Another Helsinki staycation and wine bar visit
As I’m a sucker for any type of hotel offer, I simply had to book another staycation when Scandic made an offer I couldn’t refuse. So the weekend before Valentine’s day we headed back to Scandic Grand Central Helsinki for a one-night stay.
Fast lane check-in not so fast
I decided to test the Scandic app check-in option. This was supposed to save me time at the hotel as I would pick up the key at a special desk. Well not quite. When we arrived there were many people at the check-in and the lady manning the key pick-up counter decided to handle a regular check-in just as I was getting ready to go pick up our key. After a while another check-in person was free, and I walked over and said I had already checked in. She said it wasn’t a problem and simply went at got my key and documents from the pick-up counter. The service seemed handy, and I get why they also handle normal check-ins when it’s busy but of course, I wish I could have simply walked up and got my key right away. Well, maybe next time.
Superior room in original part of hotel
I had booked a Superior room in the original part of the hotel. This used to be the old headquarters of the Finnish railway company VR. You can read more about it here as well as our first visit to the hotel. This time our room was in the middle of the original building and the layout was a bit different than in the end room we had last. The room had a bathtub with a lovely rain shower. It had a super-comfy king bed and big windows. The room had classic décor and was functional for a short stay. I do love staying in hotels with history. Either be it old hotels or old buildings converted into hotels. There is something about the vibe of such places I simply love.
Wine bar Apotek for dinner
For dinner, I had booked a table at wine bar Apotek. The bar is housed in the historic pharmacy Swan from 1918. This was our first visit to Apotek but will not be our last. As soon as we walked in the door I fell in love with the place. The old pharmacy décor is very much present, and the bar has a Mediterranean feel to it. The servers were friendly and attentive. After they seated us, we ordered drinks and browsed the menu. We ordered a charcuterie-platter to share and some individual plates. I chose a scallop dish with pumpkin and hubby had a cured salmon dish and beef tartar. The bar updates the menu frequently so the menu on the site is not the one we had. The dishes are starter-size and the dining style reminded me of a tapas place. I settled for a nice glass of cava and hubby opted for beer. The wine list is also updated frequently, and I would love to go back and test a few wines one day. The food was delicious and beautifully prepared. We were full but not stuffed after eating and had a nice stroll back to our hotel.
Since there were still some COVID restrictions in place the hotel had staggered breakfast. As we seldom sleep in and there were some interesting Olympic events happening on Sunday morning, we had breakfast at 8 am. That early the breakfast rooms were not crowded and the food was nice and fresh. Breakfast offered plenty of choice and some slightly more inventive options than your most typical breakfast buffet. After breakfast we packed, I checked out with the app and we headed back home.
All in all a great staycation. It is strange how even one night away can feel like a vacation. We will undoubtedly stay at this hotel again and visit Apotek again. We’ll be heading to Tallinn in a couple of weeks so blog posts to come on that adventure.