Hotel Schlössle: 5-star luxury in medieval Tallinn, Estonia

October 02, 2015
Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

'Five-star luxury' and 'medieval' weren't two descriptions I'd expect to find in the same sentence let alone the same destination, that is until I experienced a truly gorgeous stay at Hotel Schlössle in the heart of Old Town, Tallinn.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Hotel Schlössle: 5-star luxury in medieval Old Town Tallinn

Aside from the adrenaline of Tondi Lasketiir shooting range, Henry and I were gunning for a laid-back pace of holiday in Tallinn: a world apart from our hectic touch-and-go schedule in Russia. Here in the fortified medieval city of Tallinn - once one of the most famous trading ports in the eastern world - we were eager to walk down the cobblestoned path of Estonia’s history, whose impeccable preservation and authentic Hanseatic architecture added Old Town to the ranks of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites and earned it the title of “the medieval pearl of Europe”. Hotel Schlössle is true to this spirit of preservation and historical reverence without compromising comfort nor luxury, so it was the obvious choice for Henry the history buff and I, the luxury lover. Rising like a candy-coloured gingerbread house on a narrow cobblestone street once traversed by thousands of merchants since the 11th century, Hotel Schlössle’s medieval walls not only painstakingly preserve all the valuable old structural details but also expose them in their original splendour: classic limestone architecture lends itself to portals of cut stone, small spiral staircases, and living chambers with irregular corners and wall niches as untouched as they were since medieval times. The ambience of Hotel Schlössle is warm, cozy, and welcoming - as if we were weary merchants invited into the safe and comfortable bosom of hospitality after many hard days of travelling and trading.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The entrance to Hotel Schlössle looks like it a scene from a Disney movie with its charming pastel colours and iconic shapes. It's certainly true to the style of medieval Old Town. Even so, the hotel stands out and is easily found at Pühavaimu 13.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The hotel reception with its exposed stoned arches bathed in rosy light created a very warm and welcoming first impression, a feeling complimented by the charming and impeccably helpful staff who greeted me by name and had us settled in no time at all. In respect of the integrity of historical preservation, most buildings in Old Town have no lifts (a local cheerfully told us "lifts don't exist in Old Town!") and Hotel Schlössle is no different. An at least twice-daily traipse up two (three?) flights of stairs to our room quickly became effortless, no doubt aided by the charming details in the stairwell and corridor, such as coats of arms or even something as easily overlooked like the intricate carvings on doorknobs. It's the attention to little details like these that really made me appreciate how true the hotel is to the medieval spirit of Tallinn.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Mine and Henry's romantic Deluxe Room which combined traditional furnishings with modern comfort and had the casual medieval detail: spot the old-fashioned door behind the armchair - I wonder if it once led to a secret passageway?

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Bedtime treats: a tome of Estonian Fairytales, lovingly placed on my bedside table should I wish to dive into the magic and mysticism of Estonian folklore.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Right: a welcome pack from Visit Tallinn. Left: Each room comes with an iPad which we made the most of (with the hotel's free wifi - score!) to browse recommendations on things to see and do in Tallinn, read up on the hotel's history, and most usefully keep track of our hotel bill - such a useful and ingeniously simple feature! Then again, Estonia is Europe's most web-savvy nation: did you know Skype was developed by Estonians, that the government declared internet to be a human right hence free wifi almost everywhere, and that anyone can be an Estonian e-citizen? Incredible.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Digressing from my rave admiration of Estonia's savviness - Hotel Schlössle is equally equipped for comfort and convenience, with ample rooms boasting satellite TV (that we never watched - Henry and I were too busy enjoying the hotel's facilities such as the sauna room and cigar lounge), air-conditioning (a feature not every hotel in Old Town has, which we read could make for unbearably hot summer stays), free use of the sauna in the morning, a bathroom stocked with Gilchrist & Soames beauty products - in other words, all the amenities you come to expect from a grand hotel and more. Truly commendable especially for a boutique hotel that preserves the historical features of its medieval surroundings.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The hotel restaurant, M.C Grill (short for Marbella Club Grill) brings a sophisticated and modern twist to its charmingly rustic interiors. It was quite a juxtaposition to see the cosmopolitan, international clientele pull up in glamourous cars to the hotel restaurant, dining on a contemporary European menu and drinking champagne beneath wooden beams and exposed brick walls, a roaring fireplace, and old-fashioned tapestries...

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

...of special note is my favourite painting of this gentleman I affectionately dubbed 'Mr Toad'. None of the waiters I asked could explain to me why this gentleman's skin is green, although my favourite theory is that he is a reptilian overlord.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The food was so good, I had to have it twice - the first time, Henry and I were served in the bar downstairs where the smoking lounge is. Many hotel restaurants serve boring 'common denominator' fare, almost as though culinary offerings are a mere afterthought. Happily, the menu at M.C Grill is well thought out, beautifully presented, and as delicious as any luxurious restaurant. Personal highlights were the amuse bouche of scallop, the gorgeous purée and butter that accompanied homemade bread, and the spicy tuna tartar (delicious with lime, avocado, and sesame oil). 

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The chef's opening gift - an amuse bouche of scallop.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Delicious, homemade leek bread and nut bread - served perfectly warmed and with the most fluffy purée and butter. This was so incredibly moreish that Henry and I ordered at least two servings.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Fried goats cheese with strawberries - a winning combination of sweet, tart, and savoury.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

I loved my spicy tuna tartar, beautiful presented with a ring of sliced cucumber (and I don't even like the taste of cucumber!) and topped with avocado, perfectly marinated with sesame oil and lime.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The spicy fried camembert parcels were a modest, unassuming looking dish that's satisfyingly hearty, with the spicy cream dip providing a nice kick of flavour.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Henry's truffle and mushroom risotto - a creamy, hearty, and utterly satisfying dish that proved that being vegetarian is no gastronomical handicap at M.C Grill.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The absolute star dish of the evening - my tuna tataki. Look at how it was smiling at me! The warm rice was an interesting touch even though I don't usually eat rice (I'm Asian. The irony is palpable). The 3D carrot butterflies, which I failed to do justice in my photo, was a source of amusement for Henry. Funnily enough, my favourite part of this dish were the prawns - absolutely perfect! The tuna tataki was nice and well up to my standard (and I have high standards - I've eaten in some of the best Japanese restaurants in London) but paled to prawns which were transcendent. By the time pudding arrived (chocolate mousse) Henry and I were groaning and painfully stuffed (but happily so) so we decamped downstairs to the wonderfully cozy bar.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Here in the basement bar of Hotel Schlössle, modern furnishings compliment the hotel's medieval architecture to create a space that is as glamourous at is is homey. But a true luxury for avid smokers like Henry and I (especially we both live in London, a city where smoking laws are practically draconian) is the cigar lounge, where we could puff away to our heart's content - whether on cigarettes or cigars from the menu - accompanied by a warming glass of scotch.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

The cigar lounge is open all night. Even in the earliest hours of dawn when the place is understandably unstaffed, the bar and cigar lounge is accessible to anyone who wishes to pad downstairs in slippers (as I did at three a.m...I was desperate for a cheeky cigarette). With rows of expensive wine and bottles of fine liquor left unattended and protected by 'trust policy' enforced by the honesty of guests, the bar and cigar lounge made us feel welcome no matter what antisocial hours we kept. Gestures like these is what make Hotel Schlössle truly feel like a 'home away from home' - although a home where friendly and attentive staff wait on you, are always happy to accommodate your requests with a genuine smile, and are always up for a chat.

Medieval 5-star luxury: Hotel Schlössle, Tallinn, Estonia

What can I say about my stay at Hotel Schlössle that I haven't already enthusiastically expressed? Centrally located in the heart of the Old Town and perfectly placed to enjoy the sights of Tallinn. A building of dignified history, proudly preserved for guests to experience the medieval town as it once were, without compromising on comfort and luxury. Amenities to rival that of any modern hotel, and service so outstanding that you'd never want to leave (in fact, if Henry and I hadn't had to go back to work immediately we would have very well extended our stay). Hotel Schlössle is living proof that  five-star service and medieval surroundings make a fine marriage, and that you don't have to give up luxury for authenticity! 

Rates start at €195 a night, but book here and use the code "ThankYou"  for a nice little discount for friends of Posh, Broke, & Bored! x 


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*This post is a collaboration with Hotel Schlössle Tallinn and Visit Tallinn. Photos 2 and 32: source

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