Airport hotels aren’t usually known either for their service quality or their overall appeal, and I have stayed in some fairly miserable examples. But...

After the first of my two stays at the Hilton Helsinki Airport in early June, I walked about 100 yards to catch a bus which connected at a truck stop with an inter-city bus to Tampere. I had arranged to make an overnight visit to see a friend who lives in that beautiful inland city between two huge lakes. (I thoroughly recommend a visit to Tampere.)

On my way back from Tampere, the bus stopped outside the door of Terminal 2’s departure hall and I walked about 30 yards to the check-in desk for my short Friday-afternoon flight to Tallinn. I flew back to Helsinki from Tallinn late on the Sunday evening, but my flight to New York was on the afternoon of the following day. So I walked five minutes to the Hilton Helsinki Airport to check into my pre-booked (and inexpensive) room and had a full and extremely comfortable night’s sleep.


In its lobby the Hilton Helsinki Airport has a small, open business center where guests can use the computers provided to check their e-mails, work or print air tickets

 

The Hilton Helsinki Airport’s marketing literature describes the hotel as being inspired by Finland’s birch forests, natural stone, thousands of lakes and innumerable islands. The hotel’s décor is also designed to reflect the contrasts of Finland’s seasons and environment.

I have to say I think the designers did an admirable job of achieving the desired effect, particularly in the guestrooms. Polished dark-wood floors complement earth and pale wood tones in the furniture and bedding, while forest greens in the fabrics offset nicely the whites of walls and the bathroom furniture. The bathrooms are also tiled in forest-green shades.

The rooms feel large, airy and light, thanks in part to the large double-glazed windows, which offer excellent soundproofing from the aircraft noise nearby. The only surprise to me was that in the last room in which I stayed, the curtain did not absolutely cover all the light coming in through the window – a slight concern when you are in a place where there is about 20 hours of daylight in summer. A T-shirt over my eyes did the trick.

The Executive lounge in the Hilton Helsinki Airport features seating with an attractive zebra-stripe design. The lounge offers an express check-in facility, as well as complimentary breakfast, refreshments throughout the day and newspapers, as well as wireless Internet access

 

One thing to watch out for in some rooms is that the six-story, glass-sided Finnair Operations Center is only about 30 yards away from one side of the hotel and borders it along that entire side. Accordingly, when staying in rooms overlooked by the Finnair Ops Center, it is wise to have at least the net curtains closed if at any point you are walking around the room only partially dressed.

From one room in which I stayed, I could see right into the Finnair offices when their lights were on and I imagine workers there would be able to see into any uncurtained, interior-lit guestrooms on that side of the hotel.

The proximity of the Finnair Operations Center to the hotel isn’t entirely a bad thing: on the Finnair building’s top floor is a new viewing terrace for members of the public wishing to view airside operations at the airport. If you’re an aircraft enthusiast, it’s only a few seconds’ walk from the Hilton Helsinki Airport to the Finnair Ops Center and the elevator that will whisk you up to the sixth floor.

Each guestroom in the Hilton Helsinki Airport comes complete with minibar, electronic safe and flat-screen TV, but to me their best feature is that most if not all rooms come with a big porcelain bath as well as a separate, glassed-in shower. Each room also has two large pine or birch wardrobes.

The Hilton Helsinki Airport Hotel has in its basement separate male and female saunas, which are available free of charge and which are open continuously between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

 

One other – clearly deliberate – detail in each room is that the large frosted-glass sliding door to the bathroom does not close completely, leaving about a two-inch gap when slid shut. Perhaps each bathroom door was designed that way to prevent any chance of the glass door shattering upon making contact with the door-frame, but the door is of very thick, toughened glass so this would seem an unlikely eventuality anyway. It’s a Finnish mystery to me.

The Hilton Helsinki Airport opened in August 2007 and boasts the first executive lounge built for a Hilton hotel in Finland. Upon its opening, the hotel had about 240 guestrooms – including five corner Junior Suites (one on each of five floors of the hotel) and 20 Executive Plus rooms, all of the latter on the fifth floor along with the Executive Lounge.

However, when first built the hotel was shaped like a square with a large rectangle cut out of it at one corner. This area was filled in with an extension which opened in May 2011, adding 90 more guestrooms to the Helton Helsinki Airport hotel to give it some 330 in all today.

The Hilton Helsinki Airport hotel has a 24-hour fitness room fitted out with stretch mats, cardiovascular machines and free-weights and dumbbells. Complimentary antiseptic tissues, spring water and towels are provided

 

The beds in the 240 original rooms all feature Finnish-made Unikulma beds, which are unique to the hotel. The 90 newer rooms have the standard Hilton bed, the Serenity bed. I think I have slept in both kinds of beds on different stays at the hotel and I found both very comfortable – and very large. I love king-size beds.

Many of the rooms in the hotel boast views over the airport’s Terminal 2 Extension to the apron and runway areas, hence the need for soundproofing. Suite 502 has the best view over the airport of any room in the hotel.

Our Hilton Helsinki Airport review continues on page 3

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