With its muted palette, understated elegance, and a distinct fondness for materials that bear the test of time, the new Runo Hotel Porvoo offers a relaxed and elegant boutique to explore this idyllic part of southern Finland, just an hour’s drive from Helsinki.
Envisioned by co-founder Erkka Hirvonen and brought to life with the help of Finnish interior designer Joanna Laajisto, Runo is the perfect example of how historic spaces—the Jugend-style building was constructed in 1912—can be transformed without losing their soul. Many of the original elements have been retained—such as the reliefs on the façade that depict mythical figures from the national epic Kalevala, regal staircases, and early-20th-century fireplaces—and blended with contemporary Nordic and rustic furniture.
The ground floor, a big open modern space that houses the lobby, a restaurant, and lounge, features a mix of Shaker-style furniture and Scandinavian classics including Hans J. Wegner’s iconic J16 rocking chairs and Space Copenhagen’s Spine lounge chairs, interspersed with paintings and sculptures from young Finnish artists such as Linda Linko, Riku Riippa, Iisa Maaranen, and Inka Bell.
The theme of renewal is seen throughout the property, from the carefully renovated structure to the repurposed traditional Karelian textiles and the locally handcrafted pieces of furniture, some of which were made from 300-year-old pine floorboards sourced from Hirvonen’s family estate in the nearby countryside. Hirvonen’s mother and father also sifted through hundreds of old hay sticks and cleaned up salvageable pieces so that craftspeople could transform them into towel ladders in the bathrooms.
The pride of place the Hirvonen family feel for Runo also extends to the city, Porvoo—known for its medieval Old Town, charming wooden houses, and an exciting culinary scene that draws foodies from the capital and beyond. “From the start, the owners had a clear vision of what kind of a hotel they wanted to develop,” says Laajisto of the project. “They had realized the value of the old building, interior design, and high quality. In Finland, hotel projects are rarely implemented with such devotion and detailed design.”