Located in a late 19th century building in downtown Helsinki, Finland, Klaus K, a member of Design Hotels™, reprises the old world charm adding to it a subtle dose of edgy contemporariness.
The Kalevala is the national saga of Finland: a work of epic poetry compiled and embellished by Elias Lönnrot in the late 19th century. It contains tales told by rural storytellers and is regarded as one of the most significant works of Finnish literature. Klaus K is inspired by this national epic with each of its 137 playful guestrooms boasting a theme that illustrates the Kalevala’s primary emotional elements: desire, passion, mysticism and envy.
It is set in the Rake building, which belongs to the romantic era of Helsinki and is situated at the top of the Esplanade, on the tree lined street Bulevardi. Cruise ship harbours and the train station are a mere one km away and the airport is a just a 15 minute drive.
Accommodation in Finland is incredibly varied. One is spoilt for choice as restored historical accommodations are aplenty and so are ultra modern spaces that are mere clones of each other.
But what you get at Klaus K is both style and story; a veritable dream of American-born hotelier Marc Skvorc and his Finnish wife Mia Cederberg-Skvorc. Formerly a German girls’ school, the building belonged to Mia’s family before the Skvorcs transformed it into Helsinki’s first design hotel.
The lead architects of the project, Antti-Matti Siikala and Sarlotta Narjos, of the architectural firm SARC have created some of Finland’s foremost modern architectural projects including the Sanoma Talo and the city’s groundbreaking Kone Building. At Klaus K they have stepped away from the norm and made something which is rather audacious and indulged in an exercise of playful yet understated design.
The interiors of the hotel were designed by Stylt Trampoli who has cleverly interwoven an edgy chic while paying homage to the epic at every turn. The result is clean and modern, with an undertone of spice, a place where one is intrigued, amused and overawed all at once.
At Klaus K an intimate, perfectly arranged lobby immediately sets the tone; paying tribute to the fables of Kalevala, strong references to an egg and a bird’s nest are seen in the format and décor of the reception area.
Elements like the air and stars are seen referenced as well and a big graphic of an ‘eye’ is just one more ingredient adding to the overall design scheme laden with mystery and legends.
While enumerating the makings of a good hotel is a largely subjective topic – location, service and amenities are a few criteria most would agree on. Klaus K fits the bill in all these categories and throws in a good measure of romance as well.
Contrasts abound in its Renaissance-inspired Rake Sali ballroom. The restaurant Toscanini serves delicious dishes originating from Tuscany and exemplifies the level of high-minded detail that goes into the Klaus K. The interiors of the hotel is inspired by the Finnish national painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela, who spent considerable time in Florence, studying the technique of painting frescoes.
The restaurant Ilmatar, named after the Goddess of air is a well heeled destination of the city. The menu here expresses a sincere, coherent philosophy of healthy eating using local, free-range ingredients; it is also known for its ‘Best of Finland’ breakfast.
The Ajho Bar and Club are some more destinations to appease the foodies in a pulsating and warm ambience.
Rooms are luxuriously dignified with plush furnishings, custom beds, a workspace, LCD TV, movies and internet access. For rejuvenation and exercise, there is the Day Spa Helsinki offering holistic body treatments and a fully equipped gymnasium.
Thirty new loft rooms where guests may settle in for weeks or even months at a time were launched in the summer of 2014.These will add a new chapter to the building’s storied history.
Klaus K doesn’t do mediocre and the loft rooms occupying two additional levels of the hotel are split across four categories with the crowning glory, the ‘Sky Suite’ featuring a private balcony.
The ‘Sky Studios’ face the quiet inner courtyard, the ‘Sky Studios with Balcony’ boast park and city views, while the ‘Sky Lofts’ have ceilings up to 4.5 meters, which allow natural light from the skylight windows to flood the rooms.
The ‘Sky Suite’ is an ample room fitted with a unique egg-shaped bed – inspired by the Kalevala – a lounge with a games table, an expansive bathroom with a separate bathtub and rain shower. The room also has its own balcony with outstanding views over the Boulevard and Esplanade Park.
Guests also have the option of booking the private 100 sq m roof terrace, the perfect spot for an intimate evening soirée. All of the loft rooms are furnished with light fittings by British designer Tom Dixon and interiors planned by Finland’s leading designers Vertti Kivi dSign. Something all of the rooms have in common is the feeling of a laidback residential apartment.
This is further realised with the presence of a separate street level entrance which bypasses the hotel’s reception and lobby. The drama, the mystery, the location, the amenities, topped with heartfelt service, add value after value, and turn Klaus K, into a solid choice in the centre of the city of Helsinki.
Text By Mala Bajaj
Photographs Courtesy: Design Hotels™