CHECK IT OUT HOTEL LILLA ROBERTS, HELSINKI
Helsinki’s Hotel Lilla Roberts looks a little like a film set from Agatha Christie’s Poirot. That’s because the new Small Luxury Hotels of the World recruit is housed in a landmark, early 20th-century building by one of Finland’s leading architects, Selim A. Lindqvist, on a quiet side street in the capital’s Design District.
It might once have served as the city’s power plant, and later a police station, but you’d never know it thanks to a smart Scandi makeover by Helsinki-based Jaakko Puro. Using quality materials and a rich palette of burnished gold, greys and plum, in keeping with the building’s art-deco roots, Puro has delivered cosy but smart interiors with plenty of whimsical touches, like the oversized Moooi horse lamps in the lobby.
Extra attention has been paid to the design of the super comfy king beds in the 130 guestrooms, where hardwood parquet floors are complemented by rich fabrics embellished with traditional Finnish prints and handsome bathrooms with a distinct artdeco flavour. Every chamber features gratis Wi-Fi, big flat-screen television and a wireless Bluetooth soundbar, a system compatible with the TV or mobile devices.
The larger “Lux” accommodation features even larger TVs and Nespresso machines. The twobedroom suite has views over Kasarmitori Square; interconnecting rooms are available for families. The hotel also has a fitness centre with traditional Finnish sauna.
DON’T MISS: A cocktail in the lobby lounge, seated in cooler months by the crackling fire.
DINING IN: The in-house bistro-style Krog Roba, headed by executive chef Karri Knaapila, celebrates food from across the Nordic region. Smorrebrod with juniper salted-salmon and trout roe is a typical example. Try the crayfish soup or liquorice-seasoned creme brulee with fennel and sea buckthorn sorbet. The restaurant’s relaxed atmosphere is best described as hygge, says hotel manager Elli Suutarinen, a word that has no direct translation from Finnish but means “everything good, fun and warm in life”.
DINING OUT: Ragu and Ravintola Juuri, both nearby, are “excellent choices”, says Suutarinen, and Kaffecentralen, just around the corner, comes recommended as a good coffee shop.
ASK THE HOTEL MANAGER: A stroll around the Design District, visiting the galleries, shops and restaurants, is an ideal way to spend a day in Helsinki. Another great way to see the city “in a local way” is to borrow one of the hotel’s bikes.
CHECKING IN: Rooms from €169 ($270) including breakfast. More: slh.com/hotels/hotel-lilla-roberts/.
ALSO TRY: Art Deco Hotel Montana, Lucerne; The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, New York; Hyatt Hotel Canberra.
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