History of Hotel Helmi and its surroundings

At 1760’s, one certain burgomaster Ture Hagert got himself built a villa – Tureborg – to the eastern side of Puolala park, and soon the whole area was called Tuurepori. The name has stayed alive until these days in the street name Tuurenporinkatu which runs behind Hotel Helmi.

The building is designed by architects Jung & Jung, and it was completed in 1934. Originally it was designed to be Shell’s regional office and gas station.

At the surroundings there are also other functional buildings: Turku bus station which was completed in 1938 and designed by city architect Harald Smedberg, and former Esso gas station/regional office, current Hesburger, designed by Georg Jägerroos in 1938.

The whole area is protected in the regional plan as a nationally significant built cultural environment, and even after 70 years, it is still one of the most upstanding and cohesive areas in Turku.

Shell moved out in the 1960's

In the 1960’s, Shell moved to the other side of Aninkaistenkatu to its current place. The old gas station’s building was renovated to fulfil the needs of Turku police department – to police custody cells, to be exact.

To the so-called old part of the building (the rounded part facing Aninkaistenkatu) moved the legendary Helmibaari (Pearl Bar), and the police guard station moved to the so-called new part, which had also one new floor built to the top.

Over the years, the “new part” worked also as a guesthouse run by city of Turku. This building definitely has its history with accommodation, and few of our guests have shared with us their memories about the previous nights in here!

Hotel’s name Helmi (pearl) originates naturally from Shell and it’s pearl, and honours in its own way the history of this remarkable building.

The first hotel guests stayed in Hotel Helmi in May 2008, after the long and thoroughgoing renovation. The “new part” had a third floor built upon its shoulders, and after the demolition works were done, over 200 tons of concrete and iron were carried out. The building had barely anything more than its walls standing, because the building services (air conditioning, heating etc) needed to be installed, and the walls needed to be soundproofed.