Who is a bad fellow traveller, what is a “chain boutique hotel” and how can you make hotel staff prepare in advance for your check-in? All this in a new hotel inspection. This time we go to Helsinki to Hotel Indigo Helsinki – Boulevard. By the way, we continue to improve the format of our inspections: we avoid looking at the dust particles, that can be found in any hotel, if desired, and pay our attention to important, interesting or simply useful features of hotels.
- Where: Helsinki, Finland
- What: hotel inspection
- Hotel character: city & business, boutique hotel
- When: summer 2016
The location of the hotel (Bulevardi 26, Helsinki) is comparable with the Bolshaya Konyushennaya street in St. Petersburg, Russia, i.e. the hotel is located in the very centre of the city, but not on the bustling Nevsky Prospekt, instead on a quieter street with its restaurants, shops and coffee houses.
I delegated room reservation this time, for which I received the ordered single room instead of the double room, as I originally wanted. The size of the bed did not change (excellent king size, already familiar from other Indigo Hotels), but the filling of the room was prepared for one person. When we arrived at the hotel, the staff, of course, politely checked-in two people. Just do not cuss the staff, if you find yourself in the same situation, because they are preparing a room according to your order. And, therefore, they put one pair of slippers, one bathrobe, one bottle of water, cosmetics for one, etc. If your companion is not an ideal travel companion, prepare the trip yourself :)
Many travellers, coming to another country or city, appreciate the opportunity to merge with the environment and at least feel a bit like a local resident. Unusual design, a large selection of room categories and interior options, plus personalised service – these factors are often the main reasons why customers prefer boutique hotels. In Europe, you can find many cosy non-chain hotels and mini-hotels, perfectly suited to these requirements. Hotel giants do not waste time, and therefore try to use these trends, though in their chain interpretation. Thus, for example, Marriott has a young Moxy Hotels chain – stylish boutique hotels at a very affordable price; and IHG has the Hotel Indigo brand, which also absorbed the advantages of all the boutique hotels, while adding a multitude of chain benefits that, however, affected the price of accommodation.
By the way, about the price. On average, a night at Hotel Indigo Helsinki – Boulevard on a day off during the summer season will cost you about 200+ euros (the Summer of 2016). You can stay overnight free of charge if you join the IHG Rewards Club free loyalty program and gather the necessary number of points.
Surely, the hotel has a lot of variations, even among the standard rooms, so I will just speak about the interior of the room that I got. The first thing I did not find when I entered the room was the bathroom. Certainly not always, but very often in hotel rooms it is located at the entrance to the left or right-hand side, and after passing a little forward, the room traditionally expands. In my case, the room was made in the form of a spacious rectangular, and in place of the expected bathroom there was a nice ottoman.
The bathroom was behind a white door by the window, parallel to the living room.
In the bathroom, there was good furniture and lavatory equipment, a shower with a watering sprinkle made in the style of “tropical rain” (by the way, I have not yet seen a Hotel Indigo room with a bathtub, always shower only).
Cosmetics with a taste of menthol well suited for me and I liked it, although I have a number of friends who prefer shampoos and gels with less pronounced smells.
In general, for myself, I have long noted that you can judge the level of the hotel by the availability of a hair conditioner in the bathroom. If the management of the hotel believes that their venue corresponds to a 4-star or 5-star level, they will necessarily provide this tube and will not be limited to shampoo and shower gel. If there is no hair conditioner, the hotel is, at maximum, a 3-star category. Hotel Indigo provides a full range of cosmetic accessories.
In the room, there was a full set for tea and coffee, honey, hot Fazer chocolate, as well as a Nespresso coffee machine.
In the same locker, there is a safe and a minibar. It looks neat, besides the cabinet additionally protects all mentioned accessories from dust.
Urban hotels usually have two views – on the street and to the courtyard. I got a yard view that seemed well-groomed and clean (the photo depicts a neighbouring house beside the hotel).
In hotels, plastic windows are increasingly used, which is not surprising – they are practical and not very expensive. Wooden frames in the classical style, as a rule, can be found in historic hotels such as the Ritz, or, incidentally, in good boutique hotels.
The hotel had a full-fledged fitness room, a Finnish sauna and a Turkish steam bath. Zones are divided for men and women. On Saturday night in the sauna, there was no one but me – real harmony.
The hotel's interiors are designed in a modern style, and public areas inadvertently remind that the hotel opened just a couple of years ago – everything is new and fresh.
Here is an Hotel Indigo in the capital of Finland. What do you think?
Hotel Contact Information: Hotel Indigo Helsinki – Boulevard website.
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Julia Kostina is a professional luxury travel consultant at Renshaw Travel, one of the best luxury travel agencies in Canada.