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Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki – Finland’s most Luxurious Prison

Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki – Finland’s most Luxurious Prison

Review of Katajanokka Hotel in Helsinki. “Escape the Ordinary”, under this motto, hotel guests can discover the unique accommodation in a former Finnish prison on Helsinki’s island Katajanokka in a privately owned, gay-friendly lifestyle hotel. It was an interesting and exciting experience to stay in a modern and spacious hotel room in Helsinki. The building was built to be the living and sleeping space for prisoners who had to serve their prison terms since the early 19th century. After all, the oldest parts of the prison date back to 1837. But the history of Katajanokka with its remarkable red brick buildings ended in 2002. After a long and extensive restoration and renovation, Katajanokka transformed into the luxurious Finnish accommodation of today that re-opened in 2007. We were invited to test the extraordinary hotel in a prison setting paired with a luxurious and chic design and the famous kitchen of The Linnankellari restaurant with its diverse menu including meat and vegan options. Our mission was to find out what you can expect from this gay-friendly hotel in Helsinki. Enjoy our hotel review of the ‘Gay-friendly Katajanokka Hotel’ of the former Finnish prison and see the 4-star hotel in Helsinki through a couple of men‘s eyes.

– in paid collaboration with Katajanokka Hotel –

A gay kiss at gay-friendly Katajanokka Prison Hotel © Coupleofmen.com
A gay kiss at gay-friendly Katajanokka Prison Hotel © Coupleofmen.com

Gay-friendly stay on Katajanokka Island

Impressive from the first moment on! We entered the hotel grounds that are surrounded by a red brick wall through the main gate which opened up to a wide, green, and well-maintained garden, almost like a park area with small flower and planting boxes. At first sight, nothing gave us the feeling of entering a former jail ground, except the wall, of course. Even the reception area with its modern stylish furniture and very friendly and welcoming receptionists did not give us any hint that we just checked in for our stay at a former pre-trial detention center. To reach our room on the highest floor, we had to enter the main building, taking a left turn from the entrance area. And there we were in the middle of the three-floor main complex with an iron staircase, skylight, and the narrow and small doors to the former prison cells wrapped up in a state-of-the-art design and modern luxury. Definitely, a “wow” moment, especially imagining that this was for over 100 years in a Finnish prison. “Cell” number 419 was our designated room, showing off why the Katajanokka Hotel recently won the World Travel Award for being Finland’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2018.

View from the highest floor over the design furniture on the ground level | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
View from the highest floor over the design furniture on the ground level © Coupleofmen.com
Prison complex built out of red bricks | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Prison complex built out of red bricks © Coupleofmen.com
Daan standing in one of the prison gates | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Daan standing in one of the prison gates © Coupleofmen.com
Curious Karl exploring the main building going upstairs over the historical and preserved staircase | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Review of the Katajanokka Hotel in Helsinki © Coupleofmen.com

In a word, the Katajanokka Hotel is gay-friendly, stylish, clean, Nordic modern, comfortable and equipped with everything modern LGBT travelers and gay couples need for a weekend trip to Helsinki, the Finnish capital city. Our tip for your gay-friendly stay: Try the dinner at The Linnankellari restaurant. The burger left Karl speechless…

Superior King Room at Katajanokka Hotel

We still could see the frames of the former jail cell doors from the hallway while walking on the 4th floor. One hotel room today has at least the size of three former jail cells. Our Superior King Room 419 was a treat for the eyes and the king-size bed a treat for our back. Solely, the small windows and transom windows in the room and bathroom are a reminder of the former purpose of the space. The bathroom was equipped with a bathtub including a shower, a freestanding design sink, and complimentary bath utilities. Free coffee and tea makers, a modern chaise lounge as well as Finnish and international books at the bedside table complete the luxury treatment of our Superior King room at the Katajanokka Hotel.

Daan in thoughts about how prison life must have been back in the days | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Daan in thoughts about how prison life must have been back in the days © Coupleofmen.com
Stylish Bathroom at our prison hotel room | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Stylish Bathroom at our prison hotel room © Coupleofmen.com
Superior Room view from the bed over the desk and sofa | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Superior Room view from the bed over the desk and sofa © Coupleofmen.com
Former cells transformed into luxurious hotel rooms | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Former cells transformed into luxurious hotel rooms © Coupleofmen.com
Karl reading about what to discover in Helsinki | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com
Karl reading about what to discover in Helsinki © Coupleofmen.com

Linnankellari Restaurant & Breakfast Buffet

We had our first meal (breakfast) and LAST MEAL (dinner) at the Linnankellari Restaurant, the former mess hall for the arrested prisoners. The generous breakfast buffet left nothing to be desired to get fit for a day in the Finnish capital. But especially the dinner was something to remember, not only because of the special atmosphere and cozy vibe of the basement location. Karl is still dreaming of the best burger he ever had, seriously. Good to know for all the non-burger lovers, the Linnankellari Restaurant offers a menu rich in variety with Finno-Scandinavian local and organic food prepared with local, biological, and fresh ingredients. Our Tip: Try a good glass of Finnish Gin with some fresh cranberries and a branch of rosemary with your dinner menu. Delicious!

Hotel Facilities of Katajanokka

The Katajanokka Hotel is an accommodation worth planning time to explore. We wandered around the hotel building, checking the photo gallery in the west wing of the former jail complex with pictures from times when Katajanokka still was a county prison and pre-trial detention center. One of the highlights of our stay was the visit to the preserved former jail cells in the basement. Once you are there, you can check the hotel’s sauna for a good Finnish way to warm up and relax all year round. Don’t forget to make a reservation or go to the public sauna times for men and women. The small 24-hour gym is still open, but will be renovated and extend in the coming months. In general, the whole building is a perfect setting for Instagram photos, be it on the preserved stairs, the cells in their original condition, or the park and terrace around the building. When you are done with your explorations in and around the Katajanokka Hotel, jump on a rental bike or tram and after a short ride, you are in the center of Helsinki including the Uspenski and Helsinki Cathedrale as well as the Helsinki harbor area where you can jump on a boat for a trip to one of Helsinki’s Islands.

Hand in hand in front of the red brick wall of the former Finnish prison | Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki Gay-friendly Review © Coupleofmen.com

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Gay-friendly Katajanokka Hotel in Helsinki

Address:
Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki
Merikasarminkatu 1
00160 Helsinki, Finnland

Hotel Info:
Official Hotel Website
Email: sales@hotelkatajanokka.fi
Tel.: + 358 9 686 450
Deals & Reviews: on TripAdvisor

Good to know: 
Included in all rates and room categories is free Wi-Fi access (10MG), a generous breakfast buffet, free 24-hour use of the hotel gym, and complimentary access to the weekend sauna. Don’t forget to check the preserved former prison cells of the Katajanokka prison.

Please note:
This review post was made possible in partnership with Katajanokka Hotel Helsinki to promote its gay-friendliness. Anyhow, our photos, texts, and opinions are 100% our own, as usual.