Value Score Average Value
Good For Families
Good value hotel by the port
We stayed at City Hotel Portus for 3 nights during an Easter weekend visit to Tallinn in April 2011.
We booked two double rooms with breakfast for 30 GBP per room per night.
City Hotel Portus is located right next to Terminal D at Tallinn's port and so is particularly convenient if you are planning to travel to/from Helsinki by ship. The distance between the entrance to the hotel and the entrance to the terminal building is no more than 100 metres. Ferries and hydrofoils operated by Tallink depart from Terminal D.
Having visited Tallinn previously, I knew that the port area is only a short walk from the Old Town and the city's main sights. In fact, it took us just 10-15 minutes to walk from the hotel into the Old Town. In the opposite direction, a similar length walk brings you to Kadriorg Park.
If arriving at the hotel from the airport, expect to pay around 6 Euros for a taxi. We took a taxi operated by Tulika Takso (2.88 Euros starting fare + 0.55 Euros per kilometre) and paid 5.68 Euros for the journey. As there were 4 of us, it would have been no cheaper (and somewhat less convenient) to take the bus from the airport.
As the hotel is so close to the port, there are always plenty of taxis waiting outside the hotel. A taxi journey from the hotel to the Old Town should cost no more than 4 Euros.
Between the hotel and the Old Town there are plenty of restaurants and shops, including the Norde Centrum shopping mall which includes a good value Rimi supermarket.
Overall, we couldn't fault the location of this hotel. While it isn't in the heart of the Old Town, it is within easy walking distance. The location is practically unbeatable if you are catching an early morning or late night ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki.
Emma and I got a twin room on the hotel's first floor (ground floor for UK readers), while Emma's parents got a more spacious double room on the 3rd floor. We enquired at reception to see if we could be moved into a similar room, but were told that such rooms were limited and were fully booked. We booked both rooms together, so it's the luck of the draw whether you get a small twin room or a large double room. Knowing this in advance means that you can at least request a large double room at the time of your booking.
Our room had two comfortable single beds, a small wardrobe, bedside cabinets, various shelves and cupboards, a writing desk and chair, a small sofa, plenty of lighting and a handful of electrical sockets for recharging batteries and phones overnight. There was a small TV on a wall bracket in the corner of the room, giving access to 15-20 channels including BBC News and a variety of European satellite channels. Temperature control was by means of a radiator and an oscillating fan, although neither were required at the time of our visit as the room temperature was always comfortable.
We had a view of the port from our window and experienced occasional noise and vibrations when ferries started up their engines. However, this was not a big deal; it didn't interrupt our sleep.
All rooms have free wi-fi access via the hotel's unsecured network. The connection was very reliable and the speed was more than adequate for my needs.
The en-suite shower room was spotlessly clean and the towels were changed daily. The shower itself wasn't particularly good. The connection to the shower wall had broken, so the shower had to be handheld at all times. The water pressure was fairly low and the water ran hot and cold during the course of a shower, rather than a steady warm temperature.
Overall, our room was more than adequate for the amount of time we spent in it and the price we paid.
Breakfast is served in the hotel's Cafe Retro on the first floor, between around 7am and 10am (later at weekends).
I'd read mixed reviews prior to our stay and, having paid only 15 Euros per person per night for the room, my expectations weren't particularly high. In fact, the breakfast buffet turned out to be much better than I expected.
The choice was the same each day: one type of cheese, two types of cold ham, small sausages, meatballs, eggs (hard boiled and omelette style), bread (rolls with seeds on and a very nice black rye bread that tasted a bit like malt loaf to me), cereals (cornflakes and an oats and raisins combination), porridge, strawberry yoghurt, cake (similar to Madeira cake) and some rather tired looking fruit.
There was a choice of fruit juices (orange, apple and mixed fruits), milk, coffee and a dozen or more different teas (peppermint, green, strawberry, rosehip etc.).
Cafe Retro also offers an extensive food and drinks menu at lunch and dinner, but we only ever used it at breakfast time.
One of the main reasons for Emma booking this hotel was that it offers sauna and steam room facilities. She had been seduced by the photos on the website showing a large jacuzzi tub on the hotel's 5th floor with spectacular views from the windows over the port and across to the Old Town skyline.
We were therefore disappointed to find that these facilities aren't included in the room rate but must be booked and paid for separately. You can book the whole facility (for up to 20 people) for an hourly fee. The cost is 19 Euros per hour before 3pm and 40 Euros per hour after 3pm. It was fully booked on the weekend we arrived, but we were able to book an hour on the Monday morning before we checked out. It was very good value at less than 5 Euros per person and, in hindsight, it was better to pay a small fee for exclusive use rather than pay nothing and find the facilities crowded with other hotel guests.
The facilities include a jacuzzi tub (fairly warm water and comfortably accommodating up to 4 people), a wooden sauna (much hotter than I'm used to in the UK), a steam room (not as hot as I'm used to, but it was still warming up as we were the first people to use it in the morning) and, for the brave, a cold water bucket that you can stand underneath, pull a cord and receive an ice cold shower.
There are changing facilities, showers, lockers, a seating area with dining tables, a flat screen TV and a fridge.
You can access the rooftop from the sauna room, soak up the panoramic views of the port and photograph the Old Town in the distance.
Check-in doesn't start until 3pm. We arrived at noon and were able to store our luggage in a large room behind reception while we went out to explore the city.
Similarly, having checked out, we were able to store our luggage for the day (free of charge) before returning to collect it in the evening on our way to the airport.
All guests are given key cards to access the rooms and to operate the lifts.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at City Hotel Portus and found it to be very good value for money. The location is particularly convenient if you're catching a boat between Tallinn and Helsinki but, even if you're not, it is close enough to walk to the Old Town. Rooms are clean and comfortable, breakfast is filling and wi-fi is free – at just 15 Euros per person per night it's a bargain!
Directions: Located next to Terminal D in Tallinn's port area, 10-15 minutes walk from the Old Town.
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