Sunday, 21 June 2015

Favourite hotels: Tallinn's Savoy Boutique Hotel

Number 8 in an occasional series on special hotels


As I awoke on the final morning of my stay at the Savoy boutique hotel in Tallinn water was dripping gently from a light fixture in the bathroom. Though it was of little consequence to me I reported it to the front desk, lest it should play havoc with the electrics. When I checked out I was presented with a gift, splendid in its originality as an apology. It was a loaf of dense Estonian black bread*, just made to be eaten with something as sharp as a soused herring.


The previous evening I had eaten with colleagues at a Georgian restaurant in the old heart of the city. It was a Sunday and there seemed little point heading for a bar, so we repaired to the hotel for a nightcap. The bar was closed. There were, after all, no other drinkers. But they took pity on us and produced cold beers in any case. It's touches such as these that make a good hotel. 

The Savoy is housed in a building from around the end of the 19th century. It has a marble staircase with an elegant, curved, wooden bannister. My room looked out on a square which could be a little noisy on a hot weekend night - and if you suffer from even the slightest mobility problems you should perhaps ask for one with a shower. My bath had probably the highest sides I have encountered. But on the plus side- unusually - the amenities included bath salts along with the shampoo and other extras.There were slippers and fluffy robes and while the bedroom was a fairly compact it had well chosen, operand style furniture, free wi fi, a safe incorporating a powerpoint for laptops or other devices, and a hair dryer. Breakfast was an excellent buffet, including fresh fruit and yoghurt, boiled and scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes - and good coffee. The hotel has its own restaurant.
However, its the ambience of the Savoy that makes it such a good choice - and its location. It's only a short stroll to the old town, the remains of whose walls date mostly from the 14th century. Minutes away are streets rich in baroque buildings, the superb historical museum - and a wide range of shops and restaurants. 
Ancient defences


Rates are surprisingly modest for such a comfortable, convenient property. Booking.com posted rates starting at £93 - including breakfast - for midweek stays in late June.
*Estonians have countless recipes for black bread, which is often baked at home. You can see one at http://www.visitestonia.com/en/things-to-see-do/cultural-holiday/gourmet/black-bread.


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