Hotel Katajanokka | Staying The Night In A Former Helsinki Prison

While visiting Helsinki, if you are looking for a place that is comfortable, convenient, and has a fascinating backstory, look no further than Hotel Katajanokka. This 4-star property is located within a historic former prison setting. The tagline of Escape The Ordinary could not be more true for this particular property!


Although it is a hotel today, this building originally opened as the Helsinki County Prison. It is neat to go throughout the hotel and see the reminisce of the former prison. The main building dates back to 1888, while the oldest part of the building was opened in 1837 with a total of 12 prison rooms. There are many stories from the prison days that the staff can tell you if you ask!

Prisoners were held in this building up until 2002. After many renovations and lots of planning, the prison was transformed into the high class hotel that it is today in 2007.


The rooms at Hotel Katajanokka are very lush and comfortable. As we were checking in, we were told that the room we would be staying in consisted of two old prison cells. After entering the room and looking up at the ceiling, you could see the divide.

There were keys to cells hung on the wall within frames which made for interesting decorations. It was really interesting knowing that the room I was staying in used to hold several inmates at a time.

There was a really nice and functional gym located just around the corner from the restaurant. It is always a bonus to have a gym, especially during long stays.

The beds and furniture were very comfortable and functional, which is a huge bonus when you work on the go like I do. The rain shower was something that I really loved. Overall, the room was just what I needed during my Helsinki stay.

The outside of the property has the original red brick. When you walk out into the hallway, you get the feel of a prison. The high ceilings, the openness, the railing, it all gives you the sense that this once was a prison. It is quite interesting walking around a former prison when everything around you is modern and high class. I really loved this experience.


The location could not have been better in my opinion. There was a tram stop right outside of the hotel, which runs quite frequently. It is a short walk to the famous Allas Sea Pool and the markets.

It is very easy to get around Helsinki due to the wonderful public transport system. By getting on the tram by the hotel, you can reach nearly anywhere in the city within just a few minutes! Staying in the Katajanokka area was really nice because you are close to things without being right in the middle of crowds.


There is an amazing restaurant located in the basement of Hotel Katajanokka. You can choose to pay for the breakfast buffet, and it is most definitely worth it. With a wide variety of foods, there is definitely something that everyone will enjoy. You will find hot food, cold meat and cheese, and many choices of juices. You can even have ice cream for breakfast if that’s your thing! I loved going there in the morning as a perfect start to my days of exploring.

If you are looking for an amazing dinner in Helsinki, you don’t even have to leave your hotel! The Linnankellari restaurant is the perfect stop for simple and delicious food. We had the privilege of trying many things on the menu, and everything was equally amazing. There are even great vegan options!


When visiting Helsinki, the Hotel Katajanokka is your perfect home away from home with a twist. There is every comfort of home, while also providing a fascinating history with your stay. I would not hesitate to visit Hotel Katajanokka again during my next visit to Helsinki!

10 thoughts on “Hotel Katajanokka | Staying The Night In A Former Helsinki Prison

    • I definitely get what you mean. In this particular situation, I felt great throughout the whole stay! The history is interesting and the staff are outstanding 🙂

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