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Hotel Review: Hotel Katajanokka in Helsinki, Finland

The entrance to Hotel Katajanokka in the Katajanokka neighborhood of Helsinki. It is an imposing-looking brick building.

The 4-star Hotel Katajanokka, situated in the quiet harborside neighborhood of the same name, was once a jail. Its past is evident as you approach the building. I knew its history when I made our reservations but forgot to inform Chris. When we arrived outside the hotel, he questioned my decision. 

“Well, you didn’t want the more expensive choice, so I chose this one.”

Hotel Katajanokka is part of the Tribute Portfolio collection of Marriot Bonvoy, featuring boutique hotels with an indie spirit. Until 2002, Hotel Katajanokka was a County Prison and pre-trial Detention Center. In 2007, this captivating establishment was transformed into a refined hotel with touches of Nordic luxury throughout.

We arrived after a long, overnight train ride from Rovaniemi, Finland, looking like we’d just been on a long, overnight train ride. When we approached the front desk, hours before our check-in time, we were greeted with warmth and hospitality. The desk staff checked our luggage, leaving us free to explore Helsinki with ease. 

More of the jail feel of Hotel Katajanokka's exterior.

Hotel Katajanokka’s Location

The quiet Katajanokka neighborhood where Hotel Katajanokka is located is within an easy walk to a variety of popular Helsinki destinations: Skywheel Helsinki, Uspenski Cathedral, and Design Museum. From the hotel, you can walk or take a tram to a variety of restaurants. If you visit during the summertime, there will be sunlight throughout most of the day and night, which makes walking home from a night out easy. Helsinki is a safe city to walk around, and its public transportation system is easy to use. 

Our Superior Room (King Bed, Courtyard View)

Finland Helsinki Hotel Katajanokka Superior Room (King Bed, Courtyard View). Plush velvety drapes, a loveseat at the end of the bed, nightstands, chair, cool nature-inspired mural behind the bed.

If you love the sounds of silence, you’ll appreciate the hush of this hotel’s rooms. Reconstructed within cell blocks with thick brick walls, they’re quiet. Our room might have been the quietest room I’ve ever slept in. It was a spacious sanctuary of comfort and quiet – plush furnishings, luxurious curtains, and a large bath with complimentary bath salts. 

Drinks + Dining

Restaurant Linnankellari serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Its menus feature local ingredients, often prepared with a Finnish-Scandi sensibility.  Located in the basement, it embraces the hotel’s prison vibe. In the summertime, seating is available on the hotel’s courtyard terrace. 

In the evening, you can order the chef’s four-course menu or a la carte. Restaurant Linnankellari’s a la carte menu is broken into cleverly titled sections, like Water & Bread, which features toast Skagen (shrimp toast) and soups. Its Creaking on the Chain section features small bites like pork belly and Brussels sprouts. Main Courses, mostly prepared on a hot charcoal grill, can be found under the Principal Penalty. 

Both breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. While the breakfast options stay fairly consistent, lunch options change by the day. Menus are posted online each week. 

In addition to the restaurant, there is a lobby bar where you can partake in a tasty beverage or two. 

Hotel Katajanokka Amenities

There is a Fitness Center with a variety of equipment, including cardio machines, free weights, and weight machines. Our stay was brief, and our itinerary was full, so we did not have a chance to check out the fitness room. Laundry can be done on-site. There is a dry-cleaning service and room service.


Our room’s rate was €234 (about $249.50) per night. We stayed June 14th – 15th, 2023.

Would We Stay at Hotel Katajanokka Again?

Absolutely! Hotel Katajanokka is luxurious and mysterious. Our room was quiet. We love Helsinki, so we hope to be back. 

Hotel Contact Information:

Hotel Katajanokka  
Helsinki, Finland, 00160
Tel: +358 2-93200620

Will you have just a day to explore Helsinki? Check out our A Day in Helsinki is Happy By Design post or our video, A Happy Day in Helsinki: Design, Food, and Drinks!!!  

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