Tallinn city center, in Kesklinn, is officially one of the city's eight administrative districts. However, we prefer to focus on the more interesting parts of Tallinn's city centre, which covers a significantly smaller area, because the rest of Kesklinn is not very interesting to tourists and repeat visitors. Areas beyond our focus are essentially residential areas or filled with office blocks. There is little to see and do in these parts of the city, so they are not covered here.
Instead, we expect that as a tourist, you will want to spend the bulk of your visit in Vanalinn in Tallinn's Old Town since it is a major tourist attraction, featuring medieval streets, old buildings, high walls and lofty towers, as well as modern restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. This is where you'll find the majority of the city's museums and tourist attractions, while other attractions are nearby.
"Around the town walls," as the tour guides call it, one can find an array of parks, museums, restaurants, pubs and shopping centers, all comfortably within reach of Old Town. Administratively, this area covers parts of two separate districts: Põhja-Tallinn and Kesklinn.
In other words, when we refer to a hotel in the city center, we mean that hotel is either located inside Old Town or very close to it (around the walls). The area inside Old Town is crowded. One will find a great many tourists bustling around there, especially during peak season. This means it can get very loud in the evenings as the partygoers start arriving at the city's pubs and nightclubs. If you're here for the nightlife, this is the place to be. If you're here on business, however, the noise may prove distracting or even a nuisance at odd hours of the night. In the area around Old Town, it is far more peaceful. On the down side, this area is not as intrinsically linked with Tallinn's medieval history, at least not in an authentic way.
5-star hotel, housed in 13th and 14th century buildings
The Schlössle offers 23 rooms with antique furniture, free iPads and free Internet, and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player. Some rooms feature a luxury en-suite bathroom with heated floors and a choice between a shower and bathtub. Guests also receive bathrobes and a private bath butler. Among the hotel's many facilities, the Cigar Lounge is one of the most popular among intellectuals.
Every detail from the cushions to the wall murals has been planned in exquisite detail to ensure comfort and style. A wide selection of cigars is offered with a glass of world-class cognac. Visitors come here to relax, read a book, or engage in private discussions on worldly issues. St. Petersbourg Hotel
Posh 5 star hotel, recently refurbished
The St. Petersbourg Hotel is run by the same management as the Schlössle. As a boutique hotel, it provides a unique experience, heavily styled to reflect the town's history with Russian merchants while paying attention to modern conveniences. Rooms are uniquely decorated, where some are very rustic, while others are chic and contemporary.
The old dining-room features a warm hearth and homely wooden furniture, while the summer terrace is more like an elegant outdoor cafe, dotted with fresh blooms.
The hotel is ideal for romantic getaways since it offers authentic period charm, access to the comforts of modern life, proximity to exciting nightlife, and special romantic packages to make your stay memorable. Among the hotel's restaurants, Kuldse Notsu Kõrts offers Estonian cuisine and the daily breakfast, while guests can try the Hermitage restaurant for traditional Franco-Russian dishes.
Businesspeople will be well placed here, given the hotel's location and proximity to local transport hubs. The hotel offers easy access to the Internet, phones, voicemail, and fax machines. Conference facilities are also available with advance notice. The Telegraaf
5 star spa hotel
The Telegraaf Hotel earned its name from the historic role it played as an exchange station of the Estonian Telegraph company after Estonia gained independence. Transformed into a luxury hotel, it has hosted celebrity musicians, businesspeople, prime ministers and presidents, and sportsmen and has won numerous awards. It is ideal for business guests, since a private lounge with newspapers, stationary, a personal computer with a printer and Internet access, a phone/fax, a TV, and refreshments are available. A personal VIP attendant is on hand to manage all travel arrangements on behalf of the guest.
The exclusive Elemis spa ranks among the best in the country and includes a sauna, steam bath, indoor heated pool, and hot tub. Guests visiting the spa can also request beauty treatments.
Restaurant Tchaikovsky offers Russian and French cuisine in a fine-dining experience. Wines, cocktails, and other beverages are served at the lobby bar daily, while the Symphony Lounge can be converted into a meeting room or private dining hall. The Three Sisters
Luxury boutique accommodation in a medieval style hotel
The Three Sisters is another boutique hotel in Old Town. Built in the 14th century as three independent houses, owned by a merchant, it was renovated in 2003. In 2010, it won an award at the "World Luxury Hotel Awards." The Three Sisters has made the necessary accommodations for guests in wheelchairs or those sensitive to allergens, with specially designed rooms. Families will enjoy the hotel, which features a special children's seating area for the breakfast buffet as well as babysitting services.
Business executives will be able to make full use of the conference facilities with presentation equipment, as well as the numerous executive services such as shoeshine, trouser press, fax/photocopying services, and VIP room facilities.
A menu of massages is available for those who want to unwind at the end of the day.
The Bordoo restaurant, which offers Estonian and fusion dishes, features a special Chocalatier Selection where guests have the opportunity to sample Estonia's world-famous chocolate. A bar and cafe are open for quick snacks and cocktails during the evening. BBQ facilities and a terrace are available.
The CRU Hotel
Luxury boutique hotel in the Old Town
I am impressed with the CRU, which is a luxury boutique hotel. The XIV century building can be found on the main street of Tallinn's Old Town. Every room contains wooden features and antiques, staying here is an experience in itself, adding to the charm of Tallinn.
Because of its central location, there is a noise factor to consider because of the tourists milling around. There isn't much vehicular traffic to contend with since only the locals drive around on these streets and there aren't too many of them living in this neighborhood.
The hotel's restaurant is well worth a visit. Run by a chef holding European and international awards, it offers delicious French and Estonian cuisine.
The Savoy Boutique
Savoy Boutique is a trendsetter for luxury accommodations, offering one of the best guest experiences in town. Even so, it remains moderately priced, and guests to this boutique hotel all agree that it offers excellent value for money. The chic art-deco style in the rooms is accentuated by luxurious furnishings, such that every room provides convenience and comfort.
Although it was built in 1890, it was renovated only a decade ago. Business guests can arrange for group meetings or seminars in the basement-level meeting room, which holds up to 30 people. Breakfast options are diverse and generous and are always offered with a glass of champagne. A sun terrace is open to guests who want to spend time outdoors without leaving the hotel, while the more adventurous can hire a bicycle at the front desk to ride around town. The Merchant's House
Great value boutique hotel
Merchant's House is located only 50 metres from the historic town hall, next to the Raekoja Plats. There's even a cathedral offering religious services, located about 400 metres from the hotel. Featuring a combination of classic medieval styles and contemporary styles, the property includes hidden staircases, a medieval facade, hand-painted fresco molds, and fully restored fireplaces.
Guests can choose whether they want a historical setting or a more modern style in their rooms. Regardless of their particular decor, every room comes equipped with air-conditioning, a minibar, personal safe, writing desk, electric kettle, and satellite TV. All guests have access to the hotel's sauna and massage parlor.
The hotel is an excellent choice for businesspeople, with a fully equipped business center and meeting-room facilities. The restaurant here serves both local and global cuisine at dinnertime and offers in-room dining options for added privacy. A guest's dietary preferences can be accommodated if they provide advance notice.
The Baltic Hotel Imperial
Enjoyable stay on a small budget
Baltic Hotel Imperial offers 32 rooms and many different services as a way of having something for everyone. Guests can make their preferences known, and the staff does its best to accommodate these. The hotel features a unique restaurant and pub that serves cocktails, snacks, and meals throughout the day. Guests with disabilities or allergies will be comfortable in special accommodations that meet their needs. In the spacious rooms, one will find high-quality fabrics and wooden furniture.
Built in 1877, against the city wall of the Old Town, it has been restored to accommodate short-term guests without losing its authentic historical features and artefacts. It was also once the base of the Soviet Russian embassy. A fully equipped conference room is available, as well as a CD player and a beamer for a surcharge. Sound and translation equipment can be provided, if requested in advance. In the private sauna, up to 12 guests can be seated in the Jacuzzi or enjoy the fireplace in the sitting-room. The deluxe rooms have their own kitchenette, while the suites come with their own sauna and Jacuzzi.
"Around the town walls"
For hotels around the town walls, you'll find the following accommodations ideal. Swissotel Tallinn
High-quality experience in a central location
Swissôtel Tallinn is one of the city's best luxury hotels. As the tallest building in town, the views from the rooms' picture windows are spectacular. It features modern furnishings and chic decor. Guests have free admission to the in-house spa.
Families with children will be especially comfortable here. The hotel offers specially designed children's rooms, adjoining their parents' room. At bedtime, the hotel delivers milk and cookies to the room.
To stay active, guests can use the gym, several saunas, and the indoor swimming pool.
TheHorisont Restaurant offers a panoramic view of the town with your cocktails and dinner. Radisson BLU Sky Hotel
Perfect business class hotel
Radisson BLU Sky Hotel Tallinn was built in 2001 as a business and leisure accommodation, with 280 rooms and suites. The four-star hotel has a contemporary vibe, unlike its more historic counterparts. Its location within the business district of Tallinn makes it a popular choice for business guests. Late and express checkout services are available, as is a 3-hour express laundry service. The Radisson BLU offers conference facilities that can easily accommodate up to 350 participants.
There is a well-equipped 24-hour health and fitness center and a choice between the in-house spa or a nearby deluxe spa. Two private saunas for up to 20 people are also available. For its Responsible Business programme, the hotel was awarded a Green Key eco label.
For breakfast at the hotel's Seasons Restaurant, up to 120 international dishes are served in addition to the traditional English breakfast. To get breathtaking sights of the city while sipping on a cocktail, guests can visit Lounge 24, which towers a good 90 metres above Tallinn's streets.
The Nordic Hotel Forum
Four-star business and conference hotel
The Nordic Hotel Forum is a four-star business hotel with more than 250 rooms on offer. A top notch business center, complete with conference rooms, professional banqueting staff, and presentation equipment are available. The sauna, steam baths, gym, and hot tub at the spa centre on the first floor are available to guests free of charge.
The hotel restaurant serves both Estonian and international cuisine, and the head chef has even served VIPs such as the Estonian president on occasion. The wait staff are knowledgeable and can offer suggestions that match dietary preferences. The summer terrace and lobby bar with its open fireplace are also very popular.
The Kalev Spa Hotel
The perfect spot for a family holiday
The Kalev SPA Hotel provides both convenient accommodation and family-friendly entertainment in one spot. Well known for its activity holiday packages, it was built in 2005 and offers up to 100 comfortable rooms facing either Old Town or Kanuti Park, with its show fountain, well-trimmed foliage and children's park.
Guests at the hotel can enjoy the services of the fitness, beauty and health centers and are within walking distance of the town's business and shopping districts. The wellness centre provides relaxing massages by professional masseurs as well as body treatments using high-end products. At the health center, guests can opt for salt chamber treatments, beauty injections and various medical treatments. Guests visiting the fitness center with young children can take advantage of the free babysitting service. Water aerobics is one of the most popular classes offered at the fitness center. At the waterpark, one can find a 50-metre pool with 8 lanes, a smaller pool of about half that size, a children's pool, and a tiny paddling pool for toddlers.
There are also themed baths such as a pearl bath and a flower bath, as well as a hot tub for a medium-sized group. Three water slides add to the fun, and the Finnish or steam saunas are not to be missed. Swimming classes are available. For a more exclusive experience, guests can try the VIP saunas on the hotel's first floor. The Von Stackelberg
Eco-friendly spa hotel
The Von Stackelberg is a fair distance away from the nightlife in Tallinn, so visitors can get a good night's rest without any disturbances. For a quiet place to spend the evening, guests can try the lobby bar, where they can get a good book from the library and relax in front of the fireplace with a cocktail. The courtyard is another place where hotel guests can escape to unwind at the end of the day, and drinks can be served here as well.
Although the hotel is a member of the Green Key Program and has worked to reduce its environmental impact, no modern-day conveniences are missing. The on-site luxury day spa offers a range of massages and beauty treatments.
The air-conditioned rooms at Von Stackelberg provide a personal safe, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a writing desk with a flat-screen desktop monitor to access the free Internet service. The bathrooms have heated floors and either walk-in showers or luxury baths. The Zen rooms and suites offer Jacuzzi baths and a range of aromatherapy accessories.