In Helsinki’s central Design District, on a quiet corner opposite a leafy park, lies an homage to Finnish design. Occupying a seven-storey building dating back to 1840 (with later additions by famed Finnish architect Onni Tarjanne) that has previously been home to a literature society and a printing house, Hotel St. George is a celebration of Helsinki’s past and present.
Tianwu, a striking white dragon sculpture by Ai Weiwei greets guests immediately upon entering — just one of 400 items of modern art (the rest of which are mostly Finnish) that can be found throughout the hotel. This impressive eye for design continues into the heart of the hotel, the Wintergarden — a glass-roofed restaurant and bar where colourful sofas, armchairs and a cosy fireplace sit beneath a sizeable abstract bird sculpture by local artist Pekka Jylha. Join locals and guests for light meals of Finnish classics and creative cocktails before retiring to one of the 153 meticulously-appointed rooms and suites.
Big, beautiful windows bathe the guest rooms in natural light, highlighting the soft-toned walls, Helge Sibast chairs, and colourful touches found in cushions by young designer Klaus Haapaniemi. Bathrooms are more minimal in their aesthetic, with Spanish marble flooring and L:A Bruket toiletries sitting atop the large white sinks.
A buffet breakfast is served every morning (don’t miss the freshly baked bread from the hotel’s own St. George Bakery) in the space that later turns into Restaurant Andrea. Book a table for lunch or dinner for an eclectic menu of Nordic meets Turkish sharing plates. Don’t check-out without a visit to St. George’s holistic spa, and a browse of Monocle Shop Helsinki next door to the bakery, for an expertly curated selection of books and accessories.