Sokos Hotel Viru
Once a legendary Intourist business, this landmark hotel is now part of a Finnish chain, which is appropriate, given that the majority of its customers have traditionally been Finns. Housed inside a giant 1970s block, the Viru was once a famous symbol of contact between the USSR and the West – with many a shady deal said to have been done in the hotel lobby.
rnToday it remains the largest hotel in the Baltics – with more than 500 rooms, 93 of them added in 2004 – and a huge new shopping centre. It’s still considered the classy place of choice by Finnish visitors, who arrive in their droves for the sightseeing and the cheap booze, although you may feel as if you are lost in a creaking retro space station.
rnThis impression is fast changing, however, as the owners gradually redevelop the hotel and bring it up to date. The rooms are a surprise – comfortable and tastefully decorated, with parquet floors and framed prints. Take a tour upstairs for some of the best views of Tallinn and a peek inside the former KGB surveillance room – not always open to the public!