War strategies, elegance and a ghost – a brief history

History

The main building was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, a German architect. It was constructed by a baron and a councillor named Axel Gustav Mellin in 1836–1837.

The beautiful garden surrounding the mansion was later executed based on the drawings of Paul Olsson. Together with his father, Svante, Paul designed many remarkable public gardens in Finland, including the garden of the president’s summer residence in Naantali.

Axel Gustav Mellin’s granddaughter married a man called Gustav Silverhjelm but died soon after their only child was born. Attentive hotel guests today may catch a glimpse of the poor Ingrid Mellin’s honorary ghost!

Gustav Silverhjelm bought the mansion from his 1-year old daughter. Gustav and his second wife Elsa Von Born were great patriots supporting the idea of an independent Finland (back then a part of the Russian Empire). The committee of the War of Independence is known to have gathered in the mansions’ “White room”. A famous Finnish war Marshall and former president, K.G. Mannerheim, even had his own guest room known as the “The Marshall Cabinet” reserved for him during those visits. Pictures of the White room can be found decorating the hallways of Sannäs mansion today.

In the swinging 1920’s, Sannäs mansion was a trendy meeting point of the cultural jet set. Regular guests included artists and prominent figures, such as painters Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Alwar Cavén and opera diva Aino Acté.

Gustav Silverhjelm was forced to sell the mansion in 1927 and from then on it has had several private owners. In the 1970’s the mansion was bought by Lifim corporation to use as a business education center. Aalto University became the owner in 2010 and since then Sannäs has served as a well-respected conference and event hotel.