Review: Hotel Kämp, Helsinki

Introduction
Andrew’s experience flying American to Helsinki
American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago
American Airlines Business Class Chicago to Helsinki
Hotel Kämp, Helsinki
Exploring Helsinki
Touring Helsinki Airport
Finnair Lounge Helsinki
American Airlines Business Class Helsinki to Chicago


One of the things I was looking forward to about visiting Helsinki is staying at Hotel Kämp, the only Starwood property in Helsinki (and also a Luxury Collection property). The hotel belongs to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, and if you book through them the benefits are as follows:

  • Noon check-in upon arrival, when available
  • 4PM late check-out
  • Room upgrade, when available
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • A complimentary dinner for up to two people

Now, as a Platinum member the first three benefits aren’t especially valuable to me since I get them anyway. The breakfast is useful since it means I don’t have to give up my 500 point Starwood welcome amenity in order to choose breakfast. And the dinner for two was valuable as well. So I booked one room using an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts rate of €170/night, while I booked the other room using a AAA rate of €160 per night.

Upon landing we took a taxi to the hotel, which took about 20 minutes and cost about €45. It was immediately apparent that the hotel had a great location in the heart of the city.

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Hotel exterior

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Hotel exterior

The lobby had a beautiful classic design, probably physically the highlight of the hotel.

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Hotel entrance

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Lobby

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Lobby

There were two other people trying to check in ahead of us, and they were informed that their rooms weren’t yet ready. So I was fully expecting we wouldn’t be able to check in yet either, though when it was our turn I was happy to hear our rooms were ready (though it was a bit awkward, as the other people that were told their rooms weren’t ready overheard that).

I quietly asked if they had any suites available, and the agent informed us we had already been upgraded to “premium deluxe rooms.” Based on looking at the website, premium deluxe rooms are simply standard rooms on a high floor. Now, ultimately we were happy just to be able to check in early and get a nap before starting the day so I preferred a standard room over waiting for a suite, though the agent seemed quite convinced that the suites were all sold out, despite the website showing more than a handful still for sale.

My room was on the 8th floor, room 816.

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Hotel stairway

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Hotel hallway

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My room, 816

I find the Starwood Luxury Collection properties to be pretty “unique” on the whole. While there are some exceptions, for the most part they’re hotels that are a bit past their prime and don’t seem to want to pay for a renovation.

For a standard room, I found the room to be quite spacious at over 350 square feet. There was a comfortable king size bed, a chair with ottoman, and a desk by the window.

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Premium deluxe room

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Premium deluxe room

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King bed

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Desk

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Chair with ottoman

The room faced the courtyard, so views were non-existent.

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View from the room

The bathroom was the highlight of the room, with a nice bathtub and walk-in shower.

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Bathtub

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Bathtub

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Sink

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Shower

Shortly after getting to the room I was delivered a letter with the voucher for our complimentary dinner. Usually I find that when a hotel offers a Fine Hotels & Resorts dinner you can order what you’d like off the menu up to a certain dollar limit, but this hotel has a three course “Amex Menu.”

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Menu

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Voucher for dinner

So the first night we had dinner at Brasserie Kämp on their terrace, which offers great views of the nearby streets. Like I said above, there was a set menu which I found a bit restrictive, especially since there weren’t any choices, though fortunately I liked all the things they served.

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Salmon with purple potatoes

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Fillet of beef and baked potato

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Strawberries and peanut cake

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Cafe latte to finish off the meal

Breakfast was also served in the restaurant starting at 6AM, and both the Platinum and Fine Hotels & Resorts breakfast benefit got you access to the full buffet.

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Entrance to the restaurant

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Entrance to the restaurant

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Restaurant

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Restaurant

The buffet consisted of cereal, yogurt, pastries, fruit, fish, cheese, meat, salad, eggs, etc. The service in the restaurant was a bit slow and not especially friendly, as I felt like I was inconveniencing the staff whenever I asked for a drink refill.

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

The only other facility worth mentioning is the gym, which has fairly modern equipment for a Luxury Collection property.

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Gym

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Gym

Summing it up, the hotel had a great location and was nicely designed/decorated. It could use a refresh, but the Helsinki hotel market doesn’t seem all that competitive, so I can see why that’s probably not a priority.

The one area where the hotel disappointed was with service. It’s not that the employees were actively rude, but I didn’t come across anyone that smiled or actually seemed happy to be there. Beyond that, there were also some issues related to the birthday of a friend staying at the hotel at the same time, which left me a bit dumbfounded.

So I wasn’t blown away by this hotel, but if I were back in Helsinki I’d probably stay here again due to a lack of better options.

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Comments

  1. Your comment the “hotels that are a bit past their prime and don’t seem to want to pay for a renovation” has me worried – I’m booked into The Palace Hotel of the Luxury Collection in SF soon. ….As yours was, my room, also booked through FHR, should be 340sqft. The lowest level room AMEX had for sale was the Deluxe room. Upgrade would be to Grand Deluxe – which based on the website I’m not sure on the difference aside from 30sqft. Probably similar to your premium situation.

  2. Yet another report of member SPG properties violating their own T&C on Plat suite upgrades. Misbehaving properties are really tarnishing the SPG brand, and making me wonder if it’s even worth trying to hit Plat this year…

    Why doesn’t SPG crack down on misbehavior? Or at least change the language in their benefits? I hear about this stuff all the time, and puts a really sour taste in my mouth.

  3. I’m guessing the drink refill issue was for coffee? It’s just if it was juice then the buffet looked like it had plenty to pick from on self service so I can’t see why staff would refill it? 🙂

  4. I had the same issue at Hotel Kamp regarding a Platinum suite upgrade. Several were available and the agent said they were all booked. After I showed him that I could book one on the spot, he very reluctantly found a way to assign me to one. It was definitely worth the effort.

  5. Ben: I recently had an issue with space showing for a suite as well and pushback from the front desk about receiving the upgrade. Any thoughts on how to get front desk employees to honor the upgrades that they’re supposed to provide?

  6. How coincidental that both the flight and the hotel were serving Beef with Foyot sauce! Or was it? And what is Foyot?

  7. @ palooza — Best way in my experience is to either show them that there are several suites for sale on SPG’s website and if that doesn’t work to Tweet @spg.

  8. @ Ray — Hah, that’s funny. Was quite good in the restaurant. What’s foyot? You’re asking the wrong person!

  9. Foyot sauce is basically sauce Bearnaise with meat glaze(glace de viande)added. Great over purple potatoes. Ha.

  10. Trust me – the standard room is A LOT smaller than your premium deluxe room.

    I received a nice suite upgrade overlooking the esplanade when I was there. Lucky me 😉

  11. That’s a cafe au lait not a cafe latte though you drink coffee from Starbucks so wouldn’t expect you too no the difference!

  12. Just to confirm, booking one room as FHR and the other normally as Plat, both rooms (4 adults total) get breakfast?

    Thanks

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