Review: Radisson Blu Plaza Helsinki

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When I’m looking for a hotel there are a few criteria that rank high on my list of “would-be-nice-to-have” but there’s only one “must-have” (excluding affordable price) – location. I like to walk around the cities that I visit so a hotel in a nice central position will always get my attention first. And that’s how I came to stay at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Helsinki.

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There are 4 Radissons in Helsinki but the Radsisson Blu Plaza Hotel has easily the best location. Situated 400 yards away from the Central Railway station it’s very easy to reach from the airport (30 minutes by train) and it’s right in the middle of all the sights Helsinki has to offer.

Radisson Blu Plaza Helsinki

Check-in was busy when I arrived for my 3-night stay but the front desk staff moved the line quickly and it wasn’t more than a 5-minute wait before I was seen. I had booked a standard room for this trip so I enquired about the chances of an upgrade (I hold mid-tier status with Club Carlson – the loyalty program that includes the Radisson Blu hotels – which, now and again, gets me a free upgrade) – no dice this time. I was offered the opportunity to pay an extra 40 Euros/night for a similar room with access to the lounge but, as that was a terrible deal, I passed. No biggie, you win some, you lose some.

I had arrived a day after the Gymnaestrada 2015 event had started in Helsinki and at least one of the teams competing was staying in the hotel (Team USA) so the hotel could have been pretty full – and that’s never great if you’re looking to score an upgrade.

The room was on the 7th (top) floor of the building and the first thing I noticed as I got out of the elevator was that the room numbers weren’t where you’d normally expect to find them – they were projected on to the floor:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiIt turns out that the Radisson Blu Plaza has a pretty cool system that operates from inside the room. If you don’t wish to be disturbed you turn a switch, found just inside the door, anti-clockwise and the room number turns red. If you’re ready for your room to be serviced you turn the same switch clockwise and the number turns green. Once housekeeping have finished cleaning the room they center the switch and the room number turns purple (which looks white in the photo).

The room itself was a reasonable size for a European hotel, hardly big but not as small as a lot of European rooms I’ve come across. The king bed was comfortable although the European tradition of providing two single duvets/comforters on a king-size bed is annoying.

Radisson Blu Plaza Helsinki

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiThe room came with a good size desk and a large flat-screen TV:

Radisson Blu Plaza Helsinki

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiAnd a small fruit plate (my welcome gift for being Club Carlson Gold) was a nice touch:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiConnectivity in the room was good. The wifi was a good speed, at least on my phone – I had a lot of trouble connecting my laptop to it (that may not have been the hotel’s fault). There were plenty of sockets to plug in laptops, chargers and any other appliances (as long as you had a European adapter) and a panel on the right of the bed promised even more ways to plug in various devices to the in-room media:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiRadisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiThe bathroom was small but perfectly adequate:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiAnd there were tea & coffee making facilities in one of the drawers:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiThere was the usual minibar on offer:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiWith the usual minibar prices:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiOverall the hotel had a modern feel to it despite being in an older building.

The check-in area was a good size and didn’t have any unnecessary clutter to get in the way of guests wheeling suitcases:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiBehind the check-in desks was a seating area together with a small bar/snack area which, I was told, was open 24 hours a day:

Radisson Blu Plaza Helsinki

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiRadisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiI didn’t get an opportunity to try out the hotel restaurant during my stay but it looked nice enough:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiRadisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiRadisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiThere were two other bar areas, accessed by walking through the restaurant, which I didn’t discover until my last day – but both were closed. I never did find out what their opening times were but they looked like nice places to have a drink, if a bit on the dark side:

Radisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiRadisson Blu Plaza HelsinkiThe hotel staff were friendly and courteous and the only small hiccup occurred when I got back to my room at 5pm one afternoon to find that housekeeping hadn’t yet been (despite the fact that a housekeeping cart was right outside the room when I’d left that morning!).

Overall it was a good stay and, as I said at the very beginning, the location couldn’t be better. Helsinki isn’t the biggest of cities so a lot of the sights are within easy walking distance. And, if you’re coming from the airport on the train, the proximity to the Central Station is a huge bonus if you’re arriving with suitcases.



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