The Top Hotels in Sweden

TK

Highlights
8 Näckströmsgatan
The Berns knows how to party. A Gilded Age palace of luxury and hospitality in the center of Stockholm, the opulent building began life in 1863 as a restaurant, before transforming into a hot nightlife spot. When it was reinvented as a decadent boutique hotel filled with understatedly luxurious modern decor (there’s that signature Scandinavian style), the Berns combined those pasts, opening not only one of the city’s top restaurants—in a previous iteration, Asiatiska was Sweden’s first Chinese restaurant—but some of its coolest bars and dance clubs, one of its most sought-after concert venues, and some of its most exclusive electronic music clubs. Suffice it to say that, although the gilded, airy main bar and dining room is always lively, filled with attractive, designer-clad Swedes, the building practically buzzes come evening. Not that any of this scene disturbs the rooms upstairs, because the second most important part of a good night out is a good sleep, and the Berns doesn’t disappoint there, either.
Sköldungagatan 2, 114 27 Stockholm, Sweden
Ett Hem isn’t a hotel. After all, its name means “a home” in Swedish. And the kitchen is open to guests at all hours, to snack on its stash of homemade cakes and healthy treats, and to pour a glass or two of its world-class wines and fresh-squeezed juices. The hotel’s winding collection of airy, stylized rooms—decorated with an elegantly comfortable combination of modern and curated vintage that belongs on the pages of Architectural Digest—act like a designer friend’s living room and library, their comfortable chairs beckoning guests to relax with a glass of wine and a good book. An airy conservatory (similarly outfitted) spills out onto a secret garden, a hidden oasis in the lively city, and a gourmet, farm-to-communal-table dinner results in new friends and fascinating conversations. Each of the 12 rooms in the 1910 Arts and Crafts house feels like a private appartement, decorated in celebrity designer Ilse Crawford and owner Jeanette Mix’s signature style. So, no, Ett Hem isn’t a hotel, because it’s so much more.
Ellensviksvagen 1, 131 52 Nacka Strand, Sweden
From the Adirondack chairs lazily spread across the pier and the seafood restaurant’s waterfront deck, it’d be easy to confuse the Hotel J for somewhere in New England. Even the rooms are decked out in a healthy dose of Americana, with tasteful white cotton and stars-and-stripes accompanying the natural wood furnishings and nautical memorabilia. And the seafood-focused restaurant—which, frankly, feels like a luxury yacht—channels American favorites in its brasserie-style menu.

But, fear not, the Hotel J is also very Swedish. Located on Nacka Strand 20 minutes from Stockholm, it capitalizes on the Swedes’ love of boating, especially in the summer months, when the archipelago’s 30,000 islands become day trip and vacation destinations for the entire city. Not only is it affiliated with a local kayak and canoe rental center—just ask if you’d like to spend a day on the water—but the ferry to and from Stockholm stops in front of the restaurant, allowing city dwellers to make pilgrimages to the eatery at will. The hotel’s sprawling, wooded grounds, too, are exceptionally Swedish, especially with the 19th-century summer mansions that dot them; most are used as event spaces now, but don’t let that curb your exploring.
Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2, 111 48 Stockholm, Sweden
If Stockholm epitomizes cool, then the 19th-century Lydmar Hotel has somehow managed to improve upon that ideal. How many hotels give each floor its own distinctive living room—a private lounge away from the bustling lobby that buzzes with a stylish city’s most beautiful and well-connected denizens? And how often is that lobby also an art gallery, a worthy destination in itself and a gateway to rooms where the likes of Damien Hirst would feel right at home? Surely it’s rare to find a rather small hotel like this—home to three of a city’s hottest bars, including two with unobstructed waterfront views of the Royal Palace and surrounding harbor. Few are bold enough to acknowledge that the best spa in a city that celebrates wellness is located next door in another hotel, and that it would be better to get its own guests unfettered access to that luxurious haven than to try to build its own. The Lydmar is a hotel unlike any other.
Stallmästaregården, 113 47 Stockholm, Sweden
Stallmästaregården began its life as a somewhat rural stablemaster’s farm. This was before Queen Kristina decided, in 1645, that she wanted to host her midsummer festivities here, at which point the stablemaster rapidly transformed the farm into an inn. Now, despite being within the city limits, Stallmästaregården feels like a rural retreat, flanked as it is by the expansive Royal Haga Park and scenic Brunnsviken Bay, in addition to its own verdant gardens. A painstaking restoration and redesign has left the onetime farm still rustic and homey, true to its 17th-century inn background, while simultaneously infusing it with healthy doses of both midcentury and contemporary Scandinavian design. The true star is the restaurant, an unpretentiously stylish destination that serves gourmet Swedish cuisine to discerning locals and out-of-towners against a picturesque natural backdrop. But the best part comes when everyone goes home and the inn is left to the guests.
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.
Kungstorget 9, 411 17 Göteborg, Sweden
Avalon Hotel is situated in the very center of town, opposite the covered market, on a site formerly occupied by a vegetable market. When the neighboring house was destroyed in a fire and the location was up for development, Avalon was born. The hotel has a modern, artistic look with Nordic simplicity and bold colors. The 101 rooms are decorated in a style that combines the strict Scandinavian aesthetic with a more artistic coloring. Twenty-four of the rooms have an open bath—integrated with the rest of the room, so you can watch TV while taking a bath—and three of them have their own gym. One of the first things you notice about the hotel is the turquoise pool that looks like it’s going to fall off the roof. That belongs to the top-floor penthouse suite, but you can access the pool and have a swim while overlooking the streets below even without booking the room, since the pool is open for all guests in the afternoon. And the outdoor street-level terrace is a good place for an afternoon drink in the sun or a long summer lunch.
Trädgårdsgatan 6, 411 08 Göteborg, Sweden
So where are we now? Could this be Vienna in central Europe in the early 20th century? Or maybe Paris in the same era? No, this is a small Gothenburg hotel, restaurant, and bar that fulfills the dreams of owner Thomas Peterson. Coming from a well-renowned family in the restaurant business, Peterson wanted to create his personal vision of an extraordinary restaurant and hotel that paid homage to childhood memories of his grandfather hosting celebrities and artists at home and in his restaurant. Try the afternoon tea, or have a drink on the roof terrace. No matter what you eat or drink, the ambiance is a large part of the experience.
Södra Hamngatan 2a, 411 06 Göteborg, Sweden
Aiming to create a world steeped in dreamy, early-20th-century Parisian style, boutique hotel Pigalle exists in a building that has housed a hotel for more than 130 years. Located just a five-minute walk from Gothenburg’s central station, amid the offices and department stores of one of the busiest parts of town, you might expect Pigalle to be a noisy, stressful experience. Nothing could be further from the truth! As soon as you walk through the door into the small reception/café you enter a different time and place, and the modern city life outside fades away. The rooms are decorated with patterned wallpaper and have thick velvet curtains in soft colors, but have all been individually designed and no one looks quite like another. If you want to treat yourself, the luxurious Belle suite has its own champagne bar. Don’t miss the rooftop terrace garden or top-floor restaurant Ateliér, with its delicious food made from seasonal local ingredients. And if you’re missing something from your wardrobe, the hotel has an arrangement with nearby department store NK. Note that Pigalle has a minimum age of 25 years for guests, and is a cash free, cards-only hotel.