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April 18, 2024

Hobo Helsinki Is Officially Open for Check-In, Making a Big Splash on the Finnish Cultural Scene

Hobo Helsinki is officially live! The success concept from Stockholm has landed in neighboring Finland, right in the heart of the capital. Hobo Helsinki's building has been renovated for almost two years, with a design philosophy set by award-winning studio aisslinger. Now, the hotel is finally opening the doors to a visionary meeting place for both international visitors and the local community.

Say moi to the newest addition to the Hobo family: Hobo Helsinki. On April 15, Nordic Hotels & Resorts’ most successful lifestyle concept opened its doors to a second iteration, this one in Finland, right in the center of Helsinki. The concept has its origins in Sweden, with Hobo Stockholm opening in 2017 in the then newly-reimagined Brunkeberstorg. Its disruptive approach to hospitality proved to be a popular one, quickly making the hotel an institution on the Stockholm culture scene. 

 

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The Hobo bar will be the like the heart of the house and a natural meeting point.

 

By going against the norms of how a boutique hotel should look and be, Hobo Hotel has been a pioneering player on the hotel market from day one. The focus is less on concierge services and fine dining, and more on live concerts and pop-up clubs. With Finland getting its own Hobo Hotel, the goal has been to create a hotel by the local community, for the local community.

Mika Makkonen, General Manager at Hobo Helsinki, looks forward to showing both locals and tourists around a long-anticipated cultural hub in the Finnish capital.

– I am incredibly excited and proud to finally be able to welcome guests to Hobo Helsinki. This place will truly be made up of the people who fill it. With a strong ambition to bring together both Helsinki residents and visitors who believe in optimism, humility and respect, we hope to become a vibrant and central part of Helsinki, says Mika.

 

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With 183 rooms, ranging from lavish Suites to compact Sleepers, Hobo Helsinki has something for every taste.

 

Creating a Local Classic

Hobo operates with an unwavering philosophy in mind: to reflect the city from which it is sprung. By operating in a constant beta mode, the operation is free to continuously test new strategies and concepts in-house. Decor and activities are always curated locally, with the goal of creating an ever-changing type of meeting place for the local community. The hotel operates under the vision "go local, get global", living by the motto that only by being your most authentic, local self can you be internationally relevant.

This beta mode approach has already proven successful in Helsinki. Running alongside the physical construction of the hotel, Hobo Helsinki has involved the local community in its so-called "beta phase" ahead of opening. During this five-part phase, the hotel has explored how it should look, sound, taste, and feel once opened. Key stakeholders, profiles and personalities from both the local community and the creative fields in Helsinki have been invited to a series of experimental events. They have gotten the opportunity to try out and—most importantly—help choose the art hanging on the hotel’s walls, the menus in the restaurant and bar, the signature scent of the hotel, the room amenities as well as the overall vibe.

 

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During the Drink Beta, the local community got the chance to collectively decide what the bar menu of the hotel will look like.

 

One of the beta phase events, the Taste Beta, took place at the end of February. The head chefs of the hotels in Helsinki and Stockholm, Tommi Suviniemi and Sebastian Pettersson respectively, gave 50 guests a culinary sneak peek of what they envision Hobo Helsinki will taste like. Guests were able to workshop on the subject and vote for their favorites. One of the clear favorites was a classic Finnish semolina porridge, “mannapuuro”, here interpreted with a Hobo twist.

– Hobo is a meeting place both for modern travelers who want authentic, local experiences and for locals who want a piece of their city. With us, guest chefs, local microbrewery beers, changing art, and live music are in constant dialogue with the city's changes, says Mika Makkonen, General Manager at Hobo Helsinki.

 

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Unexpected layouts meet eye-catching design choices.

 

The Architecture of Optimism

The building that is Hobo Helsinki previously hosted another hotel. With a new lease on life, it has been repurposed to unite the hyper-urban brutalism of the Kluuvi area with a feeling of freedom and ease. Behind the interior are the masterminds at Berlin-based studio aisslinger, who are also responsible for the interior of Hobo Stockholm. The design team at studio aisslinger have previously done Hotel Michelberger and 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, to name a few.

One distinct part of the Hobo personality is its optimism. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the architecture. Drawing from the same design principles as in the Swedish iteration, but here with a uniquely Finnish touch, studio aisslinger has worked with the concept of the Architecture of Optimism.

The concept of the Architecture of Optimism has its history in the 1960’s communes that emerged around the US. Utopian ideals, and a way of living and working in communities, ushered in a new sense of freedom. These communities believed that with optimism, they could influence the future. studio aisslinger’s take on it is characterized by an unexpected, democratic, committed and engaged way of looking at architecture; a type of optimism that doesn’t rest on its laurels, but instead expects the new and surprising.

 

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Hobo's signature peg walls look different at every hotel. In Finland, it has a more brutalist touch and is comprised of big brickstones.

 

When creating Hobo Helsinki, studio aisslinger has worked extensively with mining the city. Local materials have been reused, like natural stones, terrazzos and bricks from the Nordics. Typical local woods and tiles have been implemented as well. Trying to take the sustainable approach of Hobo even further, studio aisslinger has kept several existing bespoke interior elements from the previous hotel. These include wooden window frames, and tiled floors and walls, all of them integrated and mixed with the new design language and colors.

Specifically for Hobo Helsinki, studio aisslinger has worked with urban and friendly natural materials like large walls of brickstones. The brickstones simultaneously work as Hobo’s signature peg walls in the guest rooms. Terrazzo, bespoke furniture, linear painted steel tube constructions, and highly colorful fabrics have all been used to create a unique design language.

– We wanted to mix the Hobo feeling with the Helsinki open-mindedness in order to create a community vibe. This connects the Helsinki crowd with the type of traveler that enjoys tasty food, large communal areas with coworking and meeting zones, the very present central bar with a stage for live acts, and cozy guest rooms with an urban touch, all equipped with local artists artworks and local brands, says Tina Bunyaprasit, Jamie Hughes and Werner Aisslinger of studio aisslinger.

 

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The round lounge sofa of the Corner Suite is nothing short of a showstopper. 

 

A House That Never Sleeps

The Hobo concept is known for its ambitious calendar of happenings, and Hobo Helsinki is no exception. In the coming weeks, the hotel is planning on hosting RnB Karaoke with Tyson Blu, Italo nights with DJ Tero Männikkö, the classic Hobo Market with local thrift treasures and rotating artists, and an ambitious 1st of May celebration with a terrace inaugural party. For General Manager Mika, creating a living house of culture has been one of the main priorities when envisioning Hobo Helsinki.

– The hotel has not only been created to serve those visiting Helsinki, but the idea has been to create a space and community where everyone can enjoy the culture and find their place far or near home, he says.

 

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The Taste Beta Event was the perfect inauguration of the splendid Event venue.

 

When guests aren’t enjoying the activations in the house, they’ll be able to indulge in one of the hotel’s 183 rooms. Here, the two suites are the crown jewels. The Corner Suite, with its stunning elevated sofa corner, and the Loft Suite, a penthouse-style accommodation situated across two floors, are as beautiful as they are unique.

One big feature of Hobo Helsinki will be its visionary meetings and events venue, aptly named The Venue. A central, modern locale for meeting and events, yes, but at the same time much more than that. This venue will be able to host everything from hidden club gigs and summits to exclusive dinner parties. The 232 square meter area, with lots of natural light coming in through its exposed concrete ceiling, creates a unique ambiance for up to 150 guests.

Also available at The Venue are several adjacent creative areas, making it flexible and forward-thinking. These include the Playground, a bright corner space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a fully-equipped stage; the Nest, an intimate setting that can be combined with the versatile Lounge; the Greenhouse, where you can workshop amid a lush setting of plants, herbs and greens; the Vinyl, the perfect space for occasions like release parties, with state-of-the-art sound equipment; the Library, meant for the inspiring talks; the Harmony, where all the furniture is movable, making it the preferred space for yoga classes and movement-based events; as well as an actual sound studio.

 

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Head Chef Tommi Suviniemi will be the one leading Hobo Helsinki's culinary offerings.

 

The Stats

Location: In the heart of Helsinki, on Kluuvikatu 4. The hotel is just around the corner from the iconic Esplanadi Park and the beautiful waterfront.

Rooms: 183 rooms, ranging from the lavish Hobo Corner Suite to the compact Hobo Sleepers. All of the rooms feature Hobo’s signature piece—the peg wall—where guests can borrow curated items like drawstring bags, maps with staff favorites, and other handy gadgets.

Restaurants & Bars: One main restaurant and bar on the lobby floor, featuring smaller Bites, bigger Cravings, experimental Pizzas, indulgent Sweets, as well as an array of seasonal cocktails, craft beers, natural wines and more.

Meetings & Events: Hobo Helsinki will be a vibrant house of culture, with an ambitiously curated event calendar in the restaurant and bar. The house features a second floor with 7 different meeting rooms, as well as an event venue that can host up to 200 guests.

Other Hobo Hotels: Two more Hobo Hotels are currently underway in the Nordic capitals. Hobo Oslo will open in Norway in 2025, and a Hobo Copenhagen in Denmark is in the works.

 

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Ahead of opening, Hobo Helsinki took a more unconventional approach to recruiting team members to the new hotel.

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