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On June 20, 2024, Kivisaari, a picturesque island in East Helsinki’s archipelago, will open to the public, offering a new retreat complete with a restaurant and various accommodation options. Previously a private villa and a retreat center for the Helsinki Parish Union, Kivisaari has been transformed into a public destination managed by FRS Finland Oy, known for its water bus services and tourism ventures.

Tomi Ståhlberg, CEO of FRS Finland Oy, expressed enthusiasm about the new venture. “When the opportunity to open such a unique and beautiful location arose, we seized it without hesitation. Kivisaari has all the elements of an intriguing tourist destination: stunning nature, rich history, accommodation facilities, restaurant services, and impressive architecture. There’s nothing quite like it in Helsinki’s archipelago.”

Kivisaari’s main villa, Merilinna, was built in 1918 by K.E. “Kalle” Kontro and designed by the renowned architect Eliel Saarinen, showcasing pure Art Nouveau style. In addition to Merilinna, the island features other accommodation buildings, a sauna, two piers, a barbecue area, and a sports field. The nearby Karhusaari, once home to bear cubs and connected by a walking bridge, will also be accessible to the public.

The well-known Theron Group, which operates several lunch restaurants and island destinations in Helsinki, will manage Kivisaari’s dining services. CEO Tero Blom is thrilled about the new venture. “It’s rare to come across such an exquisite location. It’s an honor to help open Merilinna to the public. We welcome both regular route passengers and those planning private events. This is a fantastic venue for special occasions and corporate events.”

Restaurant Kivisaari, also opening on June 20, will offer daily lunches, an archipelago buffet, and a la carte dishes in line with the island’s spirit. Overnight guests can enjoy a generous breakfast.

Starting June 20, visitors can reach Kivisaari via the eastern archipelago route from Kalasatama, Laajasalo, or Vuosaari. Additional connections from the Market Square are also being planned. However, there will be no guest marina on the island this summer.

Ståhlberg is confident in Kivisaari’s success. “There are few publicly accessible islands along the old steamship routes, and it’s rare to glimpse such a magnificent architectural ensemble as Eliel Saarinen’s Merilinna. It’s a charm from a bygone era.”

Kivisaari promises to be a captivating addition to Helsinki’s summer offerings, providing residents and tourists alike with a unique blend of nature, history, and modern amenities.

HT

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