I’m not gonna lie, Midsummer always gets me. After all these years, and being super content with my Finnish life, the FOMO is heavy around Juhannus. For us foreigners, it can be a tricky time. We don’t have the strong traditions, the family mökki, the associations with Midsummer, the stories of our youth. It doesn’t have this presence in our mind and calendars, so by the time we notice that it’s midsummer time, cabins are unavailable and rental cars all booked up. While last year was particularly difficult for me, I’m more than happy with the plans for 2020, just getting out of the city and being away, just for a little bit, taking a deep breath and start to actively make my own Midsummer memories.
For International Sleeping Day, we spent a night at Sokos Hotel Flamingo to experience the perfect night of sleep! Sleep is so important, and while many of us are home at the moment, it is a great moment to challenge your sleeping patterns and figure out the perfect evening and sleeping routine. And then reward yourself with a fancy hotel night away, when things are back to normal – and have the best sleep ever.
Marski by Scandic is my parents’ favourite hotel, for several seasons. It’s right opposite of Stockmann, so a great central location, the tram to our apartment leaves in front of the door and there is a taxi line during the nights, so my mum has great entertainment when she can’t sleep. But over the years, it really needed an overhaul, and it finally got it – and is now the first Scandic Signature Hotel in Helsinki. Marski now fully embraces all the oddities, phrases and curious facts about the Finns that resounded throughout the land.
Helsinki has a bunch of really special hotels, and the newest addition to those is the Lapland Hotel Bulevardi that just opened in early 2019 – and it brings, as the same says, a piece of Finnish Lapland to the Capital. Using the heritage of the North to create a unique design experience is really quite the undertaking, and they succeeded magnificently. The care for detail prevails and it really is not just staying over at a hotel to have a place to stay, but a way to get a glimpse into Sami culture, in a way that feels natural and not kitschy at all.
Where one should stay when in Helsinki is probably one of my most-asked questions. I have family coming over, one of them being a history teacher – so I wanted to recommend a place that has a story to tell. There are countless possibilities and places, kinds of accommodation, and what kind of place feels best is something so subjective. What’s undeniable though is that there are not all that many places that have a lot of character to them, hotels can often be generic and pragmatic, but often lack charm and uniqueness – but the Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna is different. Opened in the 50s for the Olympic Games in Helsinki, it still managed to retain the vibes from the era, even after the extensive renovations they just concluded.
Getting out into the nature of pure, deep Finnish winter is something that everyone should experience. It makes you fall in love with the season, understand why winter can be incredible and just be out and away from daily life for a while. Luosto is an ideal spot to do that, amidst a gorgeous National Park and the Fells. Some action? Snowmobiling, skiing and husky sled safaris are only a few ideas.