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Omena Hotel Turku

Omena Hotels offer a innovative concept for budget travellers – the hotels are un-staffed, so there's no reception, no concierge and no room service.

Instead of checking in when you arrive in the hotel lobby, guests are sent a key code (via text and email), which remains active during your stay. This gains you access to the main building and your own room. During your stay you can arrive and leave the hotel as you wish by using your own hotel room code.

To be honest, we were a little apprehensive about arriving with our children in a strange city, late in the evening, with just a code to access the hotel.

But in fact the experience was speedy and seamless. On arrival we found the hotel easily – in a building designed by esteemed Finnish designer Alvar Aalto – and punched the code into the keypad alongside the hotel's main entrance. The code worked perfectly, and meant no check-in or check-out queues. Instead we were straight into room on arrival; and on leaving, we just picked up our bags, shut the door and headed for the train station.

Our room was no-nonsense and functional, but clean and well-equipped. Arranged over two open-plan levels, with a connecting spiral staircase, it was spacious enough for a family of four. On the lower floor was a double bed and compact shower room – with masses of hot water – while upstairs were two surprisingly comfortable single sofa beds, a dining table and a flatscreen TV.

Everything we needed was included in the room – soap/shampoo, towels (for four) and lots of toilet rolls – as well as coffee, teabags, and sugar. There was also a kettle, fridge and microwave – so basic meals could be prepared. Microwavable meals can be bought in the small supermarket just down the street.

There was an option to have breakfast at a nearby Subway (at an extra cost of seven Euros per person) but we chose not to do this as the supermarket sold freshly baked croissants and cinnamon buns, as well as a range of fresh fruit.

Because the Omena Hotel Turku isn't staffed, costs are kept low – so rooms are great value. And the basic cooking facilities in-room are great too, especially for families – as well as saving us money, they meant we didn't have to traipse around town with tired children to find a restaurant.

The hotel's city centre location is spot on, especially if you're using Turku as a stopover between Stockholm and Helsinki. It was an easy bus ride and short walk from the ferry terminal to the hotel, and just five minutes walk to reach the train station the following day.

Despite the city centre location, the street wasn't busy – so our room was quiet and peaceful. And reaching the main sights of the city – the castle, cathedral and river, as well as the shopping centre – was a breeze.

Omena Hotels is a Finnish family-owned hotel company functioning in six cities: Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Jyväskylä, Seinäjoki and Vaasa. To book a room click here.