Story Hotel Riddargatan

Riddargatan 6, 114 35 Stockholm, Sweden

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 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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