Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel has played an important part as one of the touristic highlights of Northern Karelia.
The local cooperative had acquired the planned site for the hotel from Matti Hallman. The site was of an old mill on the eastern shore of Pielisjoki river. The hotel and restaurant were designed by architect Pauli Lehtinen, the construction work was supervised by Martti Peippo from SOK property management and the actual constructor was Jouni Puhakka from Joensuu.
Built in practically no time at all, the hotel was named Kimmel, referring to an allusion of the glittering waters of Pielisjoki river.The elegant hotel and its interior were met with well-deserved admiration. Completed in 1977, the hotel had 100 rooms.
The opening ceremony on 20 April 1977 was attended by several dignitaries, among them President Urho Kekkonen. As a memento, all invited guests were presented octagonal tumblers, echoing the shape of the dancing floor in the restaurant.
Open until 3 am seven days a week, Kimmel's nightclub was the place to be for both visiting conference guests and locals from the town and its surroundings. In the late 1980s, the Sokos Hotels chain introduced Cuban dance and music groups and the colourful samba carnivals in Joensuu and Kimmel.
The current Hotel Kimmel has been built in stages. The second stage in 1987 added another 130 rooms in the so-called wing. Until 2020, the hotel had a total of 230 rooms. The hotel's restaurants were Fransmanni, Riverside and the welcoming Pub Virta.
In December 2020, it was time to close the doors and start the third construction phase in Kimmel's history. A new view suite, exuding modern Karelian luxury, and several Superior rooms were built in the hotel. The restaurants and meeting and event facilities were also renovated. The first phase of the renovation was completed on July 30, 2021, and the fully renovated Hotel Kimmel was completed in the fall of 2021.
When the hotel's rooms and general facilities were completed, it was time to move on to the sauna department, which also underwent quite a renovation. The old sauna department was transformed into Nautiskelukylkylä Kimmel Spa. Exuding modern Karelian luxury, the luxurious spa with its whirlpools, saunas, experience showers and heating benches is guaranteed to take its visitors above everyday life.