Sensible, well-behaved Stockholm is an easy town to visit. For older people it’s a time warp; the lilting voices make you feel as if you are an extra in a Bergman film and the traffic (a couple of cars every few minutes) will remind you of the 1950’s. Younger visitors will like the healthy way of life, egalitarianism and ethical approach to the environment. Its people speak excellent English and are welcoming and friendly. It has a great many museums, cheering restaurants serving hearty food (the herring is king, but they love meatballs too) and good public transport. In fact the city is so small that you can readily walk to most central addresses, avoiding its hideously expensive taxis. Small ships and ferries dart in and out of its islands and docks, ready to transport you to other parts of the city, or out into the archipelago.
The hotels fit in nicely to this pattern. They are sensible, egalitarian (you usually carry your own luggage to your room) and very keen on environmental issues. Do not be prodigal with the bath towels! There are a couple of very conservative ones, but most celebrate Sweden’s love affair with modern design. Long before Ikea, Swedish designers excelled at furniture, particularly chairs. Almost all the Stockholm hotels (except the Grand, the Esplanade and the Victory) have turned to this tradition and you can expect to find in them examples of the best modern furniture. It is usually comfortable, colourful and beautifully made. A number of them make a feature of photography, displaying huge prints on an occasional or permanent basis. And lights and light fittings, vital in the long dark winters, are often startlingly original. While in Britain the term ‘designer’ often just means ‘odd’, in Sweden it is the defining feature of an interior.
Room prices are variable. At weekends when the business customers leave, prices fall and you can find good discounts. Internet booking sites put further pressure on hoteliers. And because they all speak near-perfect English, do not feel shy about phoning them and haggling. Stockholm is not cheap, but all the hotels we list will offer you value for money. None of them is extreme, all are honest, clean, well run and eager to please you - like Stockholm itself. The order in which the hotels are listed has no bearing on our preference.
Stockholm (PO Box 161 96)
The best located of all the modern ‘designer’ hotels. Bedrooms with period features, such as four-poster beds and plasterwork, and modern furniture. It combines the best of the old and the new with luxurious effect. Drawing a fashionable crowd the hotel makes a lively city destination.
Stockholm (PO Box 19016)
Unpretentious hotel with strong modern design themes. Large, sleek, and individually designed bedrooms - parquet floors, prints, over-sized lamps, and imaginative touches. Trendy bar and calm lounge-restaurant. A superbly comfortable and stylish city destination.
Stockholm (PO Box 1616)
Island hotel of minimalist calm next to the modern art museum; it could even be an exhibit. Large white on white bedrooms with huge windows overlooking the gardens and harbour. A very quiet and peaceful, but central, destination.
Old-fashioned pension with (some) modern facilities in excellent central location. Large Art Nouveau rooms with period furniture, some overlooking the sea. A small sauna and breakfast room that will serve sandwiches throughout the day.
Stockholm (Gamla Stan)
Cheerful, popular, and eccentric family-owned holiday hotel. Naval antiques and memorabilia fill every nook. Two fantastic restaurants - the Whole Beast is renowned - and warm cosy rooms. Truly characterful.
Stockholm (Nockstromsgatan 8)
A night club, concert venue and two interesting restaurants draw crowds (and recently, Rihanna) to this city-centre boutique hotel. Prettily decorated rooms with fresh flowers. A lively spot with a personality.
A romantic 18th century ambience and an excellent restaurant in this small, welcoming hotel. Picturesque decoration - rough boarded floors and candle lit rooms. A charming city spot.
By redefining luxury for today’s traveller, Nobis will become Stockholm’s leading luxury hotel. Sophistication and elegance oozes from every room - natural colours and materials and fine craftsmanship. Beautiful bar and restaurants and extensive meeting rooms. A five-star for the 21st century.
Stockholm (PO Box 16424)
A fine old hotel overlooking the harbour. Elegant rooms and magnificent suites, restaurants with Michelin stars, a rejuvenating Nordic spa, and reception/meeting rooms with grandeur. A historic spot with an international clientele.
Stockholm (P.O. Box 17525)
Fresher and friendlier than other boutique hotels, the Rival is the market leader in comfort and classical design. The rooms are chic, young and bright with light wooden floors, lots of light, and modern artworks. The cinema, bakery and bistro on the ground floor are a winning combination.
Stockholm (PO Box 310)
A big middle-market hotel that delivers the goods with a strong Nordic flavour. A dramatic building with ultra-modern interiors - lots of glass, light wooden floors, curvaceous chairs, white washed walls, and natural light. Fantastic roof top spa and swimming pool and Michelin-listed dining.