Bday at Haikko Manor

Hubby had his birthday in early October and I decided to pamper him with an overnight stay and dinner at Haikko Manor & Spa. This is one of those places where we return regularly for relaxing minibreaks away from the daily grind. The manor hotel was opened in 1966 and expanded in 1974 when the spa hotel was completed and again in 1983 when the congress center was opened. Today the hotel has over 200 rooms of which 24 are in the manor house and 184 in the spa hotel.

The first historical recording of Haikko manor is from 1362 and the manor was owned by the Stenbock family until 1871 when it was sold to General Sebastian von Etter, whose family owned the manor for nearly 100 years. The manor has housed many famous guests including the grand duke Kirill Vladimirovitš Romanov and his family, painter Albert Edelfelt, and Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. The current manor house was designed in 1913 when the previous manor house had burned down. Due to the war, the construction was not completed until 1932.

The Mano House, picture from
Inside the spa, picture from

We arrived at Haikko on Saturday afternoon and spent time in the spa, after which we withdrew to our room to have some champagne and relax before dinner. Dinner was a four course Menu Nordic  designed by Chef Pekka Terävä, who is the co-owner of the one Michelin star restaurant Olo in Helsinki. The dinner was served at the Manor restaurant, in the main dining room, which was originally planned as a chapel. The restaurant has an historic ambiance of the Russian imperial era.

Manor House entrance hall, picture from
Dining room, picture from

We started with an aperitif, I had a G&T and hubby had a Bloody Mary. Then we were served Cep soup with deep fried kale. The soup was lovely with good-sized chunks of mushroom. Next came a Tartar of lamb from Åland served with pickled chanterelles. The meat simply melted in the mouth and the pickled mushrooms provided a nice vinegary contrast to the meat. The main was fish: Roasted trout with horn chanterelle consommé. The fish was very well seasoned and cooked. Dessert was Apple porridge with Kyyttö’s milk ice cream, which was a nice refreshing dessert. With dinner we enjoyed a nice bottle of white wine. The menu was a well though through whole that was very tasty. To round off the meal that left us stuffed we headed to the Manor Club for a night cap. The surroundings were a bit shocking but the whiskey went down well.

In the morning we went for a morning swim, had breakfast in the Romanov Dining Room which is part of the Manor restaurant, and then we headed back home. This was a great way to spend a weekend relaxing in historic surroundings with a cozy spa and delicious dinner. And the best part is it’s only a thirty minute drive from home. We will probably be back again in a few years.

Poroholma & Kylmäpihlaja – Rauma part 2

Our second day in Rauma started with a short drive to Poroholma camping as that is where the boat to Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse leaves. Poroholma is located on the bay of Otanlahti and offers a camping ground, caravan pitches and cabins. There are several restaurants, one of which is housed in a lovely old lace villa from the 19th century, on the camping ground and a tall ship harbor. As we wanted to make sure we got there on time we were actually quite early so we walked around the grounds for a while and I snapped some pictures.

The boat to Kylmäpihlaja is operated by Rauman Saaristokuljetus and depending on the day there are two to eight trips made per day. The connection is offered from early June to late August. The trip to Kylmäpihlaja takes around 50 minutes and the boat makes a stop at Kuuskajaskari on the way. Kuuskajaskari is a former military fortress island that now serves as a tourist attraction. The boat ride offers nice views and at least for someone like me who loves the sea it was very relaxing.

The Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse was completed in 1953 and it was the last manned lighthouse built in Finland, it also acted as a pilot station. These days the lighthouse is a tourist attraction and houses a hotel with 13 rooms and a 30-seat restaurant. The island also has a beach café, a souvenir shop, two saunas, an outdoor hot tub and a guest boat dock. The lighthouse is built of concrete and bricks. The tower of the lighthouse is 36 meters above the sea level and there and 12 storeys and 104 steps to the top of the lighthouse. The tower and two-storey wing offered housing for 12 pilots, eight cutter attendants and two lighthouse keepers. The light and radio equipment of the lighthouse, as well as the nautofono were powered with large diesel generators. The nautofono’s sound would carry 50 kilometers and the 1.26 million million cd light would carry 27 nautical miles but the range of the light was dropped to 15 nautical miles in connection with a renovation in 1988 and the nautofono has not been used in years. The observation deck near the top of the lighthouse offered magnificent views.


The island is quite rugged.

Two days in Rauma, old town and some museums – Rauma part 1

Last Thursday we headed to Rauma for a two nights minibreak to marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Rauma (Vanha Rauma), which is the wooden city centre of the town of Rauma. The area of Old Rauma is about 0.3 km², with approximately six hundred buildings (including houses and outbuildings like sheds) and about 800 people live in the area. The oldest buildings date from the 18th century, as two fires destroyed the town in 1640 and 1682. Most buildings are currently inhabited and owned by private individuals or businesses. Old Rauma was chosen to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991 as a unique example of a living and well maintained old Nordic wooden town. We also visited the Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse but more about that in a separate post.

We arrived in Rauma on Thursday afternoon and checked into Hotel Vanha Rauma, which is operating on an estate in the old town formerly known as Hotel Kalatori and Guesthouse Kalatori. The functionalist style building dates from the 1930´s and originally functioned as a warehouse and shops. Once we had settled we headed out to explore the old town, which felt almost abandoned at around four in the afternoon on a weekday in August. I am sure the situation is quite different in July when almost all of Finland is vacationing. We loved the quiet streets and chance to really get to look at the various buildings in peace.

Picture from

After a stroll and some refreshments we headed back to the hotel for some R&R before heading to dinner at around seven in the evening (more about the food we enjoyed while in Rauma in a separate post later). The reason for a relatively early dinner was that most restaurants closed at ten and the kitchens stopped serving at nine.

On Friday we started the day at the lighthouse and spent the afternoon exploring a couple of museums and the Church of the Holy Cross, which is a medieval fieldstone church. The exact age of the church is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this site around the year 1420. Historians assume the current stone church was completed in 1515–1520. The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The first museum we visited was called Marela and showed the life and lifestyle of a wealthy ship-owner and his family at the turn of the 19th century, the golden age of seafaring in Rauma. The details of the interior of the building such as ceiling paintings, paneling of ceilings and walls, stoves and doors have been preserved in the same state as during the time of the Granlunds that owned the house in the early 20th century. As the house and its contents had to be sold at an auction in 1907 nothing of the household goods of the Granlund family remains but the rooms have been furnished with the kind of furniture that are mentioned in the inventory list of 1907.

The second museum was called Kirsti and showed how people lived in Old Rauma from the early 1900s to 1970s. The main building of Kirsti is an example of the 18th century style of building. Documents indicate that it is from the beginning of the century and was lived in by 1732. Kirsti belonged to the same family over 200 years before it was acquired by the museum in the 1970s. Since the 1800s, seamen and craftsmen used to live in Kirsti.