That may be the longest word I’ve ever typed.
The Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa’s name is about as long as the trek to get to it from the airport, but it’s a classic, waterfront hotel that can be enjoyed for just 25k Hilton Honors points per night.
Let’s call it Kal, short for Kalastajatorppa.
A few miles outside of downtown Helsinki, Kal has hosted an impressive list of VIPs and heads of state, including Vlad Putin, Ron Reagan and Billy Clinton (names shortened).
Kal seems to be a conference and event hotel, with its two main buildings, connected by a tunnel, overlooking the Gulf of Finland.
For my 20-hour layover in Helsinki, I decided to stay at Kal.
Getting to Kal (if you don’t care about getting to Kal, skip down a bit)
If you don’t want to pay ~50 Euros for a taxi ride from the airport, you can take the train (5 Euros) to downtown Helsinki, then take a trolley to the hotel.
Walking out of the train station, you’ll turn right and walk two blocks, where you’ll see a trolley stop.
Take trolley route 4, which ends at the street the hotel is on.
You can buy a €3.20 trolley ticket from a machine at the trolley stop, or from the driver onboard if you have cash.
The trolley route will end at what looks like a residential bus stop, with no hotel in sight, and the trolley driver will get out for a smoke break.
From here, either take a right onto the street in front of the trolley stop, then walk up a hill to the hotel, or take the scenic path near the back of the trolley, which is a walking trail along the water up to the hotel.
Stop talking about getting to Kal. Tell me about Kal.
Kal is boring on the outside but gorgeous on the inside.
In Finnish, the greeting for hello sounds exactly like “hey,” so if you walk up to the front desk at the hotel and say a friendly “hey,” the clerk may still not know whether… you speak Finnish or not.
I reveled in the milliseconds of mystery.
Possibly a result of the elite status that comes with my Hilton credit card, I was assigned one of the rooms with a view the water.
I arrived at night though, so I didn’t really know how cool the view was until I woke up.
How was the room?
Nice! I liked it. Impeccable, simple Finnish design I think? I don’t know anything about interior design.
The bathroom continued Europe’s habit of making showers that get water all over the bathroom floor.
Still a comfortable bathroom though, with a separate tub and shower.
And this body wash smells like orange sherbet:
I am a huge fan of Kal’s breakfast buffet, and shockingly it’s complimentary.
I was in a hurry to go explore Helsinki and couldn’t find any non-awkward moments to snap photos of the busy buffet, but there was a fruit/yogurt bar, several hot dishes, plenty of baked goods, and a personal pot of coffee per table.
I also ate dinner at the hotel restaurant the night I arrived and ordered the special of the day, which was a tasty pasta and meatball dish for under €20.
The hotel is in an area of mostly parks and housing, so there aren’t too many food options in walking distance.
Apparently Kal has a sauna and a pool, but I didn’t get a chance to check them out.
Curious what Kal looks like from above?
Curious what brand of vehicle Helsinki’s ambulances are?
My goodbye to Kal arrived too soon.
I walked back down the path along the water, psyched to spend the day in Helsinki.