History Meets Hospitality: Estonian Manor House Hotels

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Grand Suite at the Kalvi Castle Hotel
Grand Suite at the Kalvi Castle Hotel

In Estonia there are hundreds of outstanding well-preserved historical mansions, some with a history dating back to the 14th century. Estonians are proud of their historical heritage and manor houses definitely are an attractive and popular part of countryside sightseeing.   These architectural pearls in the Estonian landscape have survived over time and carry the memories of their adventurous past. Many of them are restored and live on as private estates or museums, some stand “conserved”, awaiting for their better times – and some lay in bleak, although bitter-sweetly romantic ruins.

About 100 years ago there were 1,245 manors in Estonia. During the “Soviet times”, many of the manor houses were looted and the premises were used as schoolhouses, military training centres, state farm offices, warehouses or even tenements. Along with the privatization, many manor houses were restored into their former glory and some of them are open to visitors as hotels. As different as the manors themselves, the hotels are very different as well, ranging from 5-star countryside palaces to modest but charming little inns. Most manor house sites originate from the Medieval Times and have a rich and colourful history. Most current buildings usually date back a few hundred years as the original houses have been rebuilt and replaced with more “modern” ones through the centuries.
Here is a little overview of the Estonian manor house hotel scene. Maybe this helps you to choose your favourite!

Kalvi Castle

Kalvi Castle

Kalvi Castle**** stands on a high cliff on the northern coast. From the windows impressive views open up over the sea and surrounding countryside. It’s harder to imagine a more romantic castle: constructed entirely from granite, with jagged corner towers and scaled frontons. Its appearance is Gothic from the outside, but from the inside is thoroughly modernised, with all possible conveniences. In the Medieval Times was there a fortress here, mentioned as belonging to the family of Lode in 1485. In 1512 Dietrich von Kalff became the owner of the property, from whom the name Kalvi originates. The main house, designed in the 1770s by Gustav von Essen, burned down in 1911 and the owner, Nikolai von Stackelberg had to build a new home. After the Soviet era In 1993 the Stackelberg family got their manor back and it was sold to Danish businessman Henning Lykke Jensen, who started renovating the castle into a hotel. A luxurious hotel was opened in the old building in 2002. Among the 27 elegant rooms there are also three suites. The hotel has a fine a la carte restaurant, which serves food made from produce grown in the manor’s own garden. The cuisine is a mixture of international and local. Exclusive rooms and high-tech equipment are offered for those holding conferences. Visitors can use the gym, solarium, so-called health capsule, Turkish and Finnish saunas, and pool, tennis courts and walk in the woods or go to the nearby beach.
Location: Estonian North coast, near Aseri, between Rakvere and Kohtla-Järve
Rooms: 27
Prices range:
from 150 USD for Standard Single Room, low season
to 460 USD for Royal Suite Deluxe, high season
The building is truly stunning, but the interior does not quite match the impression…
http://www.kalvi-hotel.com

Saka Cliff Hotel & Spa

Saka Cliff Hotel & Spa

Saka Cliff Hotel & Spa*** is located on the high coastal cliff on Estonia’s North coast near Kohtla-Järve. Saka Manor was established in about 1629, when the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf gave the possession as a gift to Jörgen Letzle who as to some data had travelled to the Baltics from Scotland. In the 18th century the manor became the part of the huge possessions of Otto Magnus von Stackelberg who owned the close Püssi, Kohtla, Ereda and Purtse manors and who was one of the major land owners in Estonia. In the II half of the 19th century the family of Löwis of Menar acquired Saka manor and used it as their summer residence. The mansion was completed in 1864, a two-storied stone building in Neo-Renaissance style, with the then modern flat roofs, windows grouped with plaster peripheries and high openings with central tower. For the last 60 years Saka manor has predominantly been in military use and therefore inaccessible to the public. New life arrived to Saka in 2000s when the state sold the manor complex to private ownership. The manor buildings sit in outstanding landscape, right in the edge of the 50-metre high cliff steep. The idyllic spa-hotel and restaurant was opened in 2004 in one of the buildings, the landscaping has been updated and the grand staircase takes you from the cliff down to the seashore. The more than 20-metres high Saka waterfall falling down the bank in the edge of the park is an amazing sight.
Location: Estonian North coast, near Kohtla-Järve
Rooms: 33
Prices range:
from 85 USD for Standard Single room
to 165 USD for Family Room
http://saka.ee/

Vihula Manor

Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa

Vihula Manor ***+ is one of the most picturesque mansions in the Northern Estonia. The manor of Vihula was first mentioned in 1501 as the ownership of Hans Lode. In 1605-1810 the possession belonged to Helffreich family and in 1810-1919 to the Schubert family. The latter could manage the remainder manor also in 1930s up to the year 1939 when they moved back to Germany. The original wooden manor house burned down in the 19th century, the current main stone house was built, being most probably the work of architect Friedrich Modi. Different outbuildings are scattered along the coasts of picturesque Mustoja river. The distillery, the cattle yard, smithy etc are located on the island of the river. The restoring of the manor complex that was started twenty years ago, progresses gradually. Some of the historical equipment can be reviewed in the old watermill and in the working smithy. In 2007-2010 the manor complex is continuing to undergo a complete and total restoration in order to preserve the historical heritage and protect the nature as much as possible and at the same time to give a modern functionality to the buildings and the area. The hotel was opened as the Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa by Uniquestay Hotels in June 2008, offering 2 single standard rooms, 21 ZEN rooms and 5 ZEN suites. All ZEN rooms include whirlpool-baths, bathrobes, slippers, extra bathroom amenities, mini-bars and hairdryers. The rooms are renovated by maintaining all historical details. The estate also features the Ice cellar Tavern and Terrace, Oil Granary Seminar Room, Palm House Conference and Banquet Room, the Tea House, sauna and bike rental. Besides cycling and rowing on Paisjärv, one can just walk around the picturesque surroundings.
Location: Estonian North coast, between Võsu and Haljala
Rooms: 28
Prices range:
from 110 USD per ZEN Double Room, low season
to 195 USD for ZEN Suite, high season
http://www.vihulamanor.com

Park Hotel Palmse

Park Hotel Palmse

Palmse Park Hotel **+ is located on the grounds of Palmse, Estonia’s probably best known manor house. The Lahemaa National Park foundation began fixing up Palmse in 1972 and by the end of the 1980s, the entire complex was renovated: the main building, sheds and barns, the owner’s house and coach house, glasshouse and other buildings. The big wooded park with pavements and pavilions was cleaned up. It was the first manor complex which gave a full overview of a typical Estonian manor throughout the centuries. And most importantly: Palmse started the boom of manor house renovation. From the 13th century until 1510 Palmse belonged to the Tallinn Mihkli Convent. In 1676 it went to the Pahlen family for 250 years, until they were dispossessed. The mansion is one of the few preserved from the days of the Swedish rule, dating back to 1679. The present form of the building stems from rebuilding in 1782 to 1785. Before 1850, the granary, distillery with a high chimney, horse barn, carriage house and shelter were built. Next to the pond a pillared rotunda and bathing house were constructed (which at the moment is a café). The Pahlen family was highly respected by the nobility and farmers alike. Carl Magnus von der Pahlen was a militarist and took part in the wars against Napoleon. Between 1830 and 1845 he was the Governor General of Estonia, Liivimaa and Kuramaa. Today, Palmse is one of the manors which receives the highest number of visitors. There is a museum in the mansion and the Lahemaa National Park’s visitors centre is located in the barn. One of the largest of the group of buildings in the manor complex is the former distillery which has been rebuilt into a hotel, opened in 1995 and was renovated in 2002. The hotel has 28 rooms including 24 standard rooms, 3 superior rooms and 1 junior suite. All rooms have sat-TV, Internet access and private bathroom/WC. The hotel has restaurant, bar, sauna and 2 conference rooms for 15-45 persons.
Location: Estonian North coast, near Võsu
Rooms: 28
Prices range:
from 65 USD for Standard Single, low season
to 130 USD for Junior Suite, high season
Budget accommodation in noble surroundings. It is said that the water quality at the hotel is somewhat problematic.
http://www.phpalmse.ee

Hotel Sagadi Manor

Hotel Sagadi Manor

Sagadi Manor*** is located on the boundary of Lahemaa National Park. What makes Sagadi manorial estate unique is the integrity of the complex – numerous buildings with gleaming red tiled roofs together with the estate gardens and ponds are arranged with baroque symmetry in the carefully manicured park. The history of the estate dates back more than 500 years. In 1687 the manor went into the hands of Gideon von Fock and with small breaks belonged to the family of Fock up to the year 1919. In 1749-1753 the one-storied mansion house with the rococo facade was completed. In about 1793 it was re-designed as early classicistic. The outbuildings in the front were built at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries.
The onetime wealth of the Sagadi lords of the manor was partly founded on the forest. The estate was renovated by the forestry organisation in the 1970s, and even now, the State Forest Management Centre (RMK) – manages the Sagadi manorial estate. The manor park with pond was cleaned and the dendropark with 100 species was additionally established. The main building is a museum but can also be rented for events. Sagadi Forest museum introduces its guests to the nature of forests and forestry and forest management throughout history.
Sagadi has a newly renovated hotel, located in one of the outbuildings dating back to 1749. It was opened in 1998 and expanded in 2006. The hotel has 29 rooms: 2 standard singles, 2 standard doubles, 14 standard twins, 10 superior twins and 1 superior double. All rooms are equipped with sat-TV, telephone, Internet access and private facilities with shower or bathtub. The hotel has an a la carte restaurant seating up to 80 guests, bar, sauna and 4 conference rooms for 24-100 persons.
The manorial estate has also a 35-bed hostel on the grounds for the guests opting for more modest accommodation. The hostel is located next to the mansion, in the historic Steward’s House. The thick walled 18th century building has been developed into a comfortable venue for modest accommodation as well as for relaxed social events in the spacious hall with fire place and seating for up to 40 people – and the wood fire heated traditional Finnish sauna. The six bedrooms of the hostel have a total of 35 beds.
Location: Estonian North coast, near Võsu
Rooms: 28
Hotel prices range: 
from 85 USD for Standard Single, low season
to 150 USD for Deluxe Room, high season
http://www.sagadi.ee

Pädaste Manor

Pädaste Manor

Pädaste Manor***** is one of the true hidden jewels of the Estonian hotel scene. The origins of the manor go back to the 14th century, some of these ancient walls are still visible at the very heart of the house. It has been the property of the von Knorrings, the von Aderkas’es and the von Buxhoevdens. The earliest written history of Pädaste Manor dates back to 1566. On the 25th of June of that year Fredrik II, King of Denmark handed the manor over to the von Knorr family in recognition of services rendered to the Danish Crown. In the late 19th century Baron Axel von Buxhoeveden had, as the Imperial Hunting Master an influential position at the court of Czar Nicholas II. Together with his wife Charlotte, heiress to the Siemens company, he brought a touch of worldly splendour to the sleepy Muhu Island. Von Buxhoeveden renovated his manors in Kuivastu and Pädaste. The Pädaste house was expanded considerably and given a new façade, hence the harmonious dimensions and clean lines which give the house its character today. The buildings that frame the courtyard were erected between 1870 and 1890, a period in which the German-Baltic nobles enjoyed great wealth.
The summers at Pädaste became cultural delights as Charlotte brought artists and musicians with her when she moved with her entourage from St. Petersburg to Muhu for the summer. Alexander took a special interest in landscaping, one might call him an arborist; whenever he traveled abroad he would bring back rare species, they until today make up the beautiful variety at the park of Pädaste Manor. In the winter of 1919 Axel von Buxhoeveden was brutally assassinated by revolutionaries while on his way from Pädaste Manor to the mainland. Charlotte von Siemens fled to Brandenburg the next day. Seven hundred years of family presence on Muhu that had started with their forefather Albert von Buxhoeveden’s conquest of the Island in 1227 came to an abrupt end.
After years of neglect during the Soviet period in which the use of the manor alternated between army headquarter, fish distribution center and home for the elderly until its abandonment in the early 80’s, the endeavour was taken up in 1996 to restore Pädaste Manor to new splendour, with the goal to create one of the finest hotels in the Baltic countryside.
Elegant in its simplicity, this 16th century manor has been transformed into a small luxury resort and spa that has every desirable luxury including a delightful view of the sea. There are 14 newly renovated rooms and suites in the Main Building, 9 rooms and suites in the Carriage House and a 140 m2 Private Farm House that can house up to 6 guests. There is a small and intimate spa with a wide range of facilities including a Roman steam bath and a wood-burning sauna to enhance the comprehensive menu of treatments. The manor also has a small state-of-the-art private cinema. Pädaste’s Seahouse restaurant was selected by American Gourmet Magazine as one of top 100 in the world and the Tatler Travel Guide 2005 named Pädaste manor as one of the 10 best boutique hotels worldwide. Pädaste is the only remaining manor complex on Muhu Island and one of the very few in Estonia with a private shoreline.
Location: Muhu Island
Rooms: 24
Prices range:
from 210 USD for Double Room in the Carriage House, low season
to 850 USD for Grand Suite in the Manor House, high season
Truly impressive! Pädaste Manor was awarded the official 5* rating in 2009.
http://www.padaste.ee

Taagepera Castle

Taagepera Castle

Taagepera Castle*** stands on a hill like an ambassador from the dim old times, in the midst of the beautiful Valgamaa landscape. The house could originate from the troll stories – relation with the Nordic countries, especially with the Finnish national romantic architecture is obvious. The Art Nouveau style castle was ordered by Hugo von Stryk and this was completed in the years 1907-1912 according to the plan of the architect Otto Wildau from Riga. The central rooms of the castle – the arched stair hall, hunting hall – are located in the lower floor. The rooms have been planned according to an English hunting castle: huge fireplace, numerous dark wooden panels, leather sofas, showcase cabinets. The unique view to the surrounding landscape and to the outbuildings opens up from the tower. The park is surrounded by the wall of quarry stone which has two stylish arched gates. In 1922, the manor was given in the Ministry of Health Care and the building was used as a sanatorium until 2000, when it was turned into a hotel. Since May 2003 it operates as an exclusive hotel and conference centre, offering 32 spacious rooms for a total of 60 guests. In the wings of the castle two floors have been authentically furnished, the rooms and suites with contemporary comforts. In the first floor the classical restaurant with the excellent kitchen and the conference and banquet halls are located. It is possible to order massages and enjoy the steam of the genuine Finnish sauna.
Location: Valgamaa, near Tõrva
Rooms: 32
Prices range
from 85 USD for Standard Single Room
to 300 USD for the Suite
http://www.taageperaloss.ee

Mäetaguse Manor Hotel "Meintack"

Mäetaguse Manor Hotel "Meintack"

Mõisahotell Meintack** is located in the Mäetaguse Manor, one of the nicest manor ensembles in Ida-Virumaa, consisting of ten buildings, surrounded by a ten hectare park. In the history books Mäetaguse manor was first mentioned in 1542, its founder was Peter von Tiesenhausen. In 1638 the manor went to Fabian von Wrangell through marriage. In the time between 1680 and 1690, Baron Ungern-Sternberg was renting the manor. In 1736 it was sold to Otto Fabian von Rosen in whose family it remained for nearly two centuries. The present main house was built in the time of Eugenius Octave von Rosen in 1796. In 1890 it was renovated and the current lay-out dates back to that point. The restored Classical mansion is very representative of the era and boasts a richly decorated interior. In January 2006 Meintack Manor Hotel opened in the former carriage house. All bedrooms all fairly basic and include a bathroom with shower, TV and landline phone and Wi-Fi internet. It is possible to add extra beds into the larger rooms. The hotel has a restaurant and a bar. There is a conference centre in the main building and a Bath House Spa with an indoor pool offering a discount to hotel guests.
Location: Eastern Virumaa, near Jõhvi
Rooms: 24
Prices range
from 50 USD for Standard Single
to 110 USD for Suite
http://www.moisahotell.ee

Vihterpalu Manor

Vihterpalu Manor

Vihterpalu Manor **** was already mentioned in the Middle Ages as the possession of Lihula and Padise Monastery. In 1622 the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf gave Vihterpalu with the manor of Padise and island of Suur-Pakri as a gift to Thomas von Ramm, the mayor of Riga. The late classicistic main building of the manor of Vihterpalu originates from the 1830s. The family of Ramm possessed the manor up to the year 1919, the last owner was Baroness Sofie Rosen (born von Ramm). Similarly to many other manors, Vihterpalu began to perish during Soviet rule. For a while it functioned as a schoolhouse. A lack of students closed the school in 1960-s and it was then used for pioneer camps and even as a winter home for foresters. The main portion of the original interior was demolished during this period of frequent change of use and rebuilding. The building stood mostly empty and was falling apart even more. With the re-independence of Estonia in the beginning of the nineties, the manor was given back to the von Ramm family. Since the manor was in a bad condition, the von Ramm family gave the property to the Republic of Estonia as a gift. The manor was bought in 1994 by a group of Norwegian businessmen who planned to renovate the manor. They submitted the deposit for the manor and received the ownership of the only original documents relating to it. We will never find out the plans the Norwegians had in mind for the manor as on the 28th of September 1994, they died on the ferry Estonia, a catastrophe which shook the whole of Northern-Europe.
And then the prince arrived, in the shape of Finnish businessman Timo Lemberg. He discovered the  “Sleeping Beauty” of Vihterpalu, fell in love and decided to rescue it. After four years of hard work and 50 million EEK worth of investments, the manor awoke to a beautiful new life as a hotel and conference centre. By today the main building has been perfectly renovated to include 19 hotel rooms, a banquet hall, two conference rooms, library, restaurant, bar and two cigar rooms. The rooms in the main building are all different in decor and furnishings, designed as close to the original as possible and the furniture was made on special order. The new hotel building including 12 rooms, conference facilities and sauna was built on the ruins of the former stable. The manor park has been restored as well. The territory offers several places for spending one’s active vacation like a tennis court, golf range and simulator. The seaside is within walking distance. The manor has its own helicopter landing pad.
Location: Estonian North-West coast, near Padise
Rooms: 31
Prices range:
from 110 USD for Single Room in the Outbuilding
to 320 USD for the Presidential Suite
Very remote but beautiful location, close to some of the most pristine beaches in Estonia!
http://www.vihterpalu.ee

Oti Manor Hotel

Oti Manor Hotel

Oti Manor*** is the oldest on the Saaremaa island. The manor house first mentioned in 1309 was associated with the noble families of von Uexküll and von Aderkas. The original one-storey main building of the 18th century was reconstructed around 1850. The property is surrounded by a stately park. Today the mansion is privately owned and holds an exclusive hotel, which consists of 2 rooms and 3 suites. In the building are also sauna and a conference room.
Location: Saaremaa, near Orissaare
Rooms: 5
Prices range
from 130 USD for Double Room, low season
to 275 USD for the Honeymoon Suite, high season
www.otimanor.ee

We are happy to offer you some car and hotel packages featuring a selection of the Manor House Hotels – or we can taylor-make one especially for you! Please note that most of these hotels offer discounts for travel between October and April!

NORTH ESTONIAN MANOR HOUSES: Summer Package, 6 NTs

Value Package 2*-3*
Lahemaa-2NT, Hotel Palmse Park
North Coast-2NT, Hotell Saka Cliff
Virumaa-2NT, Hotell Meintack
Rental Car: manual Toyota Yaris, Opel Corsa or similar (2pax)
Rental Car: manual Toyota Previa or similar (4pax)
2 pax sharing car: CAD 627 per person
4 pax sharing car: CAD 530 per person

Upscale Package 3*-4*
Lahemaa-2NT, Hotel Vihula Manor
North Coast-2NT, Hotell Kalvi Manor
Harjumaa-2NT, Hotell Vihterpalu Manor
Rental car: automatic Volvo S80 or similar (2pax)
Rental Car: manual Toyota Previa or similar (4pax)
2 pax sharing car: CAD 1046 per person
4 pax sharing car: CAD 841 per person

Packages include: hotel accommodation in TWN or DBL room with breakfast, during HIGH SEASON from May to September;
rental car for 7 days, incl. unlimited mileage, CDW and TP;
Pre- and post nights in Tallinn, Htl Shnelli – 60 CAD per NT
Pre- and post nights in Tallinn, Htl Tallink City or Domina City – 90 CAD per NT

Please note that all prices are subject to availability at the time of booking and can change without prior notice!

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History Meets Hospitality: Estonian Manor House Hotels — 1 Comment