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 © Copyright  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber All rights reserved.

The Three Sisters Hotel in Tallinn
History, review, photos
Article added on January 31, 2007

The design of The Three Sisters
  
The Estonian capital is blessed with a series of excellent places of accommodation, The Three Sisters being the best. I am not the only one to realize this: a few days after me, Queen Elizabeth stayed one night at the hotel. For security reasons, the English monarch rented the entire Three Sisters for two nights. She slept in the Piano Suite, an excellent choice.

In Tallinn, with its skyrocketing salaries, it is difficult to find adequately trained personnel. Not so in The Three Sisters, were competent and friendly staff welcomes hotel guests to 23 spacious deluxe rooms and suites, all in different shapes and sizes.

Opened in 2003, The Three Sisters Hotel is a winning combination of contemporary elements fusing new energy into three 14th century houses. In 2000, architect Martinus Schuurman, a Dutchman living in Helsinki, and interior designer Külli Salum, an aspiring young woman from Tallinn completing her masters degree in Eindhoven, were working together on a private house project. They became interested in each other's styles, ideas and approaches. The encounter led to project of The Three Sisters Hotel.

Martinus Schuurman was responsible for the overall creative project. Incidentally, the first inhabitants of the three houses were Dutch like him. Schuurman stressed that without a background in this architectural tradition, it would have been almost impossible to have undertaken the renovation. His main task was to create a single hotel from three separate 14th century buildings with their varying floors and levels. The buildings lacked an entrance hall or central lobby, which put a conventional hotel layout out of the question. Influenced by the Widder Hotel in Zurich, Martinus Schuurman's answer was to use the irregularity of the houses' different levels to direct the architecture. The result is a conglomeration of walkways, galleries, staircases and rooms fluidly and almost organically melded together.

As most of the houses in Tallinn's Medieval old town, The Three Sisters are classified buildings. Tallinn city authorities impose legal restrictions to renovations in order to preserve the original state of noted historical sites. The use of materials such as chrome, plastics and glass, was limited and new main staircases and doors had to be finished in wood.

The owner of The Three Sisters, a local businessman, commissioned a team of carpenters to build the hotel's staircases, window shutters and doors by hand, replicating designs and methods from Medieval old Tallinn, but adding a clean, contemporary edge.

Increasing the amount of daylight in the hotel was a challenge since a local law provides that new skylight windows may only be installed if they are not visible from the tower of St. Olaf's cathedral which, incidentally, is the building next to The Three Sisters.

With Martinus Schuurman having created an organic whole out of the three houses, interior designer Külli Salum's task was to maintain the distinctive characters of the three buildings. She used furnishings, color schemes, layouts and light to give these houses the attributes of three young women. According to the designer, the "smaller sister", holding five rooms, is the bohemian of the family. Her eclectic tastes and love of art are reflected in photography and a contrast of old and new. The "middle sister", holding seven rooms, is the most chic, displaying her classic appreciation for beauty with displays of antique furnishings, collected from all corners of Estonia. The "big sister", holding eight smaller rooms, mirror a livelier, more mobile lifestyle of parties, friends and visitors. These rooms are the most contemporary in their furnishings with pieces from Casamilano and designs by Le Corbusier.

The corridors are constructed with oiled natural oak planks, and partly with original limestone. The wool/jute carpets have been imported from the Netherlands. Guestrooms feature oiled oak parquet flooring and oiled merbau parquet; a tropical dark wood with a rich, deep chocolate tone that intensifies with age. The sales office has an original 15the century limestone floor.

The walls are of plaster and natural, water-based paints. All doors, staircases and window frames are handmade to original designs. All doors are painted with natural linen oil-based paints.

Original elements, such as a wooden crane once used to hoist stores into the house and intricate ceiling frescos, discovered by accident under 14 layers of paint and wallpaper, have been painstakingly restored.

Most of the classical furniture has been imported from Italy. Some of the contemporary furnishings also come from Italy, including chairs from Vibieffe, sofas from Pianca and other pieces from the Casamilano collections.

The cowhide loungers are from an original design by Le Corbusier, although counters, the large mirrors and tall, red wardrobes found in many guestrooms are all designed by Külli Salum, and were custom-made in Estonia. The rococo chairs in the Angels' Room were sourced from local antique shops, as were the chandeliers in the breakfast room and lobby.

The bathtubs in the boutique hotel are from Jacob Delafon (France), the chrome tabs and fittings from Godio (Italy). All bathrooms have Brazilian slate floors, and white Carrara marble wall panels.

In the courtyard garden, chilled drinks and a selection of meals are served in the warm summer days (from May 1st onwards). I stayed at The Three Sisters in October and did not have the chance to enjoy it.

The Angels Room offers conference facilities for up to 12 people. The round table setting is ideal for smaller meetings and private dinners. The Library Room offers conference facilities for up to 60 people in theatre style. The Wine Cellar offers wine tastings.

The history of The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters is situated in Pikk Street, Tallinn's main street in the Middle Ages, which was already paved in the fifteenth century. In Pikk Street, spices, meats and grain were sold, craftsmen discussed the latest prices, and the clatter of horses' hooves could be heard. Number 71 Pikk Street has witnessed plagues and fires, economic downturns, wars and civil disturbances.

Most of the houses in Tallinn's Old Town are several centuries old. The first record of the house at 71 Pikk Street can be found in 1362. All its owners dated back to that time can be identified. The grandest among them became guild elders, town councillors and even burgomasters. Some were important traders visiting foreign lands from the nearby Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, from the states of Central Europe to the northwestern regions of Russia.

One of the most noteworthy neighbors of The Three Sisters is St Olaf's Church next door, which, from 1519 to 1625, was the tallest structure in Tallinn.

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Deluxe room 8. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


I stayed in room 27, a spacious Junior Suite, which, in fact, could be called a suite. On the opposite wall was a large flat-screen television. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


The bedroom in the Junior Suite 27. On the opposite wall were the freestanding bathtub and the sink. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


A free standing bathtub as the one in room 27.
Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


The Medieval staircase, a hidden emergency exit to which Junior Suite 27 has access.
Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


Room 117 Junior Suite. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


Junior Suite 118. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


Another view of Junior Suite 118. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.
 




The façade. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


The Piano Suite, where Queen Elizabeth stayed in 2006.
Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


Another view of the Piano Suite. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


The bedroom in the Piano Suite. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


The bathroom in the Piano Suite. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


The Three Sisters Restaurant, where breakfast is served.
Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


3SRestaurant, which I have not tested yet. It offers refined, but not (yet) gourmet cuisine. Shortly after my visit, a foreign chef was hired to refine the skills of the local kitchen brigade. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


The Lobby. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


A view of Junior Suite 37. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


Another view of Junior Suite 37. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.


A baroque door. Photo © The Three Sisters Hotel, Tallinn, Estonia.

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Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages
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 © Copyright  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber All rights reserved.