Though often overshadowed by the ever-popular New Nordic and ultra-trendy hygge movement pioneered by its southern neighbors, in recent years, the Finnish capital of Helsinki has emerged as a bastion of Scandi-cool in its own right. Fresh off of a yearlong celebration of the country’s 100th anniversary of independence—which saw huge contemporary art exhibits and the construction of dreamy temporary ice castles—the city is drawing in more well-heeled visitors than ever before thanks to a slew of buzzy new restaurants and cutting-edge saunas. And now, the jet-set crowd has a fittingly stylish place to stay with this month’s opening of Hotel St. George.
Earning its designation as a Design Hotels member with aplomb, the property is located inside a painstakingly restored former newspaper printing house in the humming center of the city. The circa-1840 structure, along with an adjacent smaller building, has been transformed into a beacon of Finnish design and contemporary art—mixing minimalist-driven aesthetics with a cozy, homelike feel. Also once home to the Finnish Literature Society, the hotel pays homage to the building’s deep cultural roots with an exclusive partnership with the Helsinki Art Museum and the National Gallery. This affiliation gives the hotel access to coveted works like Ai Weiwei’s sweeping Tianwu, a floating multiheaded dragon that greets guests as they make their way into the lobby—and it’s the only work by the prolific Chinese artist displayed in a public space.
Over 300 other pieces of contemporary art by both Finnish and international artists are dotted throughout the property’s public spaces and 148 guest rooms. Boasting large picture windows, each guest room has been designed to make the most of natural light—boosting guests’ moods during the dark winter months and helping them battle jet lag as they arrive from the far-flung corners of the world. Though all the rooms are stylishly outfitted in a palette of minty green, pearly grays, and warm browns as well as quietly luxe finishes, the hotel’s five individually designed suites dial up the opulence factor—boasting sweeping terraces, rare designer furniture, and unrivaled views of the city.
The public spaces downstairs reference other parts of traditional Finnish culture—with the expansive, glass-roofed Wintergarden bar and restaurant nodding to the grand interior gardens common to the country’s top estates during the 18th century. The spa, of course, also taps into one of Finland’s best-known exports: the sauna. In addition to boasting a traditional sauna, the experience in the subterranean space has been built around Finland’s sparkling waters—said to be the purest in the world—incorporating them into a steam room, swimming pool, and invigorating cold plunge pool, perfect for refreshing guests’ minds and bodies after long days out exploring the city.