Seems like all too often and more often with Carlson properties that the cash rate is so darn cheap it makes little sense to use points. This is a prime example!

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