The best thing about travel for us is going to places that make us go “wow”. Having visited some really fantastic places over the years, the bar for getting a “wow” is now a bit higher than it used to be. That’s why we were so pleased when we stayed at the Hilton Tallinn Park for our 2 days in Tallinn, because it delivered “wow” by the bucketful.

Before we had even left London, we had the feeling that the hotel was going to be a bit special. About a week before our stay, Bart had an email from the Executive Reception Team Manager.

The email detailed all the facilities available at the hotel and the various opening hours. There was also an attached “virtual concierge” document giving ideas on things to do in Tallinn. The document was well put together and a really nice little touch.

Having had an early-ish start for our flight from Heathrow to Helsinki, followed by a 4-hour stop-over in the Finnair Lounge at Helsinki Airport, we arrived in Tallinn Airport after the short hop from Helsinki feeling quite tired. Fortunately, in less than 5 minutes after getting off the plane we were in a taxi and making the 10-minute trip to the hotel.

Arriving at the Hilton Tallinn Park

When we started to pull up at the hotel, we didn’t realise we had arrived. The hotel building is also home to the Olympic Park Casino. From the direction we had come from, all we could see as we pulled up was the casino signage. Having read about Tallinn taxi rip-offs on travel forums, “oh hell we’re are about to get hustled” went through my mind. However, the taxi moved forward another two metres and we saw we were outside the hotel doors. Relief all around!!

After settling up with the taxi driver, I noticed that there was a doorman. The Hilton Tallinn Park was earning more brownie points. After being welcomed by the doorman, we walked in and were immediately struck by the fabulously decorated open space of the lobby.

Walking up to the reception desk, we had a short wait while a tribe of spotty youths checked in one at a time. When the first receptionist became free, she gave us a warm welcome and offered us a choice. “I can see you from your reservation that you have booked one of our executive rooms. You may check-in here or my colleague in the Executive Lounge can check you in with a welcome drink.” The welcome drink won the day and we were soon scooting up in the lift to the eleventh floor.

The Executive Lounge check-in experience

The wow factor continued as we walked out of the lift. As we walked the few steps towards the Executive Lounge, one of the team was holding the door open for us and welcomed us by name. After taking a seat, we were presented with two glasses of sparkling wine. I have to say, the check-in process does feel a lot more civilised when it is accompanied by bubbly.

The check-in was far removed from a run through of a script. There was genuine interest in how our journey had been and what plans we had for our time in Tallinn. They two young women in the lounge explained how to get to the old town and the port. The whole experience was relaxed and pleasant.

Things got even better when we told that we had been upgraded to a corner room. “Fantastic” I thought. We asked about the restaurant and they were soon on the phone, checking on table availability. It turned out that it was the last night of Tallinn Fashion Week, so the restaurant was very busy. However, the restaurant manager said he would find a table for us.

After finishing our glasses of bubbly, we headed to room 530 to drop our bags before going to the restaurant.


A room with a wow

We almost didn’t make it down to dinner. It’s not often that we walk into a hotel room and are left speechless, but this room had just that effect. My thoughts when we opened the door went something like “Oh, this looks a bit sma… ooh, it keeps going around the… this is the widest entry hall to a hotel room I’ve ever… wow, this is huge and OMG look at that view!!!”

We spent the next ten minutes behaving like two kids in a toy shop. One of the things about staying in branded hotels is that the rooms can get a bit samey. However, this room was anything but standard. And with a floor space of 50 square metres, there was plenty of room too. The neutral colour scheme ensured that you had the full sense of the space, whilst the artwork and decorative touches ensured that it didn’t look bland.

The Corner Executive Rooms offer great views across the park towards the Old Town straight ahead and by looking to the right you can see the sea and the port. From the other windows and the bathroom, you can see across the city.

The facilities in the room

Not only was there a HUGE entry lobby to the room, but also enough wardrobe space to hang up most of the clothes we have at home (which is a lot, BTW), let alone the couple of shirts we’d brought for the weekend. There was also plenty of draw space and a load of shelves.

The bed was a very large king and the Hilton Serenity Bed meant we slept well. The bed was very comfortable and has good support for your posture. Furthermore, I loved the decorative under-bed lighting. As well as the bed, there were two easy chairs and a small table.

The desk was large enough to work on if you needed to with 3 European and 1 UK plug sockets. Executive rooms come with complimentary WiFi (no access code needed), which had a reasonable download speed. For relaxation, there was a 47-inch HDTV, which could be viewed from the bed and the easy chairs. For coffee aficionados, the room has an espresso machine, which Bart loved.

A nice little touch was the bread, cheese and Vana Tallinn that they had left as a little welcome “snack”.

Our Executive Room bathroom at the Hilton Tallinn Park

In the past, we have stayed at hotels where the room has been great, but the bathroom lets them down. That was definitely not the case in our room at the Hilton Tallinn Park. The bathroom was another part of the rooms “wow” factor.

I’m not usually one for taking baths, so it wouldn’t bother me if there was no bath. However, it was quite tempting to use the bath in our room. To start off with it was big enough to stretch out in and secondly, you could lie in the bath and just enjoy the view across the city.

The large walk-in shower was a joy to use, with a decent water pressure and large rainfall shower head. The loo was separated from the rest of the bathroom by a frosted glass wall and door. Also, the bathroom came with a large double sink, so no fighting over the sink if you’re both trying to both get ready at the same time.

The colour scheme in the bathroom made it feel very bright and fresh, which added to the sense of space in the room. In my opinion, it was a bathroom you wanted to spend time in, as opposed to one where you only wanted to go in to use it.

Dining with The Able Butcher

By the time we had arrived at the hotel, it was after 9:30 pm and we were feeling a bit hungry. We managed to tear ourselves away from the room and took the lift down to the 2nd floor to go to the restaurant.

There are three dining options at the Hilton Tallinn Park. As you might expect, there is a 24-hour in-room dining service, you can eat in the bar and then there is the main event, The Able Butcher.

The Able Butcher is meat-eaters paradise. The menu is predominantly meat-based with some fantastic fish dishes and a couple of vegetarian (but not vegan) options. It describes itself as “a restaurant where the unique combination of informal dining, rich traditional atmosphere and commitment to best quality ingredients take you on a full authentic culinary journey”.

The restaurant has a stylish yet cosy feel to it. The warm, dark wood is complemented by the pale colours of the soft furnishings and the warm lighting. The kitchen is open and adds a bit of theatre to the venue. The meat locker, adjacent to the kitchen, shows off the joints of beef and the large wine room offers a great display of the many wines and champagnes on offer.

Good service in the restaurant

We were greeted straight away and, as they had been expecting us, we were shown straight to our table. The restaurant was still quite busy, though, by the time we arrived, most of the diners seemed to be finishing off.

The menu is reasonably large, with a good choice of starters, a range of main dishes and a selection of steaks. We both opted to skip starters and go straight for the main course and we both chose the Slow-Cooked Veal Ossobucco, which was served with soft polenta, caponata and shaved parmesan. Our order was taken by the manager, who was friendly and chatty, which made for a more relaxed service.

We decided to just go for a glass of wine each and some water. The Rosa dei Masi, a fresh and fruity Italian rosé, turned out to be a good accompaniment to the ossobucco. We were brought a basket of Must Leib (Black Bread) at the same time as the wine. This rye bread is made with treacle and has a rich nutty flavour, and seriously delicious.

When the meals arrived, they looked and smelt fantastic. They didn’t disappoint on the taste front either. The meat was perfectly cooked, being soft and moist, and the sauce had a rich flavour that complemented the meat. The polenta was soft, with a creamy flavour.

The service continued to be friendly and efficient throughout the meal. I was pleased that the manager asked if I wanted more wine as I was getting to the end of my glass. I always think it is good service to be offered more drinks and I prefer to be asked than to have to ask myself.

Given the timing, we decided not to indulge in dessert and headed off to bed after we’d finished our wine.

The Executive Lounge

One of the benefits of staying in an executive room at a Hilton is access to the Executive Lounge. The standard of service offered in Hilton Executive Lounges can vary greatly from hotel to hotel. In the very best, you’ll find a non-stop array of tasty nibbles, topped off with evening Happy Hour drinks. At the other end of the scale is the North American model of a few dry snacks (if you’re lucky) and a (un)Happy Hour when they supply alcoholic drinks that you have to pay for.

Fortunately, Hilton Tallinn Park has opted to pitch its Executive Lounge at the higher end of the scale. Having experienced the welcome in the lounge at check-in we opted to have breakfast there.

Our night had not been without a bit of excitement when one of the guests managed to set off the fire alarms by smoking in a non-smoking area. This happened just as we were about to get into bed, so we turned in slightly later than we intended. We decided to snooze a little later to make up for it. After an excellent night’s sleep and refreshing wake-up shower, we took the lift back up to the eleventh floor.

Breakfast in the lounge

On Saturday morning, the room was fairly quiet when we arrived at about 10:15. We grabbed a nice table by the window to enjoy the view. The lounge had a good breakfast selection of both hot and cold options.

We both opted to go with the hot buffet, which turned out to be both hot and tasty (the scrambled eggs were particularly good – light and nicely creamy). We followed this up with some cakes and pastries, which again were good (the caramel muffin was particularly yummy). During breakfast, the service in the lounge was attentive and friendly, with the staff taking the time to chat with the guests.

We also went to the lounge for breakfast the next day and although it was a bit busier, the staff maintained the service standards. Also, there were a few variations on the food on offer, so you had some different items to choose from.

Hilton Tallinn Park Executive Lounge evening drinks

The good service and attention to detail weren’t confined to the lounge. As we were leaving the hotel on the first morning, we decided we should pick up a map. When we reached the lobby Bart went up to reception but all the staff were busy. Bart was looking around to see if he could see map anywhere when a member of the concierge team appeared out of nowhere and asked if he needed anything. He gave us the map and directions to the Old Town.

After a day spent exploring the delights of the Old Town, we arrived back at the hotel and made our way up to the lounge. Like many Hilton Executive Lounges, the lounge at the Hilton Tallinn Park offers an evening drinks and canapé service.

The lounge was very busy, with most of the seats occupied. We found that they had even opened the partition wall between the lounge and the meeting room to increase the available seating. We found a spot on one of the sofas and settled in to enjoy some wine and nibbles.

There was a good range of food on offer, with both sweet and savoury options. Despite being busy, the staff kept on top of clearing the lounge and restocking the buffet. Although it was fairly packed, the lounge was calm on the whole.

Back to The Butcher

We had spotted a few places in the Old Town that looked interesting for dinner. However, by the time we had got back to the hotel we were quite tired from the day’s walking. Given we were tired, coupled with the fact that we’d enjoyed our meal the night before, we opted to revisit The Able Butcher for dinner.

I had made a quick call to book a table before our trip to the Exec Lounge and we headed to the restaurant after the evening drinks service finished in the lounge. Surprisingly, it wasn’t busy when we arrived and remained fairly quiet during the meal. I’m not sure if that was typical for a Saturday, but they seemed to be staffed to match the level of business.

When we arrived at the table, there was a little chalkboard on an easel with our name on it, which we thought was a nice touch. As on the previous night, the service was great, and we felt that our waitress was really friendly.

Having indulged in the nibbles in the lounge, we decided to skip starters and go straight to the main course. Bart chose the Grilled Octopus, which was served with potato cream, tomato confit and black olive powder. I went for the Milanese Veal Cutlet which was accompanied by ruccola and cherry tomatoes. When the food arrived, the portions were generous and both dishes were packed with flavour.

The desserts

On Saturday, we were at the restaurant earlier than the previous day, so had time for a more leisurely dinner. With no plans for the rest of the evening, we sipped our wine and let the main course go down before we decided to try some desserts.

The dessert menu isn’t huge but is varied enough to suit most tastes. I decided to try the Tiramisu, The Able Butcher way, while Bart opted for the Sicilian Symphony. When Bart ordered, the waitress told him that it was a dessert that he would either love or hate. She said that personally, she loved it, but some customers didn’t like the unusual appearance of it.

Described on the menu as mini cassata, cannolo and watermelon jelly, I couldn’t figure out what part of the Sicilian Symphony could cause offence. Then when the dessert arrived, we knew what the waitress meant. Although we both thought that it added some fun to the presentation, I know some people might be a bit put off by the vibrant blue chocolate coating on the cassata.

At any rate, we thought it looked fab and it actually tasted fantastic too. My Tiramisu was rich and tasty, and I liked the presentation in the little Kilner jar. The dessert topped off an enjoyable second visit to The Able Butcher. We had two good meals there and would recommend going to the Hilton Tallinn Park and trying it if you’re visiting Tallinn.

Checking out

After our two nights at the hotel, it was time to check out of the Hilton Tallinn Park. Unfortunately, our key cards had timed out by the time we were leaving. Consequently, we couldn’t get back up the Executive as you needed the room card to operate the lift.

We checked out in the lobby, and once more the service was great. As we turned to walk away from the reception desk to go to the concierge to check in our cases for the day, one of the concierge team appeared from nowhere and asked if we needed help with bags or a taxi.

All good things must come to an end

After an enjoyable afternoon wandering around the Old Town again, we went back to collect the cases. Of course, once again the service from the concierge team was fantastic. There was no “wait here while we get your bags”. Instead, it was a much more civilised, “if you’d like to take a seat, I’ll bring your bags over to you”.

As I sat and waited for the cases, I had more time to look at the lobby and the cafe and bar. It was a gorgeous and bright space and looked like it would be great to hang out there. If we had been at the hotel for longer, I think we would definitely have spent some time there.

We had spent two great nights at the Hilton Tallinn Park and it was a shame that we weren’t there longer. On our way the restaurant, we had walked past the Eforea Spa and Health Club. There was the most-gorgeous aroma coming from inside. We would have loved to have tried it out while we were there, but time didn’t allow. They offer a range of facials and massage treatments, (the two-hour “Total Time Out Massage” sounds heavenly). We’d definitely give it try if we visit again.

If we went back to Tallinn, we’d chose to stay the Hilton Tallinn Park again. It certainly isn’t the cheapest of the hotels in Tallinn. However, sometimes it’s worth paying for quality service and to get a bit of “wow” factor.