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Crowne Plaza Helsinki – Hesperia is full of stories and feelings

2.12.2020 Text: Helsinki This Week Photos: Crowne Plaza - Hesperia

Hotel Hesperia was a legendary place in Helsinki in the 1970s and 1980s. Now the classic has got a great new look and is ready to take that place in the sun again.

In 1973 and 1975, two Conferences on Security and Co-operation in Europe were held in Helsinki. Distinguished guests were accommodated in two brand new hotels, Hotel Hesperia and Hotel Intercontinental, both built in 1972 along Mannerheimintie, right next to Töölönlahti Bay. Hotel Hesperia was inaugurated in May 1972 and legendary President Kekkonen himself visited the hotel.

The hotel was full of Finnish design, art and architecture. The magnificent building with a marble surface was designed by architect Pauli Lehtinen and the interior design by architects Jorma Valve and Maj Kuhlefelt. The hotel’s textiles were designed by Marjatta Metsovaara and the original interior was based on the Prisma furniture series designed by Voitto Haapalainen. The furniture was manufactured in Finland, of course, by Martela.

Hotel Hesperia was a real phenomenon. At the time of opening, the hotel had 285 rooms and many restaurants and shops. In front of the hotel, there was the impressive 10-meter sculpture Ode to the 60,000 lakes by the Finnish artist Kimmo Kaivanto. Downstairs the legendary Hesperia nightclub hosted parties and over the years both Finnish and foreign celebrities were seen there. The legend has it that the famous Frank Zappa, ABBA, James Brown and Sammy Davies Jr. visited the place, among others. Between 1979 and 1988, the nightclub hosted the Winter Carnival, a celebration in the middle of the coldest winter in January, and the event became a tradition for many years. Hesperia was also the first place in Finland to open a Blackjack table in 1982.

The new era of Hesperia

Today, the hotel is called Crowne Plaza Helsinki – Hesperia and it is operated by Scandic Hotels Oy. In 2020, Scandic carried out a thorough renovation of the hotel. The interior renovation was carried out by Helsinki-based interior design firm dSign Vertti Kivi & Co. The facade remained intact as the dilapidated marble façade had already been replaced by granite at the time of the 2005 renovation. Now there’s also a 2,000-square-foot fitness center downstairs where the nightclub used to be.

Currently, the renovated hotel has 349 individually decorated rooms of different room categories. In addition to the traditional Standard, Superior, Junior Suite and Suite, the hotel has a few specialities for guests to enjoy. The WorkLife rooms are designed for a varied stay: working, relaxing and entertaining at the same time. The rooms have free Wi-Fi, lots of sockets and USB plugs, but also a comfortable sofa corner for relaxing. Club rooms (along with Club Lounge) on the top floor of the hotel, on the other hand, are reserved for Club guests only.

Elegant, glamorous and familiar

Respecting the long history, the hotel restaurant has been renamed as Hesperia Restaurant & Bar. The bar is right next to the main door and has a pleasant and attractive décor. Some of the legendary 1970s drinks of the old Hesperia Hotel can be found from the drink menu and the restaurant serves classics, such as the Hunter’s beef sandwich and Shrimp cocktail. There are also plenty of other options, for example, a seasonal 3-course menu. The beautiful Hesperia Ballroom is also worth mentioning: It’s a 518 m² banquet restaurant on the second floor of the hotel, suitable for a variety of occasions and parties with huge windows and a private bar counter. No wonder it is a popular wedding venue.

The renewed restaurant, lobby bar and hotel lobby form an ensemble that is elegant, even glamorous, and feels familiar. Just like you would have seen it in the 70s, but still somehow new and fresh. Stunning carpets and round shapes make the space homey and festive at the same time. Adjacent to the main entrance is a working area where you can hold small meetings or work freely. At the reception Marketplace you can get coffee and snacks. Comfy chairs and tables and plugs for your laptop and phone ­– what else is needed for a good working day!

Hesperia has always been, and still is, known as a conference hotel. There are 15 different spaces in the building and a lot of different and personal solutions for organizing any event. The house has its own event coordinator, with whom you can plan your event easily and the Meetings Director handles the arrangements as desired. In Hesperia, you can count on everything to go like clockwork!

-> We recommend experiencing the enchantment of Crowne Plaza Helsinki – Hesperia. The hotel currently has great December offers that are worth taking advantage of. And you can come to the lobby bar at any time for a glass or two!

Crowne Plaza -Hesperia
Mannerheimintie 50

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