Finland may be better known as a winter vacation spot, but summer visits to Joensuu make being outside easy, especially when you call the Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel your home away from home. Located in a relatively unknown section of Eastern Finland, even if you’ve toured all day, it’s hard to pass up an evening walk along the river path located steps outside the hotel’s front door. You might even see a local angler reeling in dinner.
The Original Sokos Hotel Kimmel has 230 rooms available in a number of categories ranging from one Presidential Suite, to Standard and Economy rooms. Though there’s something for every budget, a majority are Standard rooms. With two twin beds that could easily be pushed together, my Standard Twin room also had a desk with easy access to electrical plugs for charging the assorted gear that comes along with traveling. With white walls, parquet wood floors, and basic wooden furniture, there’s not much color in the rooms, but they are clean and comfortable.
The bathroom had only one sink, but the vanity was large with plenty of room for toiletries. Both liquid soap and shampoo are provided via refillable push dispensers near the vanity and inside the shower, but be sure to bring your own hair conditioner if needed. There is no rim or pan to separate the shower floor from the rest of the bathroom floor. Water flows out through a central drain in the middle of the floor; a large portion of the bathroom floor can get wet quickly, so be careful if you leave anything on the floor. Bathroom floors are heated.
Breakfast is included with every stay. The buffet includes an assortment of yogurt, fruit, breads and pastries, in addition to hot items like eggs, bacon and sausage. There’s a large indoor play area for kids just outside of the restaurant.
The hotel basement is home to a handful of amenities. Around the pool area, there are a few exercise machines. There are also two saunas; one sauna is for women and one is for men. Guests must be naked to use the saunas. Swimsuits are not allowed.
Set on Sirkkala Park and the Pielisjoki River, it’s hard not to go out for a walk on summer evenings that go on until well past 10pm. The hotel is also within easy walking distance of what’s considered Joensuu’s downtown. There are an assortment of stores and restaurants, along with the Taitokortteli, or the Artisan’s Corner. Highlighting Finnish handicrafts like weaving, pottery and candle making, 30 or so artisans have small shops. It’s a good stop if you’re hunting for gifts or souvenirs. Bicycles, available to rent at the hotel for four hour stretches or by the day, are also a nice way to explore the area.
Wi-Fi is complimentary and if you didn’t bring your own device, tablets can be borrowed from the front desk. Parking is available for a fee.
Rates for a Standard twin room range from $101 to $189. All rooms are non-smoking, but not all rooms have air conditioning. (Economy rooms and Superior King rooms do not have air-conditioning.) If it’s important, be sure to verify when booking. Make your reservation online at the hotel website or any booking site such as Travelocity or Expedia.
Review and photos by Dana Rebmann. Her stay was hosted by Visit Karelia, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.