For the second night of my brief visit to Finland’s capital, I settled on the Hotel Lilla Roberts Helsinki. It is a Small Luxury Hotels property that participates in the World of Hyatt program. Ever since Hyatt started integrating batches of SLH properties, I’ve been excited to stay at one.
In a nutshell, the Hotel Lilla Roberts Helsinki is an excellent pick, and the benefits enjoyed through World of Hyatt make it even more appealing. From an inviting lobby, to comfortable rooms, to an excellent restaurant, it really delivered. In this Hotel Lilla Roberts Helsinki review I cover everything from booking through breakfast.
When I initially started looking into Helsinki hotel options, IHG almost won. The chain offers several hotels in the Finnish capital, including a Holiday Inn that goes for just 15,000 points. However, I’ve been on track to earn Hyatt status this year, and I wanted to find a property within the chain. I had one remaining unused Category 1-4 Hyatt certificate at the time, and the Hotel Lilla Roberts is an award Category 4 property, requiring 15,000 points. It was a perfect match.
Hyatt doesn’t have any of their standard brands in Helsinki, so the partnership with Small Luxury Hotels is the only thing that put Finland on their map. Besides the Hotel Lilla Roberts, there is the Hotel Haven, a Category 5 Small Luxury Hotel requiring 20,000 points per night. This hotel looks even nicer, but it was priced out of range of my free night.
When I booked using the certificate, cash rates were about €170. So while it wasn’t amazing value, using the free night did save me a chunk of change. However, as the stay drew closer, rates dropped to under €150. I still stuck with the certificate, but I would have been less keen on using 15,000 points at that value and might have opted for another property.
Arriving at the Hotel Lilla Roberts
I started my first full day in the city by walking from the Klaus K Hotel (review) to the Hotel Lilla Roberts. It’s not far, maybe four blocks. It’s always a bit awkward switching hotels in the same city, but I find myself doing it more often than I probably should. It can be a hassle with kids in tow. When it’s just me, it’s less of an issue.
The hotel doesn’t have any real distinguishing features on the exterior facade, but the lobby really jumps out at you, definitely inspired more by Art Deco than by Nordic design. It’s an inviting space, and I hung out here to work in the evening.
I asked to check in early ,but the Hotel Lilla Roberts did not have a room ready at 9:30 AM. The hotel kept my bag, and I headed out to enjoy Helsinki for the day. I filled out all the forms for check-in, which meant all I needed to do was pick up my bag and key when I returned. While I have had awesome success on several occasions checking into hotels early, I’m not at ll surprised that there wasn’t a room ready 6 hours ahead of check-in time.
When I returned after exploring Helsinki for the day, my room key was provided, along with some information on the hotel and it’s participation in the World of Hyatt program. True to their terms, breakfast the next morning was included and they’d given me a modest room upgrade.
My room was a Style King on the 3rd floor. These rooms are approximately 30 square meters, although this one felt a bit tighter than that. The king bed is also slightly a misnomer, as the bed is effectively two twin beds side by side. Not a huge issue for me, but if you area expecting a typical king, this might be frustrating.
The rest of the room contains a sofa, check, and desk.
The desk is nice, with a glass top, and perfect for working for a couple hours in the early morning when you can’t sleep due to the jet lag. Unlike the nice power panel at the Klaus K Hotel, the Hotel Lilla Roberts only offers standard European style outlets, which are still very accessible. I did have to run down to the front desk and ask to borrow a power adapter, since (yet again), I failed to add my universal adapter to my bag. The British and Australian ones I did have were no help.
My room had a view of the interior courtyard, which isn’t much to look at.
In a cabinet by the room entrance is the in-room coffee, safe, and minibar. Only instant coffee is provided. Finland has no shortage of good coffee, so you’ll have to head out to find a cup elsewhere.
The minibar is stocked with a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, all for purchase. I actually didn’t check the prices at the Hotel Lilla Roberts, but I would expect that they are high, like always.
The bathroom in my room was very nice, all tile with everything you’d expect for a 4-star hotel. It even smelled nice with the incense in the corner.
The shower was a rain shower style with plenty of headroom. The shower itself doesn’t have a door and is just partitioned off by a tiled wall.
The bath amenities are are individual bottles and packages. Hyatt is moving away from this, but I’m not anticipating that this will affect the Small Luxury Hotels participating in their program.
Overall, the room was nice, comfortable, and had an excellent bathroom. The interior view and the fact that the king bed isn’t actually a king bed might be the only negative things I can really say about it.
Breakfast at Krog Roba
Breakfast at the Hotel Lilla Roberts restaurant was the biggest highlight of my stay. I made sure to arrive right at 7:30 AM, the opening time on Sundays, eager to get out and explore Suomenlinna for the morning.
Krog Roba offers an excellent breakfast spread for a boutique hotel in an inviting setting.
The first thing you receive is a shot of berry juice from a platter as you’re greeted walking into the restaurant. A tart mix of blueberry, Lignonberry, and sea buckthorn, it’s like a shot of antioxidants. I was brought a pot of coffee as well, and it was perfect, full bodied and not at all bitter.
The place mats feature descriptions of a few of the Finnish specialties that the restaurant serves. I was eager to try the karjalanpiirakka, the Karelian Pie. This staple pastry from eastern Finland is made of rye crust and a rice filling. If that isn’t unique enough, it is topped with “egg-butter”, which is pretty much just a mix of those two things.
If the Karelian Pies don’t appeal, there are still plenty of other options. The Krog Roba restaurant serves a few typical hot staples, such as crepes, bacon, and eggs, as well as cold cuts, smoked salmon, fruit, a small salad bar, pastries, and cereal.
There are some other Finnish classics as well, including smoked fish and pickled herring, both of which I had to try alongside a couple Karelian pies. I suggest shying away from the the American breakfast staples and enjoy a taste of the country’s cuisine. But they had perfectly cooked chewy bacon, so I had to add that.
Another first was the honey mead, which I found both interesting and refreshing. It’s made from fermented honey, typically with some other spices and herbs or hops, and contains a small amount of alcohol.
Finally, don’t skip the salmiakki, Finnish salted liquorice candy. It has a very interesting flavor. I absolutely love black licorice, and even so, I’m not really a fan of this stuff. It’s the most unique thing I tried on the trip.
On the whole, the Hotel Lilla Roberts breakfast at Krog Roba is excellent. It is also included (up to two people) for World of Hyatt members who book the Small Luxury Hotel property through Hyatt booking channels. I’m not yet Globalist, but that doesn’t matter. You just need to be a program member.
Other Hotel Amenities
The Hotel Lilla Roberts has a fitness room, but no pool. The room has a few aerobic machines, a couple weight machines, benches, and free weights.
The bar in the lobby is another great feature, mainly as a meeting space if you want to get out of your room in the evening. I spent a little time writing until my long day sightseeing and walking miles through Helsinki got the better of me.
The lobby is an inviting space, and the bar is quite popular in the evening. I also found the internet to be slightly better in the lobby.
It was sad to check out of the Hotel Lilla Roberts the following morning. With comfortable rooms, friendly staff, an inviting atmosphere and truly excellent breakfast that let me try multiple Finnish specialties, I’d return here in a heartbeat. I would certainly consider the hotel for another stay in Helsinki, especially as a free night award. The value can be really good, depending on the rate.
This Hotel Lilla Roberts Helsinki review marks my first experience at any of the Small Luxury Hotel properties, and it made me very glad that they participate in the World of Hyatt program. I previously combed through the list as each batch was released, highlighting some top picks in batches one, two and three. The Hotel Lilla Roberts Helsinki wasn’t among them, but I was more than satisfied with my stay.