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Newsroom

28/01/2013

History

History of Klaus K Hotel and Rake corner - a building with a prominent part in the history of Helsinki

Known as the “Rake corner” and the “Rake building”, the corner of Erottaja and Bulevardi consists of two separate buildings. The older building facing Erottaja was built in 1882 as a German school for girls (design by Frans Sjöström). In addition to the school for girls, the building hosted Finland’s first coeducational school: Läroverket for gossar och flickor founded by Pastor Broberg in 1883.

The Rake corner is also connected to the early days of Finnish music education, as the Helsinki Music Institute founded by the Helsinki Music Society in 1882 began its activities in Rake Hall. Today, the Helsinki Music Institute is known as the Sibelius Academy. Rake Hall has witnessed performances by the music institute’s most talented students. For example, Jean Sibelius took 6 practical examinations in this hall.

After the school was closed down, a printing house took over in 1897, partly in the former school building and partly in a wooden building located in the corner of Bulevardi. As the operations of the printing house expanded, architect Lars Sonck was commissioned to design a new factory building, which was completed on the Bulevardi side of the Rake corner in 1912. The history of Rake in the corner began in 1917, when the Central Printing Office sold the property to Helsingin Rakennusainekauppa Oy (Helsinki Building Materials Trading Company Ltd), which moved its head office to Erottaja in 1920.

Restaurant business in the building began in 1913, when Mrs Svea Tilgman opened an upscale restaurant called Gradin (her maiden name) in the new building of the Central Printing Office. Gradin was considered a family-friendly restaurant and it advertised itself as a “women’s own restaurant”. In fact, going to Gradin wasn’t considered “sitting in a bar” even if there was a bottle of wine on the table. After prohibitions and many changes in ownership, the hotel and restaurant ended up as part of Rake Oy.

In 1938, the Board of Rake decided to combine the premises of the restaurant and the boarding house, and named them Klaus Kurki. The expanded hotel became a significant accommodation business in Helsinki, featuring proper premises such as an elegant dining hall and renovated rooms. After the renovation, the hotel included 63 rooms, all equipped with a toilet and most with a bathroom.

In the 1970s, the hotel was a family-run business, until it was sold to a hotel chain at the end of the decade. Three decades later, in 2005, the same family, represented by Mia and Marc, return to manage the hotel.

The former Klaus Kurki hotel underwent a massive 15 million euros renovation in 2005 and it has transformed into a modern, upscale lifestyle oasis. Inspired by Finland’s national epic, The Kalevala, the interiors of Klaus K express the emotional themes of mysticism, passion, desire and envy. Four different guest room motifs feature cutting edge design and comfort customized for today’s traveler. Thoroughly individual and decidedly contemporary, design hotel Klaus K is a hotel with a soul and a story, waiting for you discover it and all of its riches.