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We were very excited to get to Tallinn, not just because of the photos we had seen of its Old Town and the wonderful things we had heard but because we were staying a very unique hotel – the Original Sokos Hotel Viru.
This hotel is definitely one of a kind. It was the first skyscraper in Estonia when it was built in 1972. It was the top place to stay in Tallinn and where international guests stayed during Soviet times. For this reason, there were also KGB agents stationed at the hotel and a KGB radio room.
From here, the KGB could study all the guests and ensure nothing inappropriate was going on. 60 rooms at the hotel were bugged. There were plates with microphones in the dining room and ash trays in the bar! The history of the hotel is fascinating and while you are here, you can go on a tour to explain it all to you.
The Original Sokos Hotel Viru is in a prized position right next to the Old Town and surrounded by shopping and transport options. In fact, there is even a shopping centre at the base of the hotel as you can see in the above photo. Under the shopping centre, is a bus terminal.
This makes this a very easy place to stay. We could walk into the Old Town in minutes or catch a tram or bus to anywhere we wanted to go from out the front. There is a supermarket in the shopping centre.
The building is the tallest in the area which has two pluses. Firstly, there are fabulous views to the Old Town. It was great to wake up and see this beautiful area. Secondly, we could see it from the surrounding areas making it very easy to find our way back!
The hotel itself is just full of facilities. There are multiple restaurants and bars. There is also a playroom in one of the restaurants which serves great Mexican food. You can play in the playroom as a guest of the hotel or, like we did, you can also eat and have a couple of drinks while the kids happily play in the room. It was great. If you are more exciting than us then there is also a nightclub.
There are also saunas, wifi and a small library of books for kids to borrow. Breakfast is also included and it is great. I particularly liked how everything was marked with whether it included lactose or gluten. I especially recommend the mixed berries.
There was also a welcome gift on check in for the kids which put big smiles on their faces.
To discover the history of the hotel and to learn more about Estonia during the Soviet Union, this tour is fantastic. You do not have to be a guest of the hotel to do this, so it is also a good option if you decide to stay elsewhere.
The tour goes for about an hour and is run in various languages. We headed to the 23rd floor where the KGB used to be based to their secret radio room. The elevators only go up to the 22nd floor, so many people did not even realise this florr existed.
We heard about the hotel during Soviet times – how it ran, how they employed people and how the KGB operated. It was interesting to hear the differences between then and now. For example, the hotel had about three times the staff in Soviet times with people employed just to do such tasks such as cut bread. There were also women on each floor to watch the guests. We also learned about the black market in foreign goods that came from the hotel.
It is a good tour and I found the guide very entertaining and informative, although the museum is tiny. There is the opportunity to take in some great views from the top of the hotel.
Read more about the tour here.
We had a family room and it was fabulous. There were twin beds and bunk beds, so we all had out own beds.
The room was arranged very well to make the best use of space. There were also plenty of cupboards, a desk, couch area, and a small kitchenette with a microwave and second fridge (in addition to a minibar). There was also tea and coffee facilities. The kids especially loved that they had their own crockery!
In the bathroom we loved the floor heating and the kids were happy to find rubber duckies, special kids shampoo and body wash and special paper cups.
We had a great stay at the Original Sokos Hotel Viru and we liked it very much.
The location of the hotel is just fabulous and made everything very easy especially with the shopping centre at the bottom. We also loved the layout of the room and the bunk beds made things easy. The kitchenette also meant it was possible to do simple self catering in our room.
Thanks to the gift on arrival, the rubber duckies, kids crockery, their own beds and the playroom, the kids also loved staying here.
My only complaint is that we were left waiting awhile on check in. We did arrive early though.
The best part, however, was feeling like we were staying in piece of history – now just to hope that we weren’t in one of the bugged rooms!
Find out more about Original Sokos Hotel Viru on their website. We were guests of the hotel but, as always, our thoughts are our own.