Room Service: Hotel Kamp, Helsinki
Wednesday 19 June 2002
The historic Hotel Kamp in central Helsinki, all sweeping staircases, ballrooms and heated ceramic divans, has, since its renovation in 1999, resumed its role as a solid bastion of European snobbery: a role for which it was designed in the days when the Russian Czars ruled Finland.
Having fallen into a decline after the war, the hotel was demolished in the 1960s and rebuilt as a bank. It was reopened as a hotel in 1999, refurbished to resemble the original in every possible detail.
Location, location, location
Hotel Kamp, Helsinki Pohjoisesplanadi 29, 00100 Helsinki, Finland (00 358 9 576111, www.hotelkamp.fi). Bang in the middle of the city, just off the gardens of Esplanade Park.
Transport: Nothing is very far away in a small city. The train station and the port are within a few minutes' walk. Senate Square is just round the corner.
Time to international airport: A taxi to Helsinki's efficient airport, 19km north of town, will take around 20 minutes and cost about €25/£16.
Are you lying comfortably?
Rooms are large and opulent. Finland is cold for much of the year, so the emphasis is on heavy draperies. Every conceivable extra has been thought of, from mains electricity sockets that accept both US and UK plugs to umbrellas that you can borrow on rainy days. The bathrooms even have heated mirrors. Suites, all individually designed, culminate in the 258 sq m Mannerheim which has a library, sauna, antiques, and dining table for 14.
The bottom line
Standard doubles range from €330 (£210). Better deals can be obtained through a UK short-break specialist such as Inntravel (01653 629010), which offers two nights' B&B from £284 per person, including return scheduled flights.
I'm not paying that: Puhkus, on Vilhonkatu 6B (00 358 9 627437), offers the cheapest centrally located beds in Helsinki: quads without bathroom for €70 (£45) per room, triples from €63 (£40) and doubles from €56 (£36) with shower.
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