The Best Place In Town

The sign says private, trespassing forbidden. Isn’t that a promising sign, that this bushy yard is hiding something?

This unimaginative looking building is the former Hotel Varsavuori. It was built outside the city centre of Mikkeli on the shores of Lake Saimaa in 1974 and its nightclub became the wildest party spot in town, where everybody headed, when the bars in the city centre closed. The legend told, that if you had a bigger group of people, you’d get a free taxi ride from the city centre to the hotel. So lucrative were the return trips back to the centre.

As the location was pretty remote, the popularity of the hotel decreased towards the end of the 1980’s. It was closed down and between 1990 and 1993 a refugee centre was located in the building.

In 1997 Hotel Varsavuori was reopened, and this is where it gets personal. In June 1998 I spent several days in Mikkeli with my family visiting an agricultural fair. It was pretty difficult to find a place to stay, so we were booked here. I was just nine years old, but I had already travelled quite a lot and seen some hotels. However nothing quite like this.

I remember the dull, grey plastic floors and the uncomfortable steel framed beds, which looked like they had been imported from a closed army garrison. All furniture was extremely old and cheap and the icing on the cake were the radios. They looked like car radios from the 1970’s or 1980’s and were attached to strange, plastic tables. The TV:s were at least from the 1970’s and had a dark brown casing, which mimicked wood.

The restaurant and nightclub had a thick, soft, wild patterned wall to wall carpet and monstrous furniture, which probably were original. The food was overpriced, but hardly decent and on the wall was a list of fines issued for offences in the restaurant ranging from breaking a glass or plate to vomiting on staff.

The hotel had a sauna and a pool, but the water was so dirty, that nobody of us swam. Instead I preferred to watch football from the old TV, which looked like it could break up or catch fire any moment. I remember at least watching the game between Croatia and Germany in the World Cup that year.

After several owners attempted to revive the business, it was closed down for good in 2007. The hotel stayed closed and was for sale ever since.

We thought we could explore the building in peace, but we only just got behind those trees on the right, when somebody drove to the yard and parked a Mercedes right in front. We decided to take a look around the place.

According to media reports, the last owner, a Russian company, had made some renovations.

The hotel was built on a steep hillside. Three storeys high on the lakeside, it was only just above the ground on the other one. Because of the Mercedes, we had to start our walkaround from the worse side.

If I can remember correctly, all the rooms were facing the lake and this side was just a corridor leading to the rooms. It’s been so many years, that I’m not entirely sure anymore.

The hotel looked like it had been enlarged at some point, as this wing is completely different from the other one. The windows upstairs also look a lot more like hotel room windows, so maybe my memory is incorrect.

So we finally reached the end. The sign on the left says trespass forbidden, construction site. It is misspelled, so we couldn’t understand it.

All the windows had previously featured a view to the lake. It was now out of sight because of the trees and bushes.

Next I’ll treat you with some bad Images taken through the windows. I’m sorry for the quality, but as we couldn’t find a way in, this is the only way to show you what was inside.

As you can see, the last owner did start some renovations, but apparently he didn’t have enough money to continue.

It actually looked like they had finished demolition, started reconstruction and then ended there. I am pretty sure that the last chair had been in the hotel for all its existence.

In this room they had advanced a bit longer. The walls had been painted.

This is what I believe to be the junction of the old and new parts of the hotel. My suspicions are based on the fact that the part on the right is constructed using entirely different materials than the one on the left.

Some of the first floor rooms even had balconies. So did the ones on the second floor.

A look through the window of one of the rooms. It looks like at least the floor has been changed since our stay, as it looks a lot more fresh. But wait a second, isn’t that…

Oh yes. The rooms still feature the original wood covered TV:s, which were here way back in 1998 and decades before that.

We have now walked all around the building. The restaurant and nightclub are straight ahead and the parking lot is behind them. The car was still there, so we decided to just follow our own paths away.

Hotel Varsavuori was demolished in the summer of 2022 and new housing will be built on its place.

Published by desertedfinland

A Finnish Urban explorer & Photographer

2 thoughts on “The Best Place In Town

  1. Two things, first, I graduated high school in 1998 and feel kinda old.

    Secondly, the part about, “on the wall was a list of fines issued for offenses in the restaurant ranging from breaking a glass or plate to vomiting on staff”, made me laugh.

    I still remember those television sets with the plastic wood from the 1970’s and early 1980’s; my family had them throughout my childhood, and surprisingly, they still worked up until a couple of years ago.

    So I may be old, but at least I’m happy. Thanks for another enjoyable tour of abandonment. 🙂

    1. Thank you once again for your comment, Thomas!

      We laughed at the list back then, too. We actually considered breaking a glass just to see if they would issue the fine. Vomiting on the staff was too expensive. But we did go to a clock store and set all the alarms to ten minutes from the point and ran away.

      You may be old, but I’m coming around 10 years behind and still enjoying (graduated in 2008). Age is just a number!

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