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The history of Hotel Helsinki

Solo Sokos Hotel Helsinki was the capital's first grand hotel. It was built in the middle of the palaces of banks and insurance companies almost a hundred years ago and shines again after the reform.

By Kluuvinlahti bay

Would you believe that the site of the hotel in the 19th century was nothing but soft mud? At that time, before development, the land beneath our feet was still covered by the murky waters of Kluuvinlahti bay. The bay was causing several problems for the expanding new capital of Finland and it was slowly being filled as construction works progressed.

Horse carts of sand and other soils were poured in. Filling the bay was slow work, so the first streets in the area were built on narrow piers. According to urban legend, on the site of the current hotel, there stood a pier from where traffickers sold illegal alcohol to the public.

Finland's first grand hotel

Helsinki Hotel was opened in 1930 as part of a modern, palatial banking building. Built into an eight-storey building, the grand hotel, complete with showy entrance halls, dining rooms and lounges, was the first of its kind in Finland.

While the country was struggling through economic depression and the Prohibition interfered with the restaurant business, Helsinki Hotel quickly found its loyal patrons among businessmen, artists and sports celebrities.The ballroom floor hosted a number of high-profile meetings and festive occasions. As you can see, we have since taken over the entire building.

Pauli Blomstedt's signature style

The Helsinki Hotel building was originally erected in the 1930s as a banking building for Helsingin Suomalainen Säästöpankki savings bank. The architectural competition for the contract was won by a young architect named Pauli Ernesti Blomstedt.

A graduate of the Technological University of Finland, Blomstedt had previously worked for the firms of such noted architects as Armas Lindgren and Bertel Jung. A prime example of neoclassicism, the office building became one of Blomstedt's hallmark works. In addition to banking, the building also housed a hotel from the start, with Blomsted designing the entire interiors and furnishings.

The hotel's current restaurant, Pauli's Pizza & Grill, is our tribute to the architect. In addition, Solo Sokos Hotel Helsinki's wonderful party venue is named after him.

Photo: Hotel Helsingin lobby in the 50s and 60s. Helsinki City Museum