At Runo Hotel Porvoo, set in an idyllic coastal town an hour outside of Helsinki, sustainability is about preserving history and heritage. The hotel revives an elegant Jugend-style building that was originally constructed in 1912. When renovating the historical structure, the team followed the strict regulations from local authorities. Even so, they employed natural and recycled materials whenever possible during construction. All 1,500 windows and window frames were restored, recovered wood was used to make custom furnishings, and old textiles were repurposed by Finnish interior designer Joanna Laajisto for décor. The parents of co-founder Erkka Hirvonen sifted through old hay sticks from their family estate to salvage pieces that craftspeople transformed into towel ladders. Honoring the story of the place is also key to the concept at Runo. The hotel has created its own 150-page book, written and printed locally in Finland, that highlights the history of Porvoo. Going forward, Runo plans to offer extensive cultural programming, including a biannual exhibition of local art.
The hotel renovated its historical building according to strict heritage preservation regulations from local authorities and used recycled and reclaimed materials throughout.
In addition to using recycled materials in construction, the hotel has a recycling center for all waste, uses recycled paper, and does not serve bottled water.
Runo uses LED lighting and energy-efficient appliances and conserves energy by reheating the building with existing heat.
The hotel uses pressure-restricting filters for all water taps. Only tap water is served, rather than bottled water, and all rooms come with a sparkling water maker.
Eggs, fish, meat, flour, herbs, and beer are sourced locally.
Runo plans to offer extensive cultural programming, including a biannual exhibition of local art.
Runo partners with local yoga studios to offer classes in the attic lounge. The hotel is next to a beautiful river, sea, and archipelago where partners offer eco-friendly nature-focused activities.
Porvoo is famous for cycling due to its beautiful and versatile nature. The hotel offers bicycle rentals, a bicycle garage, and maintenance. The hotel is working with a professional cyclist to create custom bicycle routes.
We spoke with Erkka Hirvonen, one of the Originals behind Runo Hotel Porvoo, to learn the latest on the hotel’s conscious journey.
Our sustainability philosophy focuses on the preservation and respect of history and heritage. We create a new future for the past in a modern setting.
One of the five elements of the Runo Hotel Porvoo concept is “story.” Our story evolved from two local connections: The first is the cultural center of Porvoo, the Porvoo Old Town, where the hotel is located. The second is Mr. Runeberg, the most famous poet in Finland who lived on the plot of the hotel in Porvoo. “Runo” means “poem” in Finnish. These two storylines have cemented the connection of the hotel to the local community and cultural surroundings.
The biggest sustainability hurdle for hotels is to understand that there are many ways to approach sustainability. We think about sustainability from a preservation perspective.