Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sokos Flamingo (Helsinki, Last)

On our return, we couldn't find any better flight routings than the one that had us overnighting in Helsinki. As it's been 3 years since our last Finland trip, we decided it was as good a plan as any and started looking for appropriate lodging for 1 night, arriving in the afternoon and departing around lunchtime (ha! but that's another story).

Sokos Flamingo Hotel is 3.4km from the airport and located within a mall. The family rooms (which number more than half of all hotel rooms) come with the standard European two-double-beds-pushed-together-but-not-fooling-anyone-this-isn't-a-king and ... wait for it ... Murphy bunk beds. The kids were tickled pink to get to sleep in bunk beds, and when they weren't in use we could fold them back up into the wall. Gold Star #1.

The regular city bus that went to the airport also stopped about 100ft from the door of the hotel. Check-in was fast, and at the desk is a little stepstool for little ones to participate if they want. Gold Star #2.

Although we didn't participate, they have a waterpark in the hotel and I think there's deals if you stay at the hotel. I know when we ended up at Hesburger that evening there's a window into the waterpark so the patrons can get their burgers. Gold Star #3

At breakfast there's a "children's" table with, among other things, pancakes and Cocoa Puffs and child sized bowls, plates, and silverware. Right next to it is the Gluten-free table which may be coincidence but I liked that kids with food intolerances had their cereal and cookies right next to the other kids'. Gold Star #4.

The mall the hotel is located in has 2 grocery stores. Prizma in Helsinki is like Target (which now makes the Prizmas here look so sad and small). We ended up buying the kids' raingear there because the prices were so reasonable and for the first time the kids got to choose what they wanted rather than just get handed whatever we - or Bubby - ordered for them. Gold Star #5.

And the best Gold Star of all:  there's a children's playroom place where, for a daily fee of 6 Euros (Zoltan) and 12 Euros (Alex), minus the 20% for staying at the hotel, the kids can run and jump and play and climb to their hearts' content. The tables for adults to hang out have a full supply of magazines. I even got to catch up on some woman's fashion magazine from 6 months ago in English while the kids entertained themselves. Because Finnair changed our flight to be 5 hours later than the one we booked, we had a lot more time on Sunday to kill and I really don't know what we would have done if this place hadn't existed. Oh and if they hadn't opened 2 hours earlier than usual due to the Finnish school holiday this week - it normally doesn't open until noon. Sadly, there was a camera mishap so there isn't a single photo, but here's a link to the place's web site:

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