The whole of Helsinki could be considered a design district, Scandi-stylish as it is. But Hotel Anna, housed inside a 1920s-era building, is located in the city's official Design District--a quiet part of town right near Kirkkopuisto Park--with lots of neighborhood cafes and boutiques to explore. You're not totally central here, hence the more affordable rates. But there's plenty to see in the local area and the hotel's rooms are clean and comfortable. What more could you want from a well-located base for setting out to see Helsinki's highlights?
YOU SHOULD KNOW While the hotel has an elevator, you'll have to traverse a few steps to get to the breakfast area or top floor--important to know for guests with mobility issues.
Rooms have single or double beds (the latter is actually two twins, pushed together), with classically Scandinavian simple wooden furnishings, wood floors and zero clutter. It adds up to a serene setting, if not the most stimulating--and that can be a good thing when it's time to go to sleep, right?
Make use of the blackout curtains during the long days of summer, when the midnight sun makes it very hard to sleep.
A bit outdated but perfectly functional, the small bathrooms have white tiles throughout and walk-in showers with sliding doors.
The nondescript lobby could be in any space-saving city hotel, with a small reception desk, a few chairs for sitting if you're waiting on a ride and a rack with postcards for sale.
While no spa services are offered, there's a small but well-kept sauna on the hotel's fifth floor that can be booked in advance for up to three people for a nominal fee.
YOU SHOULD KNOW It's standard to go naked in Finnish spas and considered more hygienic than donning a bathing suit. Towels are always provided, and you should put one down before sitting or laying on the wooden benches.
For lunch and dinner, you'll need to head off the property. But the hotel offers a good breakfast buffet every morning in the second-floor breakfast room with all sorts of cereals, breads, and yogurts as well as a few hot dishes and strong Finnish coffee, of course.
There's no bar onsite at the hotel.
There's a tram stop just a quick walk from the hotel to take you all around town. And within 15 to 20 minutes walking time you can also reach most of Helsinki's highlights.
Inside the city’s recently restored Old Market Hall, Story (11-minute walk) is an excellent pick for light breakfast and classic Scandinavian salads and sandwiches, laden with tiny pink shrimp. And the seafront terrace is particularly lovely during the warm months. And the lively Gastrobar Emo (9-minute walk) is another solid recommendation, with five-course dinner menus with fabulous wine and cheese pairings and king crab soup a lunchtime favorite.
Trillby & Chadwick (5-minute walk) does creative cocktails with a little theater - the bar is themed after a speakeasy/detective agency. And when a classic Irish pub and a native English speaking crowd is what you crave, there’s Molly Malone’s (5-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
The quiet, neighborhood-settling, friendly staff (many of whom have been working here forever) and simple aesthetics all appeal to us at Hotel Anna. And while there's no such thing as a true budget-priced hotel in Helsinki, this place is most affordable by local standards.