Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

2017 Worldcon Room Booking

The initial hotel announcement from Worldcon 75 in Helsinki went out yesterday, and as is usual with such things, has triggered Outrage and Horror, particularly from people who are unaware that most European cities do not build convention centers with mega hotels with thousands of rooms adjacent to them. We're facing next year roughly the same thing as we had at the Worldcons in London and Glasgow (and other European sites before that): a bunch of hotels, spread out all over the place, and some or even most of them requiring a ride on transit. One good thing about Helsinki is that apparently Worldcon members will get transit passes; however, the details of where you get them and for how long they are good haven't come out yet. For instance, we don't seem to know whether you'll have to pay a transit fare to go to a place where you collect the credentials that include the transit pass, or whether it's good for any of the "shoulder" days before and after the convention. I assume that these details will be forthcoming.

Most galling to most people is that all of the rooms in the only hotel that's connected to the convention center have been held back by the convention for people with access/disability issues. The Holiday Inn at the conference center is apparently not that large. Even this far out, and even for someone like me with a Spire membership in their program (that's the highest level there is), can get no rooms there during the core of the convention. (I looked outside of the hotel block; no room at the Inn.)

Another complaint is that the rooms are more expensive than what was originally promised. Well, yes; as the committee have said, these are only the initial rooms for which they have blocks reserved. They're negotiating for more. And don't make the mistake of assuming that the hotels listed there are the only hotels in all of Helsinki; far from it. For example, I'm seeing availability at the Holiday Inn City Center (adjacent to the main train station) as low as €116/night (includes tax, but not breakfast; some discounted rates are advance purchase/non-refundable). That puts you two stops (about 5 minutes on the train) from the Convention Center with very frequent train service (Sometimes the headways appears to be less than what I've had to endure for an elevator at some conventions.) It's not ideal (and I certainly hope that the convention arranges for a check room so people can store stuff they'd normally haul back to their hotel rooms on site), but it's not the apocalypse that some people seem to be making it out to be.

Me? I've booked the run-of-con at the Holiday Inn City Center (at a somewhat higher and refundable rate that includes breakfast) and will move to something better if possible.

Cheryl Morgan has written today about her previous site visit to Helsinki, which I hope some of you will find helpful. Just don't expect things to be like a standard American Big City.
Tags: helsinki, hotels, worldcon
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