Review of Merchant’s House Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia

I hate generic hotels. Hate them. Unless they’re very swish indeed, I don’t want to stay somewhere that looks like a car park. I want somewhere with a story, with a bit of history, or something different about it. It’s so important to me, that often the hotel is decided on before the destination.

That was certainly the case with the Merchant’s House Hotel in Tallinn on my recent trip to Estonia. In fact, the hotel was picked even before the country.

I get excited about unique hotels. This Tallinn hotel, in an old merchant’s house (surprisingly) was rather lovely indeed. It’s perfectly positioned on Dunkiri, just off the town square in Old Town. Perfect for exploring. The welcome is warm, the reception is pretty and you’re made to feel at home as soon as you arrive. So homely I want to stay a really really, really long time. Little cubby holes, exposed brickwork, wooden beams, smiling (English speaking) staff. All of those things make for a good mini break.

The Merchant’s House Hotel bedrooms look over a small courtyard, and our room also had a communal balcony, perfect for book reading. Our room wasn’t anything overly special, but it was a good size and the bathroom was lovely. The maids were excellent. They weren’t those annoying ones who ignore the ‘do not disturb’ signs so we had peaceful afternoon naps. And we got to watch old episodes of Poirot on the TV – a lot of the channels were English, or had subtitles.

The service was always really fantastic. Breakfast was included in the price of the room, and it’s a continental and fried buffet. My travelling companion got excited about salmon and scrambled eggs and of course, we ignored all of the fruit in favour of pastries. The breakfast room is underground, and I imagine would be much cosier in winter. It’s a shame there’s no way to serve breakfast in the courtyard during summer. But, as long as I have unlimited bacon, I’ll sit anywhere.

There’s a (tiny) bar, which is worth a look in. They serve shots in ice glasses, which sounds great, but as the rest of the bar is room temperature they melt too quickly and you get Vana Tallinn all over your nice new dress so stick to normal glasses. There’s also a spa, which was a tad too pricey for us. €46 for a pedicure is very expensive, and especially so when you consider what good value Estonia is. We didn’t try the restaurant in the evening, but they have outside seating should you want to.

Anything that wasn’t great about the Merchant’s House Hotel? Wi-fi didn’t work in the room. I didn’t want to spend all weekend on my laptop, but I had lugged it with me ‘just in case’ and there was no need. I know it’s a problem with old buildings, but I don’t think it should be advertised as standard if this isn’t the case. And the rooms were so hot that sleeping wasn’t easy. Even with two fans it was sweltering. I guess old buildings and air-con don’t work together either. And room service was very pricey – our room didn’t have a kettle and we paid nearly 4 quid for a cup of tea. Ouch. Good tea though.

That wouldn’t stop me coming back though.  I reckon it’s one of the best Tallinn hotels. At €250 for three nights, it’s a bargain. I’d recommend the Merchant’s House Hotel. You should go there immediately. Really, stop working and hop on a plane. Merchant’s House is a beautiful, good value base to explore Tallinn and I’d go back tomorrow if I could.

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