So many things make Finland special to me: family, friends, nature, culture and good food. One might also add the Finnish minimalist fashion, sharp product design and interesting architecture. This weekend was particularly close to my heart because I got to spend it with good friends, making memories, dreaming of future apartments, admiring the sea views and even some wild Saturday night dancing. And the weekend took a luxury oozing turn when we decided to spend it in Hotel Lilla Roberts.
A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the art-deco styled Hotel Lilla Roberts is hidden away in a peaceful corner of Helsinki’s Design District.
The oldest part of the Jugend style building dates from the early 20th century, designed by one of Finland’s top architects, Selim A. Lindqvist. The building was originally designed to serve as an electric power station and the headquarters for Helsinki’s energy centre. Later, as many as three separate and variously-aged, but interconnected buildings turned into a Pikkuroba police station.
Like most Finnish folks, the local police officers love the sauna, and the building had five saunas (yes, five!) during its years as the Pikku-Roba police station. Apparently, even the former Finnish president Urho Kekkonen has enjoyed the sauna heat and sea views there with the chief of police at the time. Psst… this famous sauna is now a hotel room number 536.
Let us get back to today – the current makeover has been designed by Jaakko Puro, who has delivered hotel’s smart and elegant Scandinavian interiors, respecting the original art-deco features of the building.
The facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness centre, meeting rooms, a stylish Krog Roba restaurant, and an elegant Bar Lilla e. cocktail bar. The hotel also offers a free use of very cool bicycles – a great way to see Helsinki!
Don’t miss trying Bar Lilla e’s cocktails by the fireplace.
Hotel Lilla Roberts’s 130 contemporary-style rooms are done up in a striking monochrome colour scheme with art deco accents create an elegant atmosphere.
The comfy king size bed in our room is covered in silky and luxurious linen – certainly my ideal scenario for proper princess’s dreams.
My best friend Tiina agrees from under the duvet!
All your needs are thought through, rooms come with free wi-fi, a Bluetooth soundbar, flat screen TV and a minibar. The only thing I really missed was a coffee machine, but you can always order a cuppa of goodness from the room service, of course.
The bathroom products are by Neil’s Yard, and after a shower, you can relax in the soft and fluffy bathrobe and slippers.
We have previously stayed in Hotel Haven, which is part of the same group, and I have to say, this group has the most amazing staff and service. You are always greeted with a friendly and professional manner and made feel right at home. The spirit of the hotel has been described as embodying “Hygge”, a Nordic word which means “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” Couldn’t have said it better.
When you’re ready to explore the city, this creative quarter boasts trendy cafés and restaurants. An ideal way to spend a day in Helsinki is to stroll around the Design District, visiting the galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants.
And don’t forget that you can borrow one of the hotel’s bicycles to see the city like a local.
We loved Hotel Lilla Robert’s breakfast! Let me tell you; the best way to start your morning is with some local Sima, a honey flavoured sparkling drink.
The breakfast layout was plentiful, fresh and everything nicely presented. There was organic porridge, few options for hot food, good bread, granolas and yoghurts, fruits… Traditional Finnish Karelian pies with egg butter, locally sourced ham and cheese, smoked salmon. And the coffee was nice and strong, just the way I like it – in a big mug.
For those who love sweet stuff, there was traditional Finnish Rhubarb tart, croissants and biscuits. They also had many gluten-free options.
On Saturday we had lunch at the restaurant linked to the hotel, Krog Roba. Their menu is focused on Nordic flavours and most ingredients actually come from around Helsinki; meat and seasonal veggies from local farmers and fish from the Baltic Sea.
Tiina and I have been friends since we were 7 years old and she also is the mother of my handsome godson. We had not seen each other since Christmas holidays (unless you count Skype), so it was time to celebrate – some bubbles, please!
Eventually, we made our choices. What to eat is always a big decision when you suffer from acute food envy.
Luckily it was easy this time because we both chose Krog’s salad – crisp salad with Arctic char and baby potatoes. Delicious.
Pieni Roobertinkatu 1-3, 00130 Helsinki | +358 9 6824 2880 | website
Breakfast: Mon-Fri 7.00-10.00, Sat-Sun 7.30-11.00
Lunch & Dinner: Mon-Thu 11.30-23, Fri 11.30-24, Sat 12-24, Sun 12-17
Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays 12.30-16.00
Our warmest recommendation for Hotel Lilla Roberts. We will definitely be back!
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HOTEL LILLA ROBERTS
Pieni Roobertinkatu 1-3, 00130 Helsinki | +358 9 689 9880 | website