These days, a hip design hotel isn’t worth its salt unless it’s also home to an almost painfully trendy bar. But when Story Hotel first opened in 2009, on the border of two of Stockholm’s coolest neighborhoods, it set the standard to which all of the city’s subsequent boutique hotels would be held. The Story formula is deceptively simple: take one historic building in an achingly cool European capital and strip it down to exposed brick and concrete, and original hardwood floors, before decorating it with a sleek, unpretentious style that epitomizes Scandinavian design. Add a sprinkling of colorful graffiti art, and pair faded Persian rugs with collaged photographs and leather butterfly chairs. Make sure some rooms are small and affordable, while others are spacious and decadent. The cuisine needn’t be fancy, but it ought to be high quality, just as the cocktails must be inventive and delicious. And don’t let the DJ-accompanied scene turn pretentious; everyone should feel welcome, and among friends. Story’s formula works, and there’s a reason this original boutique hotel is still one of Stockholm’s best.
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On bustling Riddargatan in hip Östermalm, the Story has one of the most enviable locations in Stockholm. The surrounding neighborhood is filled with trendy cafés, restaurants, bars, and designer boutiques. Favorite local eateries include New Nordic hot spots like Gastrologik, as well as landmarks like Östermalms Saluhall, a market hall dating back to 1886, which still sells Swedish specialties. In the warmer months, nearby Humlegården park fills up with sun-seeking Stockholmers basking, picnicking, and skateboarding. The water is also within a stone’s throw, with the city’s famous ferries waiting to whisk you around the waterways.
Need to Know
Rooms: 83 rooms, one suite, one apartment. From $171. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Dine on tasty favorites like burgers, charcuterie, and cheese plates in the restaurant, bar, or colorful courtyard. Breakfast, included in all rates, is a well-stocked spread of Swedish classics. With its inventive cocktails and regular DJ sets, the hotel’s bar is a Stockholm hot spot that buzzes well into the wee hours of the morning. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a gym nor a spa, but the Face Stockholm toiletries in each bathroom offer an opportunity for pampering, and the Attic apartment has a stationary bike.
Who's it best for: Hipsters, partygoers, and budget-conscious travelers with a sense of style. Our favorite rooms: As a former apartment building, the Story Hotel’s rooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, resulting in some that are especially fun and quirky, including the Bath Rooms—intimate rooms with a good chunk of their square footage devoted to an in-bedroom bathtub. For views, though, it’s all about the Balcony rooms—fifth-floor perches with private balconies, high above the lively street and bar below. Shop the look: Want to take Story’s signature Stockholm-cool look home? The hotel has its own online shop curated by its trendy staff and full of exclusive designer collaborations. Items can be ordered directly to your room. Many even come with a discount for the restaurant and bar.