History Kämp Present Kämp

The revolving point of actors, musicians and artists. Hotel Kämp - today a legend!


Welcome to the Daughter of the Baltic Sea, as Helsinki is nicknamed. And a very warm welcome to Hotel Kämp, Finland's luxurious legacy of hospitality. Since 1887 the Kämp rules one of the most beautiful corners of the lovely Esplanade, that used to dived the city in a Southern and a Northern hemisphere.

The hotel business of the Kämp has been re-launched by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. as part of its Luxury Collection. The hotel's management attaches great importance to the past history of the building and it has been an aim to respect the spirit of the original Hotel Kämp. This has been achieved by delving into the archives and examining historical photographs. The drapery has been faithfully replicated based on the hotel's former magnificence and additional chandeliers have been made, modelled on those already existing in the Mirror Room. The chairs are reproductions of the original items designed for the Kämp and copied from those which have been preserved intact. Ceiling frescoes by the artist Wetterstrand embellish the elegant Kämp Restaurant. The story of the old Kämp will now go forward in the spirit of its glorious past. Its quiet period of over thirty years has ended with its rebirth.

Setting the Stage

The fates of the Hotel Kämp and Finland have been closely entwined during the past one hundred years and the restaurants of the hotel have provided a beautiful setting for fabulous parties. The identity of the emerging Finnish nation was blueprinted at the Kämp. Important political issues have been decided and significant deals closed at its tables.


1887: The hotel was inaugurated.

1969: A renovation programme was completed.

1998: Ownership of the building passed to Aleksia Ltd. HISTORY IN DETAIL

1884: Carl Wilhelm Kämp was a well-known restaurateur who lived in Helsinki in the late 19th century. Totally committed to his business, he did not hesitate when Mr Ekholm, a goldsmith by profession, announced the sale of a site at the corner of Kluuvikatu and Pohjoisesplanadi. The property passed into Carl Kämp’s possession in 1884 and he decided to build a big, modern hotel there. Architect Theodor Höijer was commissioned to design the hotel building. The main entrance on the Esplanadi Park side opened into an elegant lobby where a richly decorated, pillared staircase led to the other levels of the five-storey building. The rooms on the four upper floors looked onto the inner court, Kluuvikatu or the Esplanadi Park. These were the most modern hotel rooms in town. In addition to the living area, every room had a small vestibule - a tambour - and a curtained-off corner for the bed and the washstand.

1887: Inauguration ceremony The guests were fascinated by the lift that carried them from one storey to the next. The Kämp was the first luxury hotel in Helsinki. Members of the press who witnessed its magnificent inauguration ceremony in 1887 praised the elegant exuberance of the furnishings and materials. People were thrilled with the soft carpets and the solid, well upholstered furniture. The heavy curtains added the finishing touch to the dignified atmosphere. The rooms were illuminated by glittering Venetian chandeliers and their lights were reflected from the huge mirrors on the walls. Cut-glass chandeliers had also been imported from Berlin for their special effect. Set out in the refined Continental style, with its carefully finished details, the Kämp could truly be described as a European grand hotel. The service was also up to the highest standards. The Hotel Kämp provided, for example, transport by horse-drawn carriage from the railway station and the harbour. No need for the guests to walk up the unpaved, dirty streets!

1888: Carl Kämp enjoyed his brilliant hotel business for only one year. On his sudden death in 1888, his widow Maria Kämp shouldered the responsibility for the luxury hotel, but things were not going as expected and the hotel drifted into an economic crisis.

1890: Maria Kämp surrendered the business to a new company, Ab Hotel Kämp. Thereafter, the hotel and the new restaurant was operated under the management of several different owners. The property itself did not change hands quite as frequently. For about thirty years after the establishment of the hotel, the property belonged to municipal councillor Gronqvist. On his death, it was held for a short time by a limited company.

1917: The hotel was sold which sold to the Kansallis Banking Group, the owner of the site next door.

The Kämp restaurants The Kämp restaurants were very popular with the townspeople. The older people preferred the Lower House where they would watch the comings and goings in the mirrors that covered the walls. The Upper House was the scene of elegant dinner parties and receptions, accommodating more than 100 people. Ladies dressed up in their rustling evening gowns and gentlemen resplendent in their dinner jackets would meet and chat under the lustrous chandeliers of the Upper House. The dignitaries from both town and country also visited the Upper House where they were entertained by world-famous performers who used to stop off in Helsinki on their way to Stockholm or St. Petersburg. Variety shows were also staged in the Upper House and the best of them would ensure a full house time after time. The Kämp restaurants were patronised by renowned politicians, artists, composers and writers. For example, Jean Sibelius, Eino Leino and Akseli Gallen-Kallela were regular customers. Those were the days when the face of the emerging Finnish nation was profiled and spirited discussions would go on for several days.

1939-40: During the Winter War the Hotel Kämp was the place of the Independence Day Reception and provided lodgings for foreign war correspondents.

1950s: After the war, the Hotel Kämp continued to operate until the 1950's when the building began to show signs of dilapidation. The wooden foundations were in the process of decay, cracks had spring up in the walls and the old electrical appliances would no longer sustain the loads. The owner of the property, the Kansallis Banking Group, considered various options - whether to demolish the whole building and erect a new one or to pull down part of the building and preserve the old walls. The long drawn-out argument about the Kämp’s fate was about to begin.

1965: The bank received permission to erect a new building, provided that the old walls and some of the interior structures were restored. The bank first planned the new building for a hotel and restaurant but failed to find a leasing partner for the hotel business. It then filed for permission to alter the plans to convert the building into offices. The bank's plans were finally approved.

1969: After a series of events and incidents, the new building was completed. The facade looking onto Pohjoisesplanadi was a copy of the original five-storey building plus the sixth storey, designed by Lars Sonck, which had been added in the years 1914-15. Preserved in the new edifice were the old entrance hall, the staircase leading to the top floor, the restaurant and the mirrored ballroom.

1998: Kansallis Group owned the Kämp property until the end of 1998 when it was transferred to Aleksia Ltd. in the reorganisation of MeritaNordbanken's real estate business.

So many famous guests have graced the hotel over the years. Read on to find out more! Composer Jean Sibelius started the tradtion to make the Kämp his home from home. Today famous celebrities from all over the world arrive.

His Imperial Highness of Japan stayed at Hotel Kämp.

Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan arrived in 2003.

King Harald and Sonja of Norway, too, enjoyed true Kämp hospitality.

Everybody of the staff joyfully recalls the visit of Whitney Houston, who arrived with a party of her family and best friends. She booked thirty rooms for four days. She must have enjoyed the atmosphere of Finland’s only five star hotel as she actually stayed a whole week. One day she was recognised by some children in the lobby. She sat down with them and sang them a song.

Another pop icon, Sting, reserved three rooms, stayed in one of them and paid for all three when he checked out.

Racing Finn and Boss fashion model Mika Häkkinen likes to bring his family, because he appreciates the privacy of Hotel Kämp.

However, nothing is kept a secret or private when a pop group like the Backstreet Boys arrive. When they visited Finland, hundreds of teenage girls laid siege to the Kämp to catch a glimpse of their idols. On another occasion, a well-known pop group with a somewhat doubtful reputation checked in. There is no need to reveal the name – they had become infamous for rearranging the interior design of hotel bedrooms. When they arrived, the security manager took them and their manager upstairs to explain that he would be in charge of their safety. What he was far more concerned about was protecting his hotel, and he diplomatically conveyed this to the band’s manager, who took this request serious enough to tell his group; ‘Look, guys, here we are at this luxurious hotel in Helsinki. You can start throwing TV-sets out of the windows straight away. Please feel free to destroy the interior of your rooms. No problem. I have a credit card. I can pay for everything.’ Hearing this, the security manager turned pale until the band manager added, ‘But bear in mind that we are now in Finland and, as the Finns say, “a good bell rings loud, but a bad one rings even louder.” From tomorrow on we will be touring Russia, and if the hotel rooms of a luxury hotel in Helsinki have been badly damaged, no luxury hotel in Russia will take us and we will have to make do with bed & breakfast accommodation. Do you know what that means in Russia?’ All members of the band qualified for five star accommodation across the border!

Of course, there is the story about the Arab sheik who wanted forty-two luxurious limousines for his entourage.

Another insisted on having fifteen Mercedes S-class at his disposition. The cars were there – imported over night from Sweden – nothing is impossible at Hotel Kämp.

Among the superstars who have recently checked in were the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Jones, Elton John, and the ‘Hotel California’ group Eagles. The pop-legend Tina Turner asked for a home trainer to be placed in her suite.

To be a guest at the Hotel Kämp is something very special. When the Finnish magazine Seura recently agreed to fulfil any wish that the oldest living Finn, a certain Mr Aarne Arvonen, might have, he said that he would like to spend a night at the Hotel Kämp. He was checked in – with all expenses paid – at the tender age of 105. When I met him later in the bar he told me that it had been his lifelong ambition to stay at the legendary Hotel Kämp just once before he died. (Andreas Augustin)

The Hotel Kämp played a very special role in the course of historical events. In the years of Czarist oppression, the building was the meeting place of the secret underground movement 'Kagaali' and during the Civil War it housed a hospital and the staff headquarters of the German Baltic Division.

Päivi Holmberg (-2010)
Ray Kaihali
Timo Tirri (2005–2007)
Jan K Nielsen
Even Frydenberg
Leon Larkin
  Executive assistant manager Gunnar Ormalm

Managed by: Starwood Hotels & Resorts, The Luxury Collection
179 Rooms

All the rooms have color televisions with satellite, film and radio channels, 3 direct-dial telephones with voicemail and pc connection, Mini Bar and 24h Room Service. All the suites have a fax.

Mannerheim Suite, Sibelius, ...

Kämp Cafe & Bar, in grand old European tradition ------ Kämp Club, a Cosmopolitan late hour upscale club ------ Terrace at The Kämp - lounge out here in spring and summer ------ Yume, where Chef Hirokazu Kamijukkoku has combined Japanese and Scandinavian traditions into something completely new and refreshing

Which brings us to the truly Finnish institution that has been added to the hotel’s business facilities. The sauna in the Balance Club, on top of the new block, can now seat up to twenty people for a truly hot (100°C) meeting. Afterwards delegates are treated to lavish buffets. Many Helsinki-based corporate clients have already adopted this venue as their favourite meeting place. In addition the health club features a wonderful Turkish steam bath, designed in a mind-calming grotto style. Relaxing on ‘Gaudiesque’, ceramic heated chairs the Balance Club is a sanctuary on the eight floor, rightfully close to heaven.

Google Map

Our Select Member Hotel

Country: Finland
City: Helsinki
Opening date: 1887, 1 November

Note from the Host

General Manager

Mrs. Outi Välimäki


Pohjoisplanade 29
00100 Finland, Helsinki

Tel: +358-9-576 111
Fax: +358-9-576 1122

Google Map

Book a Room

Click on the link below to start your trip (no booking fees)!