Have you ever been to Tampere? I’ve been many times in my life – one summer I even practically lived there when hubby was working in the city. Still, there was one place I’d only admired from afar – the Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Tammer.
I’ve been a fan of hotels since I was a child. There’s just something special about crisp hotel sheets, waking up to a ready breakfast and the feeling of being on holiday. Last summer, I finally had my chance to experience the third oldest, still operating hotel in Finland. In its’ existence, Grand Hotel Tammer has seen both abundance and blight. Oh, if the walls could tell us stories!
Grand Hotel Tammer was designed by Tampere City’s own architect, Bertel Strömmer. When the hotel was inaugurated in 1929, there was a huge party planned but as tragedy stuck and a steamer sunk on lake Näsijärvi everything was cancelled. The opening would’ve concurred with Tampere’s 150th birthday.
As you step inside, you will feel as if you’ve gone back in time. All around, you are surrounded by old world charm.
A red door near the lobby caught my eye. I learnt that it was originally Grand Hotel Tammer’s but for some reason it was found in another hotel’s basement. It was only returned to the hotel in 2016 when Tammer was taken under the Radisson Blu chain. You can see the emblem of Tampere’s Technical Society on the door – this was the Society that originally built the hotel and had clubrooms for their own purpose there. These days – fittingly – there is a meeting room behind the door.
The stairway is gorgeous. And naturally – there’s a mystery that goes with it. In 2013 a man stepped in the Grand Hotel Tammer and told the receptionist about a hidden letter in the staircase. As the receptionist attended to other customers, he left without leaving his name. The staff was intrigued and started investigating. As it happens, one of the pillars (like the one in the photo below on the right) did indeed conceal a letter! It was written on the 12th February 1973. The letter tells about that particular day – how the President was Urho K. Kekkonen, how Jokerit had won an ice hockey game against Ilves 8-1, how the dollar had plummeted and the names of the staff working at the hotel.
Let’s leave the stories for a bit and have a quick look at our room. The rooms have been refurbished but have maintained a historical feel to them.
On the table below, you can see a little white box. Inside you can find a lock which you can purchase if you want to leave your own love-lock on the Tammerkoski bridge. Such a lovely touch and it’s for a good cause too, as the profits go to the Women’s Bank’s projects.
The views from the hotel room were lovely, the green is gorgeous in Finnish summer. As you look outside, you will be reminded that Tampere is one of the oldest industrial cities in Finland. Tampere is actually known to be dubbed as the Manchester of Finland.
A hotel this age is bound to have a ghost or two looking over it. The ghost is said to be the hotel’s butler, Alexander Grobowsky. But do not fear – he is known to be a kind ghost! When the Marshal of Finland, Grand Baron Mannerheim stayed at the hotel, he had wild animals with him (!). The only person worthy of taking care of them was this said butler. I didn’t mind the ghost, as he let me sleep in peace.
Grand Hotel Tammer has always taken dining very seriously. The hotel’s first restaurant keeper was Alexander Adlivankin – a French-Russian. He brought furniture, silverware and tableware from Cannes to the hotel. Not to mention the international aura that followed him. The chef was from Japan and the waiters from Sweden.
If you have followed my blog for a while, you may know that I’m a breakfast person. Thus, I was very curious about the hotel’s breakfast. Knowing the culinary history of the hotel, I had high expectations. I can happily report that the breakfast setting was impressive and the fare fit for a queen.
Since the hotel became a Radisson Blu Hotel, mornings have started with a Super Breakfast. This means that breakfast is served till 10 am on weekdays and 11 am on weekends – super indeed!
Even kids have their own table with goodies they will appreciate.
This breakfast is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace as it’s all about the little details.
As you enjoy your morning coffee (dark or light roast they will ask), take a moment to appreciate the silver jug your milk is in and the silver sugar bowl. These items were found in the attic and instead of putting them into a museum, the hotel has decided to bring you a piece of history with your breakfast. Other old silver- and tableware can be seen in the cupboards near the lobby.
The banquet hall that serves as the breakfast room is an experience in itself. You could say that being able to admire it during breakfast was my favourite part of our stay.
The hall is not just reserved for breakfast – you can have private events there too. It would certainly be a magnificent setting for a wedding, birthday or perhaps a graduation.
What I love most about the banquet hall are the lilies on the walls. Just look at their delicate form. There was a book in the hotel room called Tammer Grand Hotel 1929 – 1979 (by Raimo Seppälä) which revealed many interesting facts about the history of the hotel. The book mentions that these lilies were also known as Strömmer’s lilies. The building’s architect – Strömmer – used a lot of time in planning their placement on the wall, not too far and not too close together. Ah, the beauty of it all!
I was thoroughly delighted by our stay at the Grand Hotel Tammer. It was just as I’d hoped. I strained my ears to hear the walls whisper their memories as my imagination ran wild picturing the guests that had visited the hotel in long gone times. I felt that the staff enhanced the experience – they seemed to be genuinely proud to be working at such a grand hotel. I hope to return.
Have you been to the Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Tammer? I’d love to hear your experiences – let me know in the comments below.