Tallinn, Estonia is one of Europe’s most underrated travel destinations. That much has been cried out by numerous travel websites and blogs for years, championing the growing Baltic city along with its close neighbours Riga in Latvia and Vilnius in Lithuania. It’s no longer just a popular day-trip from Helsinki, with the stunning medieval city increasingly recognised for its beautifully preserved (eccentric) old town as well as its intriguing and volatile history of occupation and eventual independence, which was regained in 1991 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Along with the other two aforementioned Baltic cities, Tallinn is positioned as one of the most exciting and “up-and-coming” European destinations, with a fine balance between tradition and modernity that has created a very unique cultural scene. The anchor of it all is the cobbled old town, a UNESCO listed gem with enough restaurants, bars and medieval architecture to keep any tourist busy for days on end. Although it can be quite noisy, despite Tallinn being one of Europe’s least populace cities. Therein lies the value of a comfortable five-star like Swissotel Tallinn, far enough away from Old Town for peace and quiet, but still just a 10 minute walk from the cultural hub.
Located in the city centre, right next to a large Stockmann’s department store, Swissotel is a charming hotel that makes the most of its status as the Tallinn’s tallest building. The vistas available from guest rooms, the resident Horisont Restaurant & Bar, and Pürovel Spa & Sport are truly stunning, taking in uninterrupted views of Old Town as well as the Baltic sea and the city. And this is most certainly a destination with a must-see skyline, dotted with medieval church and cathedral spires set against the placid bay of Tallinn.
Also featured in the hotel is a dedicated Cigar Lounge – common in Europe, but rarely as comfortable as this one – an all-day dining restaurant called The Quarter, where guests who may want to stay in for that still have access to a variety of local Estonian dishes.
The hotel totals 238 rooms plus a lush, well-appointed Executive Club Lounge, preceded by a rather dated lobby most notable for its bar and dessert-heavy cafe. The King Harbour View room is a treat to walk into, with attractive parquet flooring and large glass windows pulling in the view as well as plenty of natural light coming from two sides, opposite the soft kind-size bed and by the far set of windows where a cushy, and rather flamboyant, armchair sits by a stand alone table and a small but comfortable stool. The bed, which is fitted with the hotel’s signature all-white linen, faces a sleek polished timber working desk on which stands a modest 38″ television set with a comprehensive selection of over 100 channels and ample working space.
The walls of the generously sized bathroom may look a bit dated with their bronze tiling but the rest of the space is ultra-modern chic. Preceded by a smoked-glass sliding door, the bathroom is defined by black marble heated flooring which is activated by a switch underneath the sink. Swissotel’s own branded toiletries stand nearby while both a reasonably deep bathtub and a walk-in rain shower stand on opposite sides of the space. The inclusion of overhead speakers so guests are able to listen to the television while in the bathtub is a nice touch.
Free Wi-Fi is strong and incredibly fast, which is to expected since Estonia is considered to have some of the best public Wi-Fi in the world.
The high quality health spa should be of particular interest to guests, with highly trained staff and a gorgeous 20-metre pool which, like the rest of the hotel, makes great use of those views. Hot stone massages are offered alongside special treatments like hydrotherapy, although it’s perfectly fine to just settle for a good ol’ massage here – the staff really do know what they’re doing. Seeing as a lot of Finnish people frequent Estonia, the hotel would be completely shunned if it didn’t offer a quality sauna and steam room, so for those who like to sweat the stress away, spending some time making use of this traditional feature is a must.
With a modern sensibility that still feels connected to the city’s charming traditions, it’s obvious the consistency in quality that is often credited to Swissotel is mirrored in their Tallinn outpost, wrapping their elegant French aesthetic around a strong commitment to local culture. While there does seem to be a strong and focused business bent to the hotel – the property boasts seven multifunctional rooms including Estonia’s largest ballroom – this is an ideal stay for the traveller who is looking to really immerse themselves in Tallinn’s rich cultural scene while still resting in five-star comfort.
Rooms at Swissotel Tallinn start from around AU$142 per night
Address: Tornimäe 3, 10145 Tallinn, Estonia
Contact: +372 624 0000
The writer stayed one night as a guest of Swissotel Tallinn.
Feature image supplied.