Helsinki’s newest hotel is a five-star home away from home. Hotel Lilla Roberts offers an atmosphere worlds away from the property’s previous life as a power plant and a police station. From the warm welcome at reception to the cosy rooms and opulent designer suites, this is somewhere you will look forward to retreating to after a day exploring Finland’s harbourside capital.
Walking through the doors of the beautiful monochrome art deco facade, large black and white tiles lead guests into the main reception area. A page of a luxury interiors magazine appears to come to life. From the life size black horse lamp keeping the staff company at the desk, to the contemporary seating areas, carefully curated with modern designer pieces. The entire space is elegantly styled and very inviting.
Lilla Roberts has 130 rooms, ranging from the comfort option up to the top end luxurious suites (more like a 2-bedroom apartment, at 135 m2). The designer stylings seen in the foyer are carried through into each room. A marriage of art deco, New York and Nordic, design elements deliver sophisticated spaces with a luxe feel, from the leather loungers to the plush velvet sofas, generously sized beds, colourful modern artworks and Finnish fabric accents.
Guest can expect the usual high-end luxuries from coffee making facilities to a large screen TV (at an extra charge for the comfort class rooms), robes, slippers and Neal’s Yard Remedies organic products in the gorgeous white bathrooms.
As the light outside begins to dip at dusk, the Lilla e bar area buzzes with soft chatter and music as guests and locals cosy up by the fireplace to wind down with a cocktail or champagne in hand. Grab a spot by the window and watch the world go by or settle in with a good book and a glass of wine before dinner.
Krog Roba, the hotel’s restaurant feels more like a family dining room than a stark hotel breakfast room. Choose a more formal table setting with a street view or a graze casually from one of the sofa settings (great for groups). Breakfast is a buffet that includes the usual suspects (eggs, cereals, home made breads and pastries, fruit, fresh juices and coffee). But you must try some of the local delicacies (including herring, smoked salmon, cardamom scrolls, porridge, home made yoghurt with cloud berry jam or a glass of honey sparkling, a traditional fermented sweet drink) too. The food was incredibly fresh and delicious and the setting captures the feeling of hygge (cosiness) that Lilla Roberts hopes to achieve.
With the help of soft candle light and a more formal layout, the space is transformed into a romantic bistro for dinner. The menu showcases local, fresh, Nordic food. The menu is small but there is something for everyone’s palate (it’s not all fish if you aren’t that way inclined) and each menu item has a little flag, noting which Nordic country the dish comes from. We ordered the Smörrebröd – Juniper salted salmon with rainbow trout roe, Herring with organic egg and white fish roe, Fried cod with scallop and creamed potato with clam and aquavit and Licorice seasoned crème brûlée with fennel and sea buckthorn sorbet to share, and savoured each bite. The flavours, textures and plating of each dish perfectly played up the rich culinary traditions of the region in a modern way. Even if you aren’t a guest at the hotel, I highly recommend visiting Krog Roba for a weekend long brunch or dinner date.
Hotel Lilla Roberts is tucked away from the tourist crush at the port, while still being walking distance from the city’s attractions, parks, shopping strip and the trendy design district. The tram is just a block away and takes you around the city very comfortably and is a great option in colder weather.
Hotel Lilla Roberts
Pieni Roobertinkatu 1-3
+358 (0)9 689 9880
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller.
She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health.
As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her appetite for adventure.
Read more about Skye’s story here.