Oulu, on the shores of the Bay of Bothnia in Finland, is all about cross-country skiing, cycling and – come summer – lapping up rays on the beach. There’s a great selection of hotels, too. Savour some good old-fashioned hospitality in a century-old city villa, opt for a downtown location with quintessentially Lappish decor or enjoy a unique stay in a former vodka distillery. Here’s our pick of the best hotels in Oulu – bookable on Culture Trip.
Hospitality has always been at the heart of De Gamlas Hem. Dating from 1906, the art nouveau villa began life as a retirement home for widowed aristocratic women before transitioning to a refuge for Swedish fighter pilots during World War II. Today, this hotel in Oulu welcomes guests from around the world, and in the true spirit of old-world hospitality, you can enjoy complimentary afternoon tea in the lounge.
There’s a theme to suit everyone’s mood at Original Sokos Hotel Arina. Inspired by the time-honoured traditions of Oulu, the rooms include the warm-toned Summer Night that is based on thousands of folk stories and songs, the typically Scandi-style Luonto that tells the story of life on the islands and the PlayStation-equipped Routa, which channels the spirit of playing and succeeding through the strength of the northern character. A striking wood-panelled wall in the restaurant further emphasises this ethos on promoting local traditions.
With light green walls, brown leather bedheads and pinkish armchairs, this hotel in Oulu flirts with early 1970s design while managing to stay contemporary. Book a standard room with a view over the market square, Oulu River or the sea. Alternatively, splash out and stay in the top-floor presidential suite for a private sauna and jacuzzi with a panoramic view over the city.
Nallikari Holiday Village is close to the popular beach of the same name. Stay in the cute and cosy, light blue Masto cottage, or book yourself a modern villa with a sauna and a fireplace. Nallikari Holiday Village also includes a caravan and camping site if you’d like to sleep under the stars – plus a modern bistro serving up freshly baked cakes and tartlets as well as burgers and salads.
Scandic Oulu City promises an authentic Finnish experience you’re unlikely to forget. Not only are rooms finished in typical Scandi-style, but historical landmarks such as the nearby Rotuaari Promenade and the timbered buildings of Market Square are just a short walk or bike ride away. At this hotel in Oulu, you can borrow one of the bikes on-site and take in the scenery, then soothe aching limbs in the sauna later on. Alternatively, if you’ve checked into one of the junior suites, you can enjoy a sauna experience all on your own.
The Best Western Hotel Apollo is a great option for business travellers who like to work and play hard. The speedy wifi reaches across all three bars – Bar Apollo, Night Club Yöhuikka and the Karaoke Bar – where you can work during the day and let off some steam in the evenings. If you’re not in the mood for karaoke and cocktails, then treat yourself to a session in the sauna instead.
From life as a Georgian-era vodka distillery to serving as a hospital for the whole of the 20th century, this hotel in Oulu is preserved in decades of Finnish history. Today, hotel guests can expect luxury touches such as Molton Brown toiletries and superb views over the Oulu River from the rooms. The highlight is the organic daily breakfast, with local produce varying from cottage cheese and smoked fish to honey and fresh berries.
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