Design hotels in Tallinn
Here, we define Nordic design hotels as a type of hotel that has placed great importance on introducing chic, contemporary, stylish decor. Boutique hotels tend to be best known for this. In any case, the hotels in this category that we've chosen are only those that one would consider memorable and would recommend to others.
In general, Tallinn's contemporary hotels reflect a Nordic or Scandinavian influence in their design, tending to be mostly simple, low-cost, ecological and functional. Colors tend to be bright while accentuated by natural earthy colors, and artwork is minimalist. The design was developed in the 1950s as part of an attempt to make beautiful, functional everyday objects more accessible to the working class, rather than having these restricted to the wealthy. The average homemaker could draw a sense of the concept from renowned Swedish interior decor supplier IKEA, which provides cheap but functional and yet stylish items that most people can afford. Tallinn's contemporary hotels will have been decorated along similar lines, though with different suppliers.

For the most part, Tallinn's best hotels are historic buildings that fall into a completely different category for design. So it is rare to find any truly cutting-edge designer hotels, as one would expect to find in London, Amsterdam, or New York.

There are, however, a number of peculiar options that may just take your fancy. Try the following hotels for a quick sample.

The Nordic Hotel Forum, Swissôtel Tallinn, and Casa Kalamaja all feature Nordic design.

The Nordic Hotel Forum is typically chosen by business travellers and companies hosting conferences. The four-star hotel offers every modern convenience, while the classic, beautifully appointed rooms and public spaces never disappoint. With over 250 rooms on offer, guests are spoiled for choice with a variety of elegant rooms featuring contemporary bathrooms with mosaic floors, hidden from view by frosted glass with floral patterns. The spacious rooms are equipped with satellite TV, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. They generally feature colors of dark rosewood, whites, light browns, and burgundy and soft lighting, as well as randomly tiled floors.

Staff across the hotel are very accommodating and can assist with a range of requests. The summer terrace and the lobby bar, which features an open fireplace, are very popular. The indoor pool seems to stretch forever, appearing as if the room were flooded, and looking out onto the city through a giant picture window. The hotel's chic facade features dark panelled glass with a white floral pattern spreading across it like bougainvillea. Although floral patterns appear everywhere from the walls to the floors to the leafy pattern on the headboards of the beds, there aren't many floral arrangements (of real flowers) to be seen in the hotel, except in the main restaurant.

Swissôtel Tallinn, a luxury hotel, is the tallest structure in the entire town, offering breathtaking views of the harbor or sea or of Old Town from the guest room's picture windows. A panoramic view of all of Tallinn can be enjoyed at the hotel's Horisont Restaurant & Bar, which serves dinner and cocktails and is decorated in classic colors of white, black, and brown. In contrast to the rest of the Tallinn's medieval-style hotels, this hotel is very chic and offers modern furnishings, making it an excellent venue for weddings and private parties. The design is simple and functional enough to be useful for business conferences and product launches as well, with all the necessary equipment and facilities available on request. This hotel has the largest ballroom in Estonia. The comfortable air-conditioned guest rooms and suites offer both flat-screen cable TVs and free Wi-Fi for in-door entertainment. Special kids' rooms adjoin parents' rooms, featuring child-friendly decor, including Disney and Pixar themed items, and a bedtime room service option with milk and cookies.

The hotel's glass-panelled facade is striking during both daytime and night-time. The aquamarine waters of the indoor pool perfectly sets off the dark brown the carved wooden panels surrounding it. The elevator areas include large picture windows with a view of the city perfectly framed by the understated black and white of the indoors. Although some rooms can be small or oddly shaped, the space is used to its best advantage and are always accompanied by large windows to enhance the sense of space in the room.

Casa Kalamaja's luxury apartments are housed in a wooden building, dating back to 1901. It was recently renovated and meets strict safety standards. The one-bedroom self-contained apartments have access to the gardens and a free parking area, as well as a private back yard with a playground (featuring a sandpit with toys). Four overnight guests can be accommodated per apartment. Although meals are not provided, each apartment has a fully equipped kitchenette. The apartments have central heating, and their bathrooms have heated floors. Casa Kalamaja is typically described as cozy and practical, and the rates are very reasonable. All of the rooms are bright white from the paint on the walls to most of the furniture, accentuated only by light wood in the form of cabinets, flooring, and the dining table and chairs. The silver refrigerator and other kitchen equipment lend a splash of vibrant color in the kitchenette. The outside is painted a pleasant green and looks much like a large town home.

For more historic rooms featuring just a touch of chic decor, try the Von Stackelberg or The Three Sisters.

The Von Stackelberg was built in 1875 as a family home and converted into a 4-star hotel, retaining its historic style. It is located on the estate of German-Baltic Baron von Stackelberg. Although it is a member of the Green Key program, it has not skimped on any modern conveniences. Each room is air-conditioned and includes free WiFi, tea and coffee-making facilities, a writing desk, and more. The bathrooms have heated floors, and guests can choose either a bathtub or a walk-in shower. The hotel's special Zen rooms feature Jacuzzi baths and aromatherapy accessories. High-quality fabrics and furnishings can be found throughout the hotel. Stone and brick walls feature randomly throughout the hotel, including in the spa, some bedrooms, and meeting rooms. Tiny alcoves with hidden lighting set off otherwise ordinary items, such as books or a bowl of fruit, to make them appear as works of art. Some rooms also have unusual features, such as a sloping roof above the bed or a window seat. Long staircases wind up toward the top floors.

At the on-site luxury day spa, guests have access to massages and beauty treatments, as well as a sauna and Japanese pool. Books can be borrowed from the hotel's library and taken down to the lobby bar, where guests can read by the fireplace with a cocktail at hand. Drinks are also served in the courtyard, which is an excellent place to unwind in the summertime. From the courtyard, the hotel appears rather like a grand country inn, adding to its overall charm.

Lastly, The Three Sisters was formed after the conversion of three merchant houses, dating back to the 14th century. It was renovated to assume its current style as a luxury boutique hotel in 2003 but retains its antique-style furnishings and wooden beams and floors. The artwork and patterns on furniture are elegant but minimalist. Warm colors abound throughout the hotel mixed with the occasional splash of cool colors from stained glass or the marbled walls of the bathrooms. Providing a look at both old and modern styles, this boutique hotel offers free WiFi across the grounds and spare computers in the lobby. Each room includes a TV set, minibar, air conditioner, and private safe and features large comfortable beds. The contemporary bathrooms include a hair dryer and bathrobe with a bathtub or shower option.

The hotel's restaurant, Bordoo, features a special chocolatier section, where guests can sample Estonia's world-famous chocolate. Meals can also be taken on the Courtyard Patio, and guests can take advantage of the terrace with its BBQ facilities.
Looking up Tallinn's best hotels

People looking to stay in Tallinn have many good hotels to choose from. The Old Town features many wonderful hotels that keep visitors steeped in the area's medieval history. Business travelers may prefer to be closer to the business district, and there are many great hotels targeting them specifically. Tourists on a budget may want to check hotels on the outskirts of town that still provide wonderful views and an experience of the site's history while remaining easy on the pocket.

Old Town is famous for the examples of Hanseatic architecture one can see here. Often described as a mystical place, visitors enjoy walking along ancient cobblestone paths and staying in buildings that can date back to the 11th century. Everything from medieval churches to grand merchant houses can be found here. Parts of the city wall remain standing and at least one hotel has included it as part of its façade. In Town Hall Square, one can enjoy a number of events and activities from concerts to fairs and special markets.

Of the many hotels found in Old Town, Baltic Hotel Imperial, Savoy Boutique, and Schlössle are some of the very best, they offer excellent service, world-class accommodations, and a unique experience.

Merchant's House and St. Petersbourg Hotel in Tallinn can be found very close to St. Nicholas' Church and Toompea Hill. The hill is made of limestone and is right in the heart of the city. Rumor has it that the hill covers Kalev's grave and was created by his widow. Toompea today is the seat of government for Estonia and its parliament. Toompea Castle, standing in one corner of the mound, houses the parliamentary sessions.

Meanwhile, CRU Hotel can be found very close to the Viru gate, which was part of the city wall's defence system in the 14th century. While the actual gate was removed to make way for a horse-drawn tram route, the towers still stand.

Telegraaf Hotel is very close to Raekoja Platz, otherwise known as the Town Hall Square. As noted earlier, this is where festivals and concerts take place and where you can find the Town Hall. Stalls selling souvenirs and outdoor cafes are also found here.

The Three Sisters is another fine hotel with a long history, found very close to St Olaf's Church. Built in the 12th century and operating as a central point for an ancient Scandinavian community in days gone by, the church has been dedicated to King Olaf II of Norway, who was elevated to the status of a saint. It went under massive repairs in the 14th century, and over the years, it has burned down on three separate occasions. The tower alone has been hit by lightning at least 10 times.

Kalev SPA Hotel & Waterpark, found on Aia Street, is technically within the borders of Old Town, but it would be more accurate to say that it's right next to Old Town instead. The buildings of the waterpark along the edge of Old Town and the immediate surroundings are not medieval, unlike the rest of Old Town proper.

Nordic Hotel Forum in Viru Square is another good hotel found near Old Town and the Viru gate. Viru Square in the heart of Tallinn operated as a square until 2002, after which construction began on the Viru Center. Today, only a roundabout and a street name exist as reminders of the old square.

Kalamaja, an active fishing harbor throughout its history, has fallen into disrepair since Estonia regained its independence. The centuries-old wooden housing here is not the best in the city nor in the best condition. It is very close to the town centre. That said, it is a wonderful alternative party scene and an excellent place to view the old buildings from factories to houses just as they were all those years ago. Actors and artists are often seen hanging around here because of the excellent dining options available. You can also find new cafes, galleries, and bars all over the place. As a result of its increasing popularity, some renovation work has been done on several of the buildings, and two of Tallinn's best hotel apartments can be found here: Baltic Boutique Apartments and Casa Kalamaja. There are also a couple of great museums in the area: the Seaplane Harbor and the Patarei sea fortress and prison, built in the 19th century.

Kassisaba District, found near Old Town, also features a great many beautiful, authentic wooden houses with limestone foundations. The birch trees in the area give the surroundings the sense of calm one would expect from the countryside, even though it's located right in the middle of a city. Adding to the greenery is the local park and a large children's playground. Just like Kalamaja, many of the wooden houses here have been renovated, while others remain in bad shape. This gives you a broader experience of what the original houses would have looked like compared to the renovated versions.

The Von Stackelberg is one of the best hotels in this neighborhood, located right next to Falgi Park, which was once the site of an ancient pond before it was filled up to create the park in the 19th century. Entertainment activities are often scheduled here, and kids will enjoy the theme parks on the park's grounds.

Maakri is Tallinn's official business district, where you'll find Radisson Blu Hotel Tallinn and Swissôtel Tallinn - two excellent business hotels. Numerous high-rise buildings dot the area, though the local population is under a thousand.

For those seeking accommodations far from the crowds of tourists, the somewhat distant district of Pirita is the ideal choice. A generally quiet area with its own beach (the largest in Tallinn) and yacht harbor, Pirita is mostly filled with private houses rather than apartment blocks. It is known as one of the city's most prestigious and wealthy districts. Tourists flock to the beach in the summertime, but it is otherwise a calm, serene place. There aren't too many hotel options in this area, but the Pirita Convent guesthouse offers a unique place to stay and is not expensive.
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