Stuart Forster reports on what to expect at the Sokos Hotel Ilves in Tampere, Finland.
The Sokos Hotel Ilves is centrally situated and offers great views over Tampere, Finland’s most populous inland city.
If you enjoy having a room with a view then it’ll be worth asking for a city facing room on one of the upper floors of this 19 storey hotel. The cityscape extends over the red brick Finlayson Complex, a former mill that today houses a number of tourist attractions and places to eat. You can also look towards Särkänniemi Adventure Park, which you can easily spot thanks to its needle-like Näsinneula tower.
The Sokos Hotel Ilves stands by the bank of the Tammerkoski river and is a five minute walk from Keskustori square, the heart of the city, around which Tampere’s theatre, former town hall and the wooden structure of the pale yellow Vanha Kirkko church stand.
A city centre hotel
In all, the hotel has 336 rooms, of which 125 are superior rooms and nine suites. Two of the hotel’s rooms have been converted for disabled access. As you’ll find in many Finnish hotels, a strict non-smoking policy operates.
Staff on the reception desk made a good impression as I checked in. The process was rapid and their welcome warm. The woman who checked me in offered information about Tampere’s attractions while we chatted.
The Sokos Hotel Ilves has six restaurants. After arriving relatively late, I ate a steak in Fransmanni, which offers a range of French and continental fare. The following morning I breakfasted in Amarillo, which offers a sizeable buffet each morning of the week. The broad selection of food offered at breakfast time includes mustamakkara, the local black pudding which is a regional delicacy.
Visiting the hotel sauna
No trip to Finland is complete without a visit to the sauna and the hotel provides access to two cabins on mornings (from 6.30am to 10.00am between Tuesday and Friday and from 8.00am to 11.00am on Saturdays and Sundays) and evenings (from 5.00pm to 10.00pm each day of the week except Sundays). You’ll also be able to spend time in the swimming pool and gym.
If you want to keep in touch with people elsewhere you can do so over the free Wi-Fi connection. I signed in and was able to send large photo files and Skype with video, so can vouch for the quality of the connectivity.
The hotel is also one of Tampere’s top nightlife spots. The bar and club on the ground floor draw people from the town and the atmosphere was upbeat when I popped in for a look in the wee hours. Fortunately, if you want to sleep rather than party, the sound proofing is good and the noise of revellers and music doesn’t carry to the bedrooms.
The hotel is part of the Sokos group, the largest hotel chain in the country, operating more than 50 properties in Finland as well as in Tallin and St Petersburg.
The railway station is 500 metres from the Sokos Hotel Ilves and the bus station is 300 metres away. Reaching the airport, 18km distant, takes roughly 25 minutes.
The Sokos Hotel Ilves is at Hatanpään Valtatie 1, 33100 Tampere, tel. +358 20 1234 631.
Visit Tampere’s website has information on the attractions of the city and region.
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