WHAT’S IT LIKE? This new-build hotel, which opened in 2007, has clean, functional and well-designed interiors. Once through the revolving doors, you enter a light, airy lobby with a curved reception desk in the middle. All around are subtle touches echoing the Finnish landscape, from slender silver birch trees to a hollow, white-tiled column – intended to be reminiscent of a snow-covered barn – behind the check-in counter. Take the glass-walled lift up, step into the corridor and you’ll see semi-transparent photos of a forest on the windows (the higher up the hotel you go, the nearer the tops of the trees you get).
WHERE IS IT? The only on-site hotel at Helsinki airport, it is located a few minutes from the international arrivals hall, which is connected to the property by a 100-metre covered walkway. It is about 20 minutes’ drive from the centre of the capital. There is some construction work going on around the hotel owing to the extension of the non-Schengen terminal at the airport, which is due to be completed this year, but noise is not a problem as all the rooms in the hotel are well soundproofed.
ROOM FACILITIES Hilton Guest rooms either come with king or twin beds and feature a light-wood workdesk (there are no international sockets but you can get an adaptor from reception), an armchair and coffee table, an iron and ironing board, safe, slippers (but no robe), tea and coffee-making facilities, air conditioning, a 26-inch flatscreen TV with pay-per-view channels, and a minibar. Wifi internet access is available for €20 for 24 hours. While standard rooms aren’t big, they offer everything you need for an overnight stay. The colour scheme in my twin room was cream and white with touches of lime green and beige, and the floors were part wood, part tiled.
The bathroom had a separate bath and walk-in shower, La Source by Crabtree and Evelyn amenities, a hairdryer, and shower hose by the toilet, presumably in place of a bidet. Guests staying in Executive rooms or suites have access to the Executive lounge on the fifth floor, which is open daily (7am-10pm). A continental breakfast, evening snacks, refreshments, newspapers and wifi access are provided here for free. All higher category rooms come with extra toiletries, a robe and free wifi, while Executive Plus rooms and suites also have a private sauna. For those wanting a late-night snack, there is a modest 24-hour room service menu.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Beyond the lobby on the ground floor is the open-plan, 160-seat Restaurant Gui. A buffet breakfast is served here daily with English newspapers on hand and Hilton’s colour-coded system indicating which foods are low fat/low calorie, high energy and low cholesterol. Fresh orange juice and coffee are brought to your table and regularly topped up. The décor is smart, with wooden floors, grey slate pillars, high banquette seating, black chairs and neatly set tables. Guests can choose from a lunch/dinner menu offering local à la carte cuisine, game and seafood. Bar Gui, next to the restaurant, is fitted with low sofas and high zebra-stripe stools, and offers 30 different champagnes by the glass as well as a wide selection of spirits including Koskenkorva, a clear Finnish spirit similar to vodka.
MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES There are six meeting rooms (all with natural daylight except in winter, when it is dark all day) located to the left-hand side of the lobby off a wood-panelled corridor which doubles as a break-out area. There is also a ballroom with capacity for up to 400 delegates for a reception, which can be divided into three. It is fitted with state-of-the-art technology and “starry sky” ceiling panels. A small 24-hour business centre is located next to reception with two PCs, a printer, a scanner and fax, and inside the hollow white column behind check-in is a mini meeting room with space for four.
LEISURE FACILITIES In the basement is a 24-hour gym with weights and cardio machines. There are also two saunas (open 7am-10pm) and guests are guaranteed a massage within an hour of requesting one. There is no pool, given the trend in Finland not to build them in new hotels to reduce the negative impact they have on the environment.
VERDICT While some airport hotels can feel a bit soulless, this one was fresh and welcoming. It is ideally positioned for arrivals on late-night flights or for early morning departures and the check-in machine in the lobby means you don’t have to endure queues at the airport. A good choice.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 246 rooms in five categories, including 176 Hilton Guest rooms, 42 Executive rooms, 19 Executive Plus rooms, five suites and four accessible rooms.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The separate bathtub and comfortable bed mean you can unwind and get a good night’s sleep before you continue your journey. The free wifi and private sauna in higher tier rooms is also a plus.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in March started from £140 for a Hilton Guest room.
CONTACT Hilton Helsinki Vantaa Airport, Lentajankuja 1, Vantaa; tel +358 973 220; hilton.co.uk/helsinkivantaa