Scandic Hamburger Börs Kauppiaskadulta
Having resided for over 100 years in the best location in Turku, the oldest city in Finland, the hotel Hamburger Börs begins its third life more stately than ever. The old Art Nouveau banquet hall is now impressively framed by a modern new building. There is even a new rooftop terrace that provides a gorgeous view over the city, an angle of view no one has actually ever seen before.
The guests can hardly wait. The new Scandic Hamburger Börs will open its doors in November, bringing new life into the oldest hotel district in Turku after two years of upheaval.
‘The interest in it has been enormous’, reveals General Manager Mikko Henriksson.
‘It has been surprising, even though naturally we knew to anticipate that Börs would arouse curiosity. The number of bookings and the guests’ enthusiasm is even creating a bit of pressure’, Henriksson smiles.
It is no wonder that Börs inspires and attracts people. The hotel, located by Turku Market Square, is one of the oldest in Finland, and it has a legendary reputation in local urban culture and social life. The hotel is truly iconic and beloved.
‘We are actually about to witness the third life of Hamburger Börs now’, describes Henriksson.
The hotel has its roots all the way in 1894, when the restaurant Hamburger Bierhalle was opened at the location. In 1898, the building was named Hamburger Börs, and in 1904, the hotel opened its doors to first guests. The old accommodation wing gave way to a new building in 1976. The original Art Nouveau Börs preserved on Kauppiaskatu street forms now the heart of the coming third phase.
‘Börs has a colourful history, no doubt adding to the hotel’s appeal. The protected and refurbished Art Nouveau wing is such a harmonious whole that it highlights the history in a very natural and uncomplicated manner.’
The main entrance is removed to the peaceful courtyard
The carefully renovated old Börs is now gently framed by a bold new building. The ‘Grand Hotel Börs’ text preserved in the yellowy facade on Kauppiaskatu, as well as the coat of arms of Hamburg, are messages from the past.
‘Hamburger was dropped momentarily from the hotel’s name in the 1920s. It wasn’t until the refurbishment that we managed to make the original coat of arms of Hamburg more prominent’, explains Henriksson.
The building’s facade was redesigned in the hotel’s early days by architect Frithiof Strandell. The decorations and themes typical of the Art Nouveau style were provided by the German artist Willy Bauer, whose stunning stained glass windows have survived in the hotel to this day.
‘The wrought-iron terrace and balcony section in the inner courtyard has been restored to its original appearance. The old facade is finally surfacing.’
The whole facade, unveiled from behind the dark thicket of the small park, is now receiving well-deserved attention, as the hotel’s main entrance has been moved from the Market Square side to the far end of the inner courtyard, where the new and old Börs meet. The serene terrace area at the front features oak trees and old elm trees. The term used by locals can now live on – the outdoor terrace is now officially called Börs Pöheikkö (Börs Thicket).
‘The yard lives according to the seasons. In the warm season, it is nice to lounge on the outdoor terrace; and the hotel guests can move there from the restaurant to enjoy breakfast, as the new building’s glass walls can be opened.’
Banquets and meetings in the Art Nouveau wing
The restaurant of Hamburger Börs is at street level on the left side of the entrance. History meets modern solutions in a bright, spacious lobby, graced on the right side by the outer wall of the Art Nouveau wing. Respecting traditions, the old wing is dedicated to events, meetings and banquets. At street level, there is a workspace as well as a comfortable lounge.
‘When locals come to a special event at Börs, they arrive through the original main entrance on Kauppiaskatu. It has always been that way’, Henriksson knows.
In the second-floor main banquet hall, Grand Börs, up to 150 banquet dinner guests can be seated at the round tables. The room is also suitable for a cocktail event for up to 225 people.
‘The round tables are very fitting for banquet dinners, but for meetings a classroom-style format is also available.’
The Art Nouveau details have also been protected and renovated inside the building. The original connecting doors and window frame decorations are steeped in old-time atmosphere. The triptych by artist Santeri Salokivi from 1923 retains pride of place.
‘We have trusted in interior architect Jaakko Puro’s professional skills in ensuring stylish interior decoration in both the new and the old side’, Henriksson says.
‘Even though the setting for banquet and meeting facilities is historical, the new technique renders all the modern solutions possible, including hybrid meetings.’
The third-floor rooms Wallina, Valtin and Oscar have been named after the hotel’s previous owners.
‘For the first time, the third floor can now be accessed by customers. The fate of the attic is still open. Perhaps we will organise ghost tours there’, Henriksson laughs.
The arched windows of the suites overlook the Market Square
The third entrance of Hamburger Börs leads from the Market Square directly into the new building. The facade fronting Eerikinkatu street with its roof structures blends perfectly with the cityscape. The large arched windows on the seventh floor afford a view over the square.
‘All the rooms in the hotel have exceptionally large windows that extend all the way to the floor level. The view is spectacular from all the rooms, whether they face the square or the inner courtyard.’
The rooftop bar Börs Katto on the ninth floor has the broadest and most magnificent view of them all. From the rooftop terrace of the 120-seat bar, you can admire the city equally well in the Market Square, Turku Cathedral and Vartiovuori directions.
The modern and accessible new building is the work of Schauman Architects. The same office has designed many buildings in Turku, including Medisiina D, a new building for medical research and education. In building Scandic Hamburger Börs, the goal was to obtain the prestigious LEED Platinum environmental certification.
’Platinum level is the highest possible, and it means that the building has been designed and built according to strict sustainable development criteria’, explains Henriksson.
One of the fine ideas of the Scandic Hamburger Börs architecture is the wing directed towards the courtyard at an angle. In addition to accommodation rooms, there is a street-level 300-seat breakfast room as well as a winter garden with a fountain.
‘Our plan is to serve the buffet on the old Art Nouveau side on holidays. Whether it’s Father’s Day, the First of May or Mother’s Day luncheon, Börs will be established as an atmospheric meeting place for locals as well’, Henriksson remarks.
The first day of celebration for the majestic new Hamburger Börs is on 1 November, when the hotel opens its doors to guests.
Text: Merja Kallikari
Photo: Mika Okko