The former Helsinki Police Station building was renovated to transform the property into Hotel Lilla Roberts, which opened its doors on 12 August 2015. Hotel Lilla Roberts has received a five-star rating in international search engines, as well as rave reviews from customers.
“Excellent personal service, beautiful interior design and luxurious materials put Lilla Roberts in a class of its own. In spite of this, the hotel feels cosy and warm,” says Hotel Manager Elli Suutarinen.
Hotel Lilla Roberts is located in Helsinki’s old city centre, at the corner of Pieni Roobertinkatu and Kasarmitori. The hotel has 130 rooms, conference facilities and a fitness centre, as well as the Krog Roba restaurant and Bar Lilla e. The hotel is owned by Kämp Group.
History lends character to this new hotel
The first part of the property was completed in 1909. The building initially housed the head office of Helsingin Energia and a power plant that provided electricity for most of central Helsinki in the 1900s. The Art Nouveau building was designed by architect Selim A. Lindqvist. The adjacent Functionalist building was completed in 1931 and designed by Gunnar Taucher. They are both protected buildings. From 1974 to 2012 the buildings were used by the Helsinki Police Department. After the premises were vacated in 2012, the property stood empty.
The property then found new life as a luxury hotel. The hotel’s architectural and interior design was led by interior architect Jaakko Puro of Puroplan Oy.
“The representatives of the Building Control Department and the City of Helsinki are pleased to see the revival of this property of significant historical value. The renovated buildings, revitalised architecture and the buzz of people all serve to create a living urban environment,” explains Jaakko Puro.
The property’s history, high-quality materials, choices of furniture and other details come together to make a unique hotel experience. The aim was to give customers something interesting to see as soon as they enter the building. The lobby features animal-themed lighting fixtures and details.
“The hotel became playful while also being pleasing to the eye. Customer comfort was prioritised over cost-efficiency,” Jaakko Puro adds.
Challenges and surprises
As Helsinki’s old city centre is subject to a construction ban, the renovation project required a special permit. One of the major challenges was the lack of space. This called for carefully planned logistics and minimal storage needs. The construction work also involved extensive alterations to the sewer system and electrical conduits. The need for these alterations was only recognised once the old structures were opened up.
“The old and valuable elements of the building were conserved and renovated to the greatest extent possible. When you are working on a century-old building, you will inevitably come across surprises related to structures and materials. Our job was to find the answers to these challenges in collaboration with the customer, the designer and the representatives of the City,” says Antti-Pekka Kortelainen, YIT’s head supervisor for the renovation project.
The buildings’ facades were renovated, resurfaced and painted. The old windows were conserved to the greatest extent possible, while some were rebuilt in the same style. Planning and building the necessary emergency exits for such an old property was also challenging. The Art Nouveau building houses the oldest lift in Helsinki. It was restored but, due to current safety standards, it cannot be used anymore. The locations of rooms and bathroom fixtures were also altered due to reasons related to the building’s support structures.
“Co-operation with YIT was very smooth and the quality of their work has met our high expectations,” concludes Hotel Manager Elli Suutarinen.
Elli Suutarinen, Hotel Manager, Hotel Lilla Roberts, tel. +358 (0)40 5210 356, email@example.com
Jaakko Puro, Interior Architect, Puroplan Oy, tel. +358 (0)400 409 621, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tero Aaltonen, Head of Unit, Renovation Services, YIT Construction Ltd. tel. +358 (0)40 8399 833, email@example.com
Hotel Lilla Roberts
Address: Pieni Roobertinkatu 1-3, 00130 Helsinki, www.lillaroberts.com
Premises: 130 hotel rooms, Restaurant Krog Roba, Bar Lilla e
Owner: Kämp Group
Architectural and interior design: Puroplan Oy
Renovation project, main contractor: YIT Construction Ltd