Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki
A stay at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel is a real treat. The hotel is in an ideal location, minutes from the central railway station and just a short walk to the cathedral, market square and harbour. The excellent Ateneum art gallery, a large shopping centre, and the Stockmann department store – which sells pretty much everything, from clothes and accessories to Finnish design ceramics and souvenirs – are all close at hand.
The Radisson Blu Plaza backs onto a park that contains the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, an attractive green space in the heart of the city, featuring an arboretum, sensory garden and glasshouses packed with exotic plants.
Our room at the Radisson Blu Plaza was spacious, comfortable and quiet. The beds were wonderful and we had a great night's sleep. The bedding provided suited us perfectly, but the pillow and duvet menu – which offered a range of different types of both – meant we could have opted for a warmer duvet, or firmer pillow, had we wanted to.
Throughout the hotel, the Art Deco and design touches create a stylish, luxurious ambience. There are little design touches in the rooms, in the form of iittala glasses, Marimekko mugs and striking light fittings – Double Bubble lamps designed especially for the hotel by Eero Aarnio.
In the bathroom – which was big, and so clean it gleamed – we were delighted to find complimentary toiletries made by This Works. These natural shower gels, shampoos, bath salts and body lotions contain essential oils – so they smell lovely, and are designed to be relaxing and promote peaceful sleep.
Breakfast was served in the historic part of the building. Dating to 1917, this is a grand, high-ceilinged hall with stunning, atmospheric lighting and quirky decorative touches.
An outstanding selection of food was on offer – one of the best breakfasts we have experienced. This included eggs, bacon, hash browns, mixed vegetables, American pancakes, salmon, Karelian pies (a delicious Finnish speciality with a creamy rice filling), croissants, cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins, yoghurt, fresh fruit, and a range of different breads and cereals.
We enjoyed fantastic service throughout our stay. Worth a particular mention was the friendly receptionist who stopped us, as we set out to do some sightseeing, to offer us an umbrella – it was raining hard outside, and we hadn't noticed.
Reception also took our unwanted papers and leaflets to recycle – meaning we didn't have to hunt for recycling facilities in the city. The Radisson Blu Plaza is an eco-friendly hotel all round, with a range of sustainability policies to help protect the environment.
The hotel's Think Planet initiatives – one element of the Responsible Business targets – work to reduce the hotel's negative impact on the environment. This includes reducing water use, and an impressive target to save 25 per cent of energy used within five years.
The hotel also supports the World Childhood Foundation – an organization that works to defend the rights of the child and promote better living conditions for vulnerable and exploited children all over the world.