Nearly everything has changed in Estonia over the past two decades.
Long a relatively minor satellite in the Soviet sphere of influence, the Baltic destination has remodelled itself into a free-market democracy since 1991, joining the European Union, then NATO and most recently adopting the euro.
A period of stability, only briefly interrupted by the European sovereign debt crisis, from which it was quick to recover after a deep recession, has allowed the country of 1.4 million inhabitants to develop a specialist technology sector, the rival of anywhere in Europe.
Skype, which was purchased by Microsoft for £5 billion in 2011, is by far the most established tech company, but is joined by Playtech and Nortal, both of which are realising their international ambitions.
A free Wi-Fi network across the country, as well as a liberal business environment offer a helping hand to a wealth of start-ups, powering the next generation of innovators.
Coupled to this Estonia, and particularly its quaint capital Tallinn, has a thriving tourism sector, with the city recognised as European Capital of Culture in 2011.
The beautiful UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town, with its cobblestone streets, chic cafes and underground bars is the main attraction, drawing a refined clientele from Scandinavia, the antithesis of rowdy, stag-party driven Riga, capital of next door Latvia.
Here twisting cobblestone lanes and iron street lamps meet Gothic spires and medieval markets, creating that mix of historic ambience and cutting edge culture so sought after by European visitors.
Close by, the international Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport offers connections to Moscow in the east, as well as all the key points in western Europe.
A modern cruise terminal makes the destination easy to access from across the region, with Tallinn considered a must see for many northern European cruise passengers.
Fred.Olsen and Royal Caribbean Cruises are among the larger operators visiting the port in 2013/14.
Capitalising on this burgeoning scene is Swissôtel Tallinn, a newly-built luxury property seen as a modern rival to the established Hotel Schlössle and Hotel Telegraaf, both of which are located in the Old Town.
Situated in the business district of Tallinn, just minutes away from the sea and airports, the property draws its clientele largely from Scandinavia, and emanates the sophisticated air familiar to all international travellers.
As Marko Dobrus, director of sales and marketing, Swissôtel Tallinn, explains: “We have benefited from our position. In Finland, Sweden and the land of opportunity called Russia we have seen economic strength, and that has benefited us here.
“We have looked to the leisure markets in these destinations as business travel has suffered over the past years, and this has paid dividend for us.”
Year long visas offered to the Schengen area by Estonia, particularly to Russian tourists, have been well received, making it easier to visit from one of the country’s key markets.
Swissôtel Tallinn’s 238 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites feature state-of-the-art technology, sumptuous amenities and services catering to the needs of the discerning visitor - much as can be expected of a property of this quality anywhere in the world.
The €2,000 a night Presidential Suite is reputedly the most expensive in the city – having welcomed such diverse luminaries as pop-star Robbie Williams and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the recent past.
But what really sets the property apart from its rivals are the views from the rooms; either over the Old Town or the Gulf of Finland. With the majority of the rooms situated on the upper floors, which was only opened in 2007, guests can see for miles out to sea, drinking in the clear skies, azure seas and majestic architecture of Tallinn.
Downstairs the Pürovel Spa & Sport draws on the hotel’s Swiss roots to use nature’s resources - such as stone, wood, water, flora, pure invigorating alpine air and the changing seasons – to offer a range of treatments.
Two spa treatment rooms offer everything from a Pürovel Alpine Spring Massage or Mountain Stone Massage to aromatherapy and purifying facials with lemon and cornflower extracts, to a Sweethearts Massage.
Also included are state-of-the-art fitness facilities, private fitness training, daily group exercise classes, an indoor pool, steam bath and sauna.
There is also a chance to embark on a voyage of dining and entertainment pleasure at Swissôtel Tallinn’s three restaurants and two bars.
Indulge in the finer things in life at Horisont Restaurant & Bar, Tallinn’s most exciting dining venue that offers unrivalled views, or enjoy authentic Swiss delights, and international and local specialties at Café Swiss. Innovative cakes and sandwiches are available No3 Deli-Lounge-Bar.
Meanwhile, cigar aficionados can enjoy some of the most prestigious brands of cigars in the exclusive atmosphere of the Cigar Lounge.
In the MICE sector, the hotel comfortably accommodates 200 guests for a conference, while the ballroom, the largest in Estonia, can fit 500 in a theatre style setting. Smaller breakout rooms, offer additional capacity.
Plans, recently outlined by the national government, to develop a conference centre in Tallinn, are also likely to benefit the property in the mid-term, but it remains to be seen what scale of growth a city of just 400,000 people is able to achieve.
With such strong accommodation options on offer there is plenty more to come from this fast emerging Baltic destination.
Situated conveniently in the heart of the city’s business district, Swissôtel Tallinn is considered Estonia’s Leading Hotel by the prestigious World Travel Awards, having taken the title for the past three years.
For more information on visiting the property head over to the official website.