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Quirky, eccentric, and stylish, Helsinki, the capital of Finland is a diamond in the rough. Its tranquil bylanes and grand thoroughfares brim with avant-garde architecture and New-Nordic drinking and dining venues. What’s more, sitting right outside the city are some of the most sublime natural environments in the world. Undoubtedly, the city has plenty going for it if you know where to look, and it’s easy to get lost in wonder here. What’s more, Helsinki is one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities. A liberal atmosphere, with safety and acceptance, and lots of options for gay friendly hotels in Helsinki make it a haven for LGBTQ travelers.
No talk of gay Helsinki is done without talking about Touko Valio Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland. The Finnish artist was famous for homoerotic art, and also greatly influenced the gay culture in the late 20th century. In fact, he’s no less than a folk hero amongst gal folk here! Besides this, you’ll find tons of rainbow flags flying just about everywhere in the city. These include the largely gay areas of Punavuori, Kamppi, and Kluuvi. A fabulous gallery and museum culture, tons of coffee shop meet-cute opportunities, and a pulsating nightlife make Helsinki one fabulous gay destination. In addition, Helsinki is a delightful city to explore, with it even being one of The 12 Cleanest Cities In The World.
Looking at all this, it’s no surprise then that Helsinki is also one of the Top 10 Happiest Cities In The World. With such a liberal, broad-minded vibe, who wouldn’t be happy? So, pack your bags and head off to explore what is one of the most LGBTQ welcoming cities in Scandinavia. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Helsinki.
Hotel Klaus K
The Hotel Klaus K is one of the foremost gay hotels in Helsinki. In fact, it’s actually the only hotel in town that uses the term ‘gay friendly’ both on their web page and in their marketing. What’s more, it has a distinctive design theme, combined with references to Finland’s national epic poem, The Kalevala. The hotel sits right on the edge of Helsinki’s Design District, with the city’s gay nightlife right outside the front door.
So, what makes the hotel so gay friendly? To begin with, its design is inspired by the sensuous themes of desire, passion, and mystique, and we couldn’t think of a better theme for a gay hotel. The references to traditional Finnish Kalevala mythology makes for a discerning atmosphere, which you’ll love. Apart from the most helpful staff, the hotel even has a small library and a gym. For intimate meet-ups, the lounge area is perfect. This is also where a most appetizing breakfast of homemade bread, cold cuts, juices, and more are served. What’s more, you have access to the luxurious Kämp Spa nearby. The street-level Italian restaurant is perfect for an intimate dinner before retiring to the privacy of your rooms.
You’ll realize that the hotel cannot get any gay friendlier when you see the rooms. Although they differ in size, they all feature sensuous motifs and color themes and plush beds that were made for all kinds of activities other than sleeping. For absolute indulgence, choose one of the Sky Lofts/Suites. However, we’d recommend you go for the ‘Tom of Finland’ package with Tom of Finland-themed bath mats, towels, and even bedsheets! Plus, you get to take a Tom of Finland goodie bag home.
Sitting smack dab in the heart of the gay area of Kluuvi is Hotel Kamp, one of the best five-star hotels in Finland. The hotel is fabulously gay friendly and is the perfect place for living in 19th-century luxury for exploring Helsinki’s gay scene.
The hotel retains the 19th-century classical style with glittering Mirror room, elegant marble columns, and more. Moreover, the hotel is bursting with 21st-century facilities. Two restaurants on-site serve lip-smacking meals, including a hearty breakfast. During summers, the terrace is home to the elegant Kämp Bar which is popular with locals too. The highlight is the gym and spa, which has three saunas – Finnish, Turkish, and steam! The staff ties up everything together with amazing service and impeccable local knowledge and tidbits.
All rooms are plush and combine fresh modernity and the classical running theme. The standout feature is the decadent marble bathrooms with both shower and bathtubs. If you’re traveling with your partner, go for the Executive Suite which has its own sauna for romantic times.
Hotel St. George
One of the 11 Best Hotels in Helsinki, Hotel St. George is also one of the best gay hotels in Helsinki! And, there’s more than one reason for the same. Firstly, the hotel sits in a converted 19th-century structure at the quiet leafy park. The tree-lined thoroughfare lies one street away from some of the best areas, sights, and attractions of central Helsinki. What’s more, it’s surrounded by some of the best gay bars in town.
The central hotel is a cool confluence of sophistication and informality. It showcases Finnish design and art in the most subtle of ways, in the form of fabrics and mural. Even before you enter, you can feast your eyes on whimsical art installations like the suspended kite piece Tianwu. Another striking and Instagram-worthy installation is the bird sculpture that hangs over the airy Winter Garden lounge. The round-the-clock slick gym will appeal to you immensely if you’re someone who doesn’t like missing their workout regimen. A visit to the St. George Care spa is a must, whose massages and treatments have the ‘Mind, Body, and Heart’ philosophy. However, the pinnacle of relaxation is the indoor swimming pool, steam room, and sauna. For a day of fun with your partner, grab a picnic basket from the hotel’s own bakery shop, and grab the loaner bicycles to explore the town on your own.
All 153 are individually decked out in lovely beige/light-pastel hues with cleverly concealed mod-cons. Furnishings are Finnish-inspired, while bathrooms are Spanish-marble-lined. For the best views, the Attic studio rooms have rooftop views of cathedrals and parks.
If you’re looking for discerning, stylish digs in central Helsinki, then you couldn’t do better than Hotel F6. One of the best boutique gay friendly hotels in Helsinki, F6 is a refreshing addition to the city’s hotel scene. Right from tram stops, train stations, to gay bars, almost everything is right as you step out of the door.
The hotel sets new standards for independent boutique hotels in not just Helsinki, but Finland too. The minute you step into the hotel, you’re given one hell of a cheerful greeting by the staff and the lovable hotel dog, Runar! The lobby is spacious, breezy, and tastefully furnished, and doesn’t feel like a converted government ministry structure. The gorgeous hexagonal courtyard resembles a Moroccan riad and has a lovely outdoor terrace area that can be enjoyed on sun-kissed Helsinki days. Besides the basement gym, the hotel even has bicycles which you can borrow to go off exploring on your own. The utterly relaxing Runar bar is very popular with the local LGBTQ public as well as travelers and is a great place to meet people. Begin your day with one of the best breakfasts in town, complete with organic salads and herbs, almond croissants, fresh bread, cold cuts, and freeze-dried berries.
66 rooms are split into three categories, but all have bathrobes in modern, immaculate bathrooms, elegant furnishings and mod-cons, and plush beds. The best rooms are the ones that have French balconies and overlook the courtyard, but the best part is all rooms are quiet.
Tucked away on a leafy boulevard in the atmospheric central neighborhood of Siltasaari is Scandic Paasi, one of the most snazzy gay hotels in Helsinki. It’s one of the best places to catch views of the Baltic inlets and bays that pervade Helsinki. Even then, the hotel is a mere 10-minute drive from districts like Kamppi and Kluuvi.
The hotel pays homage to the vibrant history of the salt-of-the-earth Siltasaari neighborhood with an equally colorful and modern local-history design theme. Think brightly-striped ceilings right from the lobby to the bar. Just like everywhere else in the city, the staff is utterly helpful and possess excellent knowledge about Siltasaari and the city, in general. Since it’s a budget hotel, the only amenities on-site are a gym and Nordic poles and bicycles to borrow. However, there’s a hearty buffet breakfast waiting for you in the basement restaurant. What’s more, the handsome granite edifice next door is home to some excellent restaurants and bars that are nothing less than Helsinki institutions.
Even though rooms range across three categories, they all feature modern Finnish designed with themes like ‘Spectacular’ and ‘Leisure.’ If you have the urge to splurge, then the Superior Plus rooms even have kitchenettes and hot, hot saunas.
GLO Hotel Art
If you’re looking for bespoke romance in the city, go for GLO Hotel Art. The hotel’s Art Noveau interiors and enchanting granite facade embody Finnish National Romantic style and are a rather welcome departure from the city’s no-nonsense design modernity. Plus, the hotel is surrounded by some of Helsinki’s best gay friendly establishments, and a stone’s how from its best sights and attractions.
The Finnish National Romantic style of the late 19th/20th centuries is evident in the ornate wooden main door and carved granite arch. They’re also seen in Helsinki’s National Theater and National Museum, but it’s a first for a Helsinki hotel. Moreover, the modern amenities and furnishings blend surprisingly well with the mock-Medieval setting. Besides the 24-hour gym, the hotel has bikes available to rent. After a long day of exploring Helsinki, head to the sauna for some unwinding. The lobby lounge bar is atmospheric to boot and is the perfect place for a cocktail before heading out to enjoy Helsinki’s gay scene. Finally, the in-house cellar restaurant serves both dinner and a hearty buffet breakfast.
Four categories of rooms allow you to stay within your budget and splash too. All of them are comfy, smart, and decked out with mod-cons and lovely bathrooms.
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki
The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel is one of the best quiet yet central gay hotels in Helsinki. The cheerful place is a chic blend of modernity and history. It’s within walking distance of not only the main railway station but also the Top 10 Things To Do In Helsinki.
The Plaza sets a high bar for comfort and service, what with it being the Radisson Blu flagship for not just Finland but the Nordics as well. That said, the hotel boasts an individual style with Art-Deco details. These include Nordic design elements in the lobby and striking stained-glass windows that are an ode to the local cultural traditions and history. The lobby is stacked with board games and newspapers and is a cool place to hang out while waiting for your ride or tour. Moreover, the hotel even has a fitness room and guest saunas. Also, you can grab one of the hotel bicycles and go exploring the neighborhood on your own. Everything is helmed by an unfailingly efficient and helpful staff, right from the bellboys to the concierge. A lobby bar and a restaurant take care of all hunger pangs and cravings, all day and at any time.
Sound-sealed windows and sleep-inducing, soft beds ensure that you’ll sleep more soundly than you ever have in your life. A generous bunch of mod-cons aside, the rooms are smart to boot, with smart lighting and TVs in the bathroom mirrors. While rooms don’t have balconies, some have views of the railway station square.
The Hotel Katajanokka is one of the most offbeat gay friendly hotels in Helsinki for those LGBTQ travelers looking for something different. The structure the hotel sits in was earlier a jail! Plus, the hotel lies in the charming residential Katajanokka, while being less than a mile from Helsinki’s historic areas and ferry terminals. If the 15-minute walk into town isn’t conducive, then the hotel lies near tram stops too. The hotel radiates an authentic welcoming aesthetic, belying its earlier life as a 19th-century jail. It manages to make the best of the quirky prison block layout and theme, like the bars on room windows, sans sacrificing comfort. What’s more, you can even buy jail-themed souvenirs like striped shirts at the lobby shop and peep at the old isolation cells. In fact, the prison chapel is a popular spot for weddings even today.
The staff, apart from handing out brochures and maps, is readily available with anything and everything you want to know about Helsinki. That, plus the hotel rental bicycles means that you can go off exploring on your own. Even though it’s a budget hotel of sorts, there’s a small sauna and even a gym. The redbrick cellar is home to the on-site restaurant, which serves among other meals, an utmost appetizing breakfast. During summers, the bar extends to the sheltered courtyard, where you can chug a cold one and listen to live music.
The thick prison walls in the rooms mean the utmost peace and quiet! All air-conditioned rooms feature modern facilities like minibars, tea/coffee-making facilities, and even modern bathrooms.
If you’re a solo traveler looking for a budget gay hotel in Helsinki, then Myö Hostel is perfect. A member of Finland’s ‘We Speak Gay’ community, the hostel lies in a quiet, residential area next to Helsinki’s Central Park. The best part about this hostel is its cozy, welcoming public spaces. For instance, the ground-floor common area has comfy couches and chairs and is perfect for meeting fellow travelers or reading a book. It’s brightened up by whimsical wallpaper, potted plants, and interesting light fixtures. The lovely little garden area with alfresco seating is another great place to catch up or enjoy a cuppa. The shared kitchen is well-stocked and is perfect for whipping up quick meals. What’s more, the hostel serves a filling complimentary breakfast to begin your day on a high note.
The 19 rooms at Myö Hostel are all individually decked out in vintage style, and each one has its own color theme and boutique design. Wallpapers range from accent maroon to jade to ochre yellow, and even floral-inspired ones. You have the choice of female-only/mixed dorm rooms and private ones. Bathrooms are immaculate, and the hostel provides even towels and linens and toiletries. Topping off a great experience is the free Wi-Fi.
If you’re single and want to dive headfirst into Helsinki’s wild gay scene, then you couldn’t find a better place than Hotel Helka to stay at. One of the most gay friendly hotels in Helsinki, it sits right next to the pulsating gay club Hercules, a superb place for meeting people. Plus, the fact that Helka is guest friendly only adds to its sexy charm! Finally, it’s also two streets away from the superb Keltainen Ruusu, the city’s largest sex store.
Even though it’s a city center hotel, Helka offers a great bunch of amenities. You can flag off the revelries early on in the afternoon at the lobby bar, which even has a cigar room. There are bicycles for rent, which can borrow and go off exploring on your own. What’s more, it even has male and female saunas for relaxing. A hearty and complimentary Scandinavian breakfast buffet is the perfect way to fill up on energy after a dynamic night out (and in) in the city.
Coming to the rooms at the hotel, the neutral color palette with gray drapes, white walls, and black floorboards oozes a sensuous vibe. Apart from standard in-room amenities, the Premium rooms and suites even have slippers and bathrobes and even one free minibar drink. The plush beds are most inviting, and large nature scenes on the ceilings keep things interesting.
What’s better than a gay hotel in Helsinki? A gay hotel that’s guest-friendly, just like Hotel Haven. The quaint yet utterly luxurious gay friendly hotel is tucked near Helsinki’s South Harbor and lives up to its name. Moreover, it’s a mere 10-minute stroll from the heart of historic Helsinki. With former guests like Kylie Minogue, the star-studded hotel is in a league of its own. If you prefer hushed luxury and no questions about the going and comings of your guests, then Haven is your gay haven in Helsinki.
As you step in, you’re immediately taken by the cozy, boutique-like ambiance and plush comforts. Since there’s a 24/7 reception, there are no problems if you saunter in late after a night of revelries in the Finnish capital. If you’re a fitness fanatic, the on-site gym serves you well. Breakfast is a grand affair and frankly required after letting your hair down the previous night. It’s served in the historic, 19th-century restaurant next door. The highlight, however, is the utterly relaxing Bar Haven lounge. It features a cheery fireside and hundreds of choices of spirits, blended and malt whiskeys. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a romantic cocktail or even a nightcap before retiring to the coziness of the rooms.
Five room categories are all equally decadent with Elemis spa products, Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems, and Egyptian-cotton bedspreads. Fresh flowers by the bedside make for a romantic ambiance. For the ultimate experience, the luxurious Sea View rooms look out to the Helsinki harbor.
Just So You Know:
- Iconic artist Tom of Finland was a huge champion of LGBTQ+ rights. His images of muscled, mustached men transformed the then-prevailing idea of gay men in the country.
Get Some Culture in Helsinki:
- Helsinki Pride: The week-long Helsinki Pride is the biggest LGBTQ festival in Finland. It has speeches, music programs, and parties, and is one of the biggest public events in the country.
- Gaily Tour in Helsinki: Explore the best of Helsinki’s sights and attractions with a gay/lesbian-friendly driver and/or tour guide.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Helsinki:
- Hercules: This three-storied gay nightclub is the biggest in the Nordic region. It usually attracts men above 30 years old and has everything from drag shows to live DJs.
- Don’t Tell Mama: The city’s oldest gay club and has a slightly younger audience. It hosts everything from karaoke nights to parties.