Picturesque views over the old town of Porvoo, delicious food and relaxing manor life – our weekend escape to Porvoo was just what the doctor ordered. Haikko Manor is a beautiful old manor turned into a hotel, complete with a spa and surrounded by beautiful nature. It’s only a 40-minute drive from Helsinki and located just outside the city of Porvoo so you can easily combine your stay at the manor with a tour of Porvoo.
Perfect Timing for a Weekend Escape
Photo: The old town of Porvoo just never gets… well, old! The rainy weather provided some dramatic backdrops and we got to see the town from a new perspective.
In the beginning of September, my dog Bradley passed away from a sudden illness. I’m still devastated and miss him so much. My boyfriend gave me a weekend at Haikko Manor as a birthday present in May and with everything that had happened, suddenly it seemed like the timing was more than right to cash in the gift.
When Bradley died I couldn’t stand seeing any of his toys, his leash, his bed – nothing. I cleaned out everything, but somehow anywhere I went something seemed to remind me of him. It was – and still is – as though the whole house screams “he’s missing”. That’s why it felt like such a relief to just escape the dark cloud of grief that seemed to hang over our home.
Of course a lot of the weekend was spent feeling sad, but it was nice to get away from home and have something else to think about. I always get so excited exploring places and for brief moments I was able to feel excitement again.
Photo: Pretending to be a princess heading towards the manor terrace for some afternoon tea whilst admiring the garden and view over the archipelago.
Haikko Manor is a beautiful old manor that was turned into a hotel in 1966, the first manor hotel in Finland. There’s around 20 rooms in the old manor building and the rest of the around 200 rooms are located in the newer spa building, right next to the old manor.
The spa building is perhaps slightly less glamorous-looking than the manor building, but perks include being able to just walk downstairs to the spa and gym without having to exit the building.
For some reason Haikko Manor has quite a late check-in, at 3 pm. This is kind of annoying, since this doesn’t leave that much time for gym, spa and dinner, but we spent the day exploring the city of Porvoo before checking in.
Old Town Magic
Photo: Porvoo old town can be appreciated from many different angles. In my opinion, one of the best spots is on the opposite side of the river Porvoonjoki. There’s a nice path all along the riverbank with some excellent views. There are two bridges over the river so you don’t have to walk back the same way.
There’s something about the old town of Porvoo, I just can’t get enough of it. It’s such an amazing place to snap pictures, there’s a lovely ambience and there are so many cute shops and cafés.
We strolled around the old town and had some coffee by the river at Porvoon Paahtimo, a lovely place where you can choose to have your coffee either outside on the deck of an old barge or inside the 100-year-old red brick building.
I was looking forward to having some ice cream at Porvoon jäätelötehdas, but unfortunately it was closed for the season (why is ice cream season always so brief in Finland). But Riimikko, the old-fashioned toy store I loved going to as a kid, was open and it was fun having a look inside and seeing it was still as I remembered it.
Gym and Spa
Photo: It’s a bit of a walk to the manor pier, but definitely worth it: so beautiful and peaceful!
We arrived at the hotel early and started by exploring the area and the beautiful garden. The manor pier is gorgeous and definitely worth walking to. The studio of one of Finland’s most famous artists, Albert Edelfelt, is located right by the pier and he spent over 20 summers here, getting inspired by these views.
After check-in we didn’t want to loose any time so we hit the gym immediately. I thought it was pretty good for a hotel gym, so this was a nice surprise. Having completed a great workout it felt amazing to throw on a nice comfy bathrobe and slippers and head to the spa.
The spa at Haikko Manor is not the best spa you’ll find in Finland, but it’s definitely good enough. You’ll find a selection of different saunas and a steam room, a larger pool, a Jacuzzi and lounge area where you can buy drinks and snacks.
Saturday is probably the busiest day of the week and with such a late check-in, most guests will flock to the spa at around the same time. So the spa was very crowded and we had to queue for a while before managing to squeeze into the Jacuzzi. But it was so lovely to just float, have a few drinks and relax.
Photo: The spa at Haikko Manor is decent enough, but why oh why would you build such an ugly grey building right in front of the spa blocking the view over the archipelago? Imagine how amazing it would be to lay in the pool and admire an open view over the sea!
Photo: On the rare occasion you’ll see me all glammed up. Fancy outfit for a fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant.
After having marinated enough in the spa it was time for food. We had a three-course dinner at the manor restaurant and I was expecting fancy, but this was beyond my expectations. Silver platters, red velvet curtains, gold details – very regal.
The food was excellent – I especially loved the whitefish, perfectly cooked! Had some champagne and great wine as well.
I’m at my most comfortable in slightly less extravagant environments, but every now and then I love dressing up. I really felt like a princess, so this was a really wonderful birthday present, and all in all a lovely weekend!