Hotel Ax, Helsinki

Hotel Ax – A Unique Art Hotel in Helsinki

Hotel Ax – An art hotel in Helsinki, Finland totally surprised us. Not only is staying there luxurious, but you can also see and do art there. Amazing and unique place!

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Our trip was made possible by Primehotels, but as always, all opinions are my own.

We spent a few days in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, and while we were there, we were able to stay in one of the most unique hotels we have seen so far. We stayed at Hotel Ax, which is the newest hotel in the Primehotels chain and was opened in spring 2022.

A couple of years ago, we stayed at Hotel Katajanokka which we really fell in love with. It is also part of Primehotels and was built into an old prison. The prison theme was done really well, and we had a lot of fun there. Due to our great experience at Katajanokka, we were also expecting Hotel Ax to sweep us away.

A unique art hotel – Hotel Ax

Hotel Ax is a very special concept as it is the first art hotel in the Nordic region. The “Ax” comes from the words “Art Experience.” Guests will experience some art already at the front door when stepping into the hotel, as they are greeted by Örkki, a lizard-looking creature by Finnish designer Stefan Lindfors.

There is art everywhere in the hotel, and it is not only for guests to look at, as they can also make some art if they want. There is a table designated for making art in the lobby, and art supplies are also available in other areas. Additionally, there are coloring books and colors in the rooms. Our older daughter is very artistic and was so excited to paint and draw during our stay.

Hotel Ax lobby
A table for making art in the hotel lobby. Above it is an art piece from Stefan Lindfors called Unidentified Glowing Object
Hotel Ax lobby with art supplies
Kids doing art the hotel lobby
While the kids were doing art we enjoyed some mojitos

While walking around the hotel, you should keep your eyes open for different art pieces. The most notable ones are at the hotel lobby, of course. For example, the “Kohti seitsemää merta” by Pekka Jylhä and “Vartija III” (Guard III) by Timo Sarpaneva.

One piece that, for sure, catches everyone’s eye is the staircase taking you down to the ground floor. It is an art piece called “Lost and Found” by Stefan Lindfors. He used phrases from Finnish author Tove Jansson and politician Rafael Paasio in it.

An art piece at the lobby
The staircase to ground floor

You will also find art in places that you wouldn’t even think. For example, all the dishes are Finnish design, and the staff is wearing uniforms by a Finnish designer. The wallpapers in the rooms are prints from art pieces, and the same patterns go through the room in textiles. Even some room doors have art on them.

We accidentally stepped out of the elevator on the wrong floor and were amazed by the room doors. One floor has Art Exhibit King rooms, which are all designed by different artists. Each room has a different theme. Just seeing the doors was very interesting and fun.

A room door
A room door

Fairytale Corner room

Our room was called Fairytale Corner, and it was combined into one from two separate rooms. This corner room had huge windows which brought in so much light. It was also fun to watch the city life from the room. Our kids wanted the more colorful room, of course, but the other room had some interesting art as well. It was actually quite practical that we were able to close the door to another when needed.

Fairytale Corner rooms have illustrations from fairytales. They all also have electric kettles, slippers, Finnish Joutsen duvets, and Juuri bath series from a Finnish cosmetics company Dermosil. We were really happy that they also had a great bathroom kit with a toothbrush and everything, as we had forgotten some things at home. The room also had a hairdryer.

The rooms did not have any desks, but there was a small, foldable desk hanging on the wall. It was a great addition when we wanted to use our laptops or just sit and have some coffee and needed to put the cup down somewhere. I thought this was a great idea!

Fairytale Corner room at Hotel Ax
A room at Hotel Ax
Bath towels and supplies

You can book a room at Hotel Ax from here!

Breakfast at Hotel Ax

The hotel breakfast is on the ground floor, and we were able to get there directly with an elevator. The room worked really well for this as everything was set in a semicircle, so it was easy to get the food. Everything was close, and there was no need to walk around gathering the food. They also served breakfast until 11 am every day, which is a huge plus.

Our very favorite was the oven-baked porridge. It was smoother than the regular oatmeal, and even our kids loved it. I would urge those who don’t normally like oatmeal to try this one. It will surprise you; it is just delicious!

Oven baked oat meal
Coffee cups

Overall, we found this breakfast not to be as versatile as in many other hotels. They had some cold cuts, fruits, vegetables, omelette, bread, and cookies. But for example, for cheese, they only had one type, as for many other things too.

As a Finn who mostly lives abroad, I was hoping to see something Finnish at the breakfast. There was very little of that. There was no fish at all, and no Finnish baked goods, not even rye bread. The traditional Finnish pancake, which was cut into tiny pieces, and the apple juice from the Åland Islands were the only Finnish products I found.

I’m sure they made this decision on purpose at the hotel, but as most of the guests at the breakfast seemed to be from abroad, it made me a little sad that Finns don’t take more pride in their amazing ingredients and foods.

Apple juice

There was one common theme in this breakfast, though, as everything was very small. Not only were the dishes quite small, but also the foods were cut into very small pieces. I am not sure why that was, but both my husband and I tried to guess the reason; maybe it was more artistic that way, or maybe they wanted to reduce the amount of waste.

I found it quite impractical to try to gather a breakfast onto a plate that was way too small for this purpose. There were no actual bowls for cereal, for example. Next to the cereal were glass dishes that were also used for yogurts, and they were smaller than drinking glasses. I could just sense the irritation from a big, grown man who was trying to put his cereal into one of those.

In the end, we did get our stomachs full, and I was especially happy that they also had coffee as dark roast. Finns mostly drink lighter roasts, and it is not so common to be able to choose your coffee.

Our Experiences of Hotel Ax

This was such an interesting hotel, and we thought that they carried through the theme really well. The art theme had really been considered in everything and not just halfway. Hotel Ax is most definitely one of the most unique hotels we have ever been to.

The hotel is new, and the rooms are really functional and interesting. We also loved the staff as they were so friendly and were always willing to answer our questions. They were also very eager to tell us about the art in the hotel, which was nice.

There is no parking in this hotel, but you can park your car in Rokkiparkki, which is right next to it. It is not free, and you need an app on your phone to enter it, but it is very convenient. To our surprise, there was no option to pay with money or card, so I had to run to the reception to ask how it works. Their website is also mostly just in Finnish. I suggest you download the app onto your phone beforehand from the EasyPark website.

The hotel uses the AeroGuest app, which lets you check in and check out through your phone. The app also gives you a room key so you can enter the room just by using your phone. Or you can choose to get actual keys from the reception.

The hotel is located in the Jätkäsaari neighborhood in Helsinki. Getting to downtown is quick and easy. There is a tram (number 9) that stops right in front of the hotel, and it only takes less than ten minutes to be in downtown Helsinki. R-kioski is a little shop in the next building that sells tram tickets, or you can download an app and pay for the tickets that way.

There are several nice restaurants and shops within walking distance from the hotel.

Tram tickets

This is a perfect hotel for everyone who loves art or just wants to experience something more unique!

A citybreak in Helsinki

For us, this was a really nice little city break, and we got to enjoy the sunny Helsinki. The weather was also nice. We saw some sights, ate well, and just took it easy! After a hectic beginning of summer, we really loved hanging out without a schedule and sleeping late. Our room was so quiet that it felt amazing to get so much rest!

Sunglasses at the hotel

If you happen to be in Helsinki and you love art, then Hotel Ax is definitely for you. You can book your room to Hotel Ax from here.

And if you feel like art is not your thing, these are the best hotels in Helsinki based on our experiences.

There is so much do and see in Helsinki. I always recommend people to check out at least the Kauppatori, Suomenlinna Fortress and Temppeliaukio Church. Or you can do a day trip from Helsinki to somewhere close by or even to Tallinn, Estonia.

Have you been to Helsinki? Or what is the most unique hotel you have stayed in?

Our Finland Travel Resources
If you are visiting Helsinki read about our favourite hotels or the day trips you should make from there!
And if you are heading to Lapland, here is everything you should know about Santa Claus Village or SantaPark in Rovaniemi.

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Edit. After posting our review Hotel Ax announced that it will be leaving the PrimeHotels and joining the Strawberry chain. We had a pleasure staying in Clarion Hotel Aviapolis by Strawberry a while ago, and we really liked it as well.

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  1. Hotel Ax reminded me of an Airbnb we stayed at in Illinois, except the arts in Hotel Ax were created by real artists specifically for the hotel. Fortunately, the lizard at the entrance is smiling. If not, I’m not sure I will step inside. Hah. I prefer modern art, so I will let myself walk on every floor to admire the art installation in this unique hotel. I like that guests can do art, too, both in the lobby and in the room. That’s really great!

  2. It’s unusual to see a hotel filled with art. I really appreciate their special feature, which is that you can create art on your own. The Örkki, though, is adorable! It will be fun to visit this place as well.

  3. Enjoyed this blog post! It reminded me of Hotel Max in Seattle which is “Designed for the Creatively Inclined” as they describe it for art, photography and music lovers. It is interesting that Hotel Ax had an art corner in the lobby. It’s great for keeping kids occupied and for artists to enjoy sketching and painting. I think it is cool that they have rooms with different themes including a Fairytale Corner room. I will definitely look up Hotel Ax in Helsinki when I visit Finland. 🙂

  4. Hotel Ax indeed looks very unique. I do like modern art, even if sometimes it can be hard to understand. I think that’s what makes it intriguing, trying to figure out what the author tried to express – which can be different for every person. I like the concept of the fairytale room – which is not in any way as I imagined it to be (pink, with fairies and wood-like wallpaper). I really like this modern approach. I agree with you about the breakfast, I always like to find local produce from the country I’m visiting, at the breakfast buffet.

    1. Yes, I agree that the fairytale room was not what you might think. And it was done with a really good taste.

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