Stay in one of the best manor house hotels in Finland for an idiosyncratic glimpse into the nation’s past.
Finland, with its dense forests and vast lakes, is liberally scattered with handsome wooden manor houses, mostly dating back to the 19th century. A relic from Finland’s past, many of these gorgeous old houses have been renovated and restored to their former glory and welcome in travellers to savour their rustic charm. Here’s a selection of our favourites that will make you feel like you are to the manor born, if only for a short while.
When Ella and Martin bought this 19th-century manor house from Ole Bomanson in 2001, he told them that his mother had given the old building a new lease of life when she opened it as a guest house in 1920. Since then it’s been filled with barons, professors, artists, writers and businessmen, enjoying the quiet solitude of Saltvik and the nearby Kvarnboviken Beach. The time-worn floorboards and hand-blown glass windows can still be seen in this wonderful old building.
Located on one of the 60 inhabited islands of the Ålandian archipelago, this beautifully restored clapboard farmhouse is pretty close to perfection. Owner and carpenter Hans will happily take you out rowing to discover some of the 6,540 other islands in the neighbourhood, and be back in time for tea, cooked by his English wife Jackie. The pair have created a little corner of Finnish-English calm, overlooking fields and pine trees. Be careful, you might not want to leave.
Originally built as a village school for the children of the local Sami reindeer herders, these pretty lakeside buildings were converted into a hotel in 2009. The small village of Menesjärvi is only a 30-minute drive away from Inari, known as the cultural home of the Finnish Sami people. This area of Lapland is famous for seeking the magical beauty of the Aurora Borealis, so borrow a pair of snowshoes from the hotel and try your luck in hunting the mercurial lights.
Also known as Svartå Manor, the hotel consists of five splendid wooden buildings in rococo and neoclassical style, surrounded by one of the biggest historical parks in Finland. The hotel doesn’t just offer bedrooms fit for a King (Gustav III to be exact), but a theatre, museum and superb restaurant too. Explore the winding paths and romantic bridges in the vast gardens and don’t forget to ask about the thrilling ghost stories associated with each of the buildings.
The elegance of Karolineburg stays with you long after you’ve left her sunshine yellow presence. Look no further if you’re searching for a romantic getaway. Rooms are individually decorated with hand-selected vintage pieces and many have their own sauna. Staff are super helpful and friendly – ask for a picnic to be made up for you and enjoy it in the French Manor Garden or take a trip on the Steamship Kouta down the River Kajaani.
This classical French-style manor house is in Karhula, about 65km (40mi) west of the Russian border. The house is set in a quiet park, with the Kymi River winding its way through the grounds. The stately rooms are decorated in a dignified fashion, each with its own bathroom. Breakfasts here are large and sumptuous, whilst staff are always on hand with a friendly tip on where to go or what activities you can do in the local area.
The Vanajanlinna Group owns several hotels across Finland, including the imposing red-brick Hotel Vanajanlinna in Hämeenlinna, famous for its excellent golf course. Choose a room in the main building with a grand four-poster bed, or take one of the villas within the extensive grounds. Mukkula Manor is a more classic wooden Finnish manor house, with a delightful sauna on the banks of Lake Vesijärvi.
This intimate boutique hotel is located in picture-perfect Porvoo, on the south coast of Finland, about 65km (40mi) east of Helsinki. Wandering through the narrow cobbled streets of Porvoo has often been likened to being in a fairy-tale, with pretty, colourful houses, quirky shops and old-world charm. Hotel Onni (meaning ‘happiness’ in Finnish) is the ideal place to relax and revel in the enchanting atmosphere of this medieval village.
Although the current pale blue dream of a manor house only dates back to 1913, there are records of a house on this site as long ago as 1362, when it was owned by a Dominican Monastery. Probably one of the oldest and best-known manor houses in Finland, this pretty hotel is just 5km (3mi) from the historic coastal town of Porvoo, with a rural setting that makes it the perfect place from which to explore the local area.
Private home, field hospital and old people’s sanctuary, the Manor House Hirvihaaran has had a colourful past. But having been a hotel since 1992, this genteel manor house is well accustomed to offering its guests the best of Finnish hospitality. Take a walk in the kitchen garden to sample the fresh herbs, or enjoy a genuine smoke sauna followed by a revitalising dip in the Mustijoki river – through an ice hole in the winter, if you dare!
Westerby Gård’s history goes back hundreds of years but the stylish countryside hotel was opened in 2008. The light decor of the rooms is an elegant mixture of countryside romance and seaside cottage life and there is also a sauna department with a jacuzzi to be enjoyed. Located in Inkoo near Helsinki, Westerby Gård also offers an interesting range of activities, such as seal safaris and winter fishing!
Tertti Manor House is located in Mikkeli, a beautiful city in the Southern Savonia region of Finland. Tertti Manor is a perfect example of Finnish countryside charm: in the pink wooden main building there is an elegant restaurant, and in the other buildings surrounding an inner courtyard there is a café, a boutique shop and the red wooden building containing five boutique hotel rooms.
Hotelli Nestori is located along the scenic Turku Archipelago Ring Trail. The hotel rooms with wooden floors and simple decor are located in a beautifully renovated barn building. In the main building, you will find a restaurant, Back Pocket, which is reason enough to drop by!
Paula Hotti contributed additional reporting to this article.
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