суббота, 19 декабря 2015 г.

Tampere. Part I. The hotel with "invisible" staff

In the end of August I spent two days in Finland. This time I chose Tampere as a destination. I'd like to tell you about plenty of things I've seen during 8-hour walk around the city. However, I'll start my story not with a place of interest but with the most unusual hotel I've ever stayed in.

I'm talking about Omena Hotel Tampere, a specimen of the large hotel network. Currently it covers only Finland but as recently as a year ago you could also stay in Omena hotels in the certain cities of Denmark and Sweden, too.

The story begins several weeks before the trip. After I booked a room online, I received an email specifying all details including the door code. As that email promised, 24 hours prior to my arrival another email, containing the room number, was delivered. The same information came 8 hours before the check-in in SMS message.

Now let's turn our thoughts to the moment when I found myself opposite the front door of Omena Hotel Tampere.

Step 1. Enter the door code, open the door and find yourself on a dark staircase.

Step 2. Ascend the staircase to the third floor, enter the same door code, step into the light and look around. Well, the corridor looks better than the staircase but it is still more like a dormitory than a hotel. At least, floor in the hotels is usually much cleaner than here.

Step 3. Walk to your room, enter the code, that you've already learnt by heart, and marvel at what is inside. I often lack for an electric tea kettle in the hotels, and here it is as well as a microwave. Have a lot of electronic devices that are running out of charge? Six wall outlets at your service! Hairdrier, fridge, TV set don't surprise but are present, too. Oh, look! Two beds (from which I deduce that it is actually a twin room at the price of a single one) and two chair-beds (for those who prefer to have a choice in whatever situation, I suppose). Switch on the TV...


wait... I'm not acquainted with you. How do you know how am I called?

Are you sure that you are a TV set?..

... but not a sheep?

Whatever you are, thanks a lot for the built-in information about the schedule you show each time I switch you on!

Well, I stop speaking with TV sets and sheeps and turn back to you.

There is plenty of other things here including the New Testament and twenty bags of sugar. And if you worry about your safety because of all these door codes (who knows how many doors does the code match? Exactly three or more? Frankly speaking, I didn't check it :) ) there is a heavy hasp and a peephole, too (not sure I see the latter one in the hotel rooms' doors often).

Additional benefits and drawbacks I'd like to mention:

  • Check-in is at 4 p.m., while check-out is at 12 p.m., i.e. if you stay in Omena hotel for a day, you can actually be there for no more than 20 hours. Sounds unfair, don't you think so?
  • Omena Hotel Tampere is situated on Hämeenkatu, the main street of Tampere. The good point is that Hämeenkatu starts (or ends?) at the railway station. So if you arrive too late or if you just want to leave the luggage in your room, be sure that it would be easy to find the hotel: after your train arrives, just go straight ahead and look to the left from time to time.  

Let's finally switch to the heading of this post. Why do I call the staff "invisible"? My counterquestion is: have I mentioned any staff in the above paragraphs? No. In fact, I noticed only a cleaner on the staircase when I was leaving the hotel on Sunday in the morning. Why is it cool not to communicate with any staff? Some people are shy, some people don't speak English but still want to travel. And as for me, I just enjoy saving the time (and the space of the hotel) by such an elegant solution.

Have you ever stayed in a hotel with a similar concept? If so, share your impressions in comments.

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