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Experience: Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka, Helsinki

A review of the Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka in Helsinki, Finland on the trip The Great Eastern Summer.


  • Historic prison renovated into a luxury hotel.
  • Centrally located next to Linnanpuisto Park.
  • Finnish Spa and Gym.
  • Friendly and fun staff.


Welcome to the Clink! The Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka is a one of a kind hotel in the middle of Helsinki. Originally a prison built by Russian Tsar Nicholas I in the early 19th century, the old prison church still survives and is protected by the Finnish National Board of Antiques. Over time the prison was updated based on the Philadelphia Model which the model for most prisons in the world in the late 1800s. By 1960, 10,000 prisoners were moving through the prison every year. In 2002, the prison was closed and work began to turn the remaining building into a high class hotel. Some elements are protected by the Finnish National Board of Antiques like the outer walls and central hallway but the rest has been transformed to attract luxury travelers while also embracing their unique past.

Several rooms, such as the Holding Cell or the Group Cell are preserved in their original condition to give guests a feel of prison.

The once tiny prison cells are now spacious guest rooms of Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka with first-class amenities. Junior Suites even have private saunas, definitely not a feature prisoners go to enjoy. Each room has a flat screen TV, minibar, coffee and tea, safe deposit box, and two internet connections. The thick brick walls mean a quiet and restful environment.

The Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka has a traditional Finnish Sauna free of charge on weekends. Men and women have different time blocks or the sauna can be booked privately outside the normal time blocks, great for after a workout in the gym. The Gym is open 24 hours and full of equipment to suit any type of workout.

Outside the standard features of hotels, the Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka offers unique events which celebrate the colorful history of the hotel. Prison Break gives groups of guests the chance to break out of prison by solving puzzles and riddles while evading the guards! Or maybe try out the uniform and try to catch a prisoner in the hotel’s Prison Break 2 event. For brides and grooms to be the special interactive tour Behind Bars is offered for hen and stag parties. The bride and groom must complete a series of tasks along the way in order to be “freed” at the end. Each of these activities can be combined with a sauna night or dinner at the hotel for an evening full of entertainment.

The Church still is used as a church for weddings or an event room.

The Restaurant Jailbird continues the prison theme to create a distinct and cozy atmosphere for guests while they dine. The cuisine is Scandinavian with specialities like President Ryti’s beef, filet mignon grilled whole served with soups and salads. There are also special menus for children and vegetarian options. In the summer the Terrace Jailyard is open for drinks and appetizers while listening to live music and watching the street hustle and bustle.

The team at the front desk dressed in the prison style uniforms are very friendly and helpful. Whether its offering a historic tour of the property or giving inside tips on Helsinki, the team is readily available.

The historic charm and modern luxury make the Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka a great choice for a visit to Helsinki. I highly recommend this 4-star hotel for a unique and memorable stay for tourists and even business travelers.

Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka
Address: Merikasarminkatu 1a, 00160 Helsinki, Finland
Telephone: +358 9 686 45132


About David

Founder and writer at, David is on a mission to travel to every country in the world and has less than 10 countries left! He loves new adventures, unique cultures, historic landmarks, and luxurious hotels. Follow along as David shares a journey of a lifetime!