From the outside, the two imposing and ornate 19th-century buildings on ritzy Norrmalmstorg that house the Nobis hotel look traditional and almost staid, promising classical opulence. They hardly seem the place that once housed the bank at the heart of the 1973 hostage crisis (from which the term “Stockholm syndrome” originates) nor do they bring to mind sultry and avant-garde decor by the likes of renowned Swedish design firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. And yet, both of these inform the identity of the Nobis, one of Stockholm’s first luxury design hotels and a new icon of contemporary Scandinavian style and hospitality. From the lobby lounge, whose colorful ceiling is meant to evoke a pixelated vision of a treetop canopy from below, to the inlaid wood that somehow complements the clean-lined decor of rooms, the Nobis feels modern and yet out of another time. Both restaurants channel Italian influences and attract the city’s elite to acclaimed cuisine, inventive drinks, and a lively scene. At every turn, the Nobis defies expectations.