Scandic Paasi Circus Hotel by Nea Soini in Helsinki, Finland

Global Yodel recently had the opportunity to experience the Scandic Paasi circus hotel in Helsinki, Finland.

The hotel sits on one of the most famous plots of land in the Siltasaari neighborhood just north of downtown. Less than 150 years ago, this site was home to a famous circus featuring dancing horses, bicycle riding lions, and polar bear wrestlers. Helsinki residents loved it so much they renamed its street Cirkusgatan, Finnish for Circus Street.

Today, the Scandic Paasi is a sleek and modern four-star hotel decorated in a style fitting to Helsinki’s strong design history. The lobby is illuminated by a red chandelier shaped like an upside down top hat, and the guestroom walls are covered in a custom print of lions, clowns and jugglers. Let’s not forget to mention the breakfast buffet is epic and someone is always behind the bar ready to whip up a circus-themed drink.

We sat down with the Scandic Paasi’s Nea Soini to learn more about the hotel and her hometown of Helsinki.



Name:Nea Soini

City: Helsinki, Finland

How would you sum up Helsinki: Helsinki is a big city but at the same time it’s compact and easy to get around.

Tell us about the history of the Scandic Paasi.  The story behind the Paasi starts in 1850. The wallpaper factory of George Rieks stood right next to the site of the present hotel. His designs graced the walls of many Russian buildings. But when the generous customs rules that allowed his trade with Russia were withdrawn in 1885, Rieks moved his operation to St Petersburg. Master builder Gustav Jansson purchased the deserted factory and built a circus with seats for 2,000 spectators in its place.

The stars of the Siltasaari Circus –  the Spaniard Manuel Veltra’s six cycling lions and the dancing horses of the visiting Circus Robinson – are celebrated throughout the hotel.

Helsinki hotel bar

What makes the Scandic Paasi unique? Definitely the wonderful history of the area and the interior design that brings it alive. The hotel’s 170 rooms crystallize Siltasaari’s history.

What is it like living in Helsinki? Living in Helsinki is great! There is always something going on and you can always discover new things and places.

Helsinki Hotel room

What is the biggest misconception people have about Helsinki? Most people actually speak really good English in Helsinki and are genuinely happy to help.

What’s a perfect day in Helsinki? A perfect day would probably be a picnic in Suomenlinna on a warm summer day. Suomenlinna is a fortress island and UNESCO World Heritage site just outside Helsinki. Suomenlinna has nice green areas around the old fortress ruins where you can relax and enjoy the sea air.

What’s the best thing about living in Helsinki? The worst? The seasons and the weather are the best and the worst thing about living in Helsinki. The city truly feels different depending on the time of the year.

What are your three favorite places in the world? Edinburgh, my family’s summer cottage in the lake district, and anywhere with friends.

This Yodel by Helen Anne Travis


Name:Nea Soini


Best place to eat:

The down-to-earth Juttutupa has the distinction of being one of the oldest restaurants in Helsinki, dating back to 1884. It has operated in its current location since 1908. With a warm and relaxed pub atmosphere, Juttutupa combines bohemian flair and age-old tradition with a fresh and modern twist. They have really good sized portions and traditional Finnish dishes as well as pizzas and burgers. (The salmon soup is almost as good as my grandmother makes.)

Best place to drink:

My favorite bar in Helsinki is the roof top champagne bar at Savoy. In the summer they have a wonderful open air terrace with a view of the city. My favorite drink can be found on Scandic Paasi’s circus-themed drink menu. The Ballerina is light, refreshing and a perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Local's tip:

Familiarize yourself with the public transport. It is really good in Helsinki and easy to use. You can get almost anywhere at almost any time.

Must do:

The cake buffet at Cafe Kakkugalleria is definitely a perfect meal for everyone with a sweet tooth.