The best hotels in Stockholm are as beautifully designed as you might expect from the capital of Swedish decor. Warm and cool, modern and classic, Scandinavian design makes interiors look effortless. Since the mid 20th century, the world has been looking to the Nordics for design inspiration.
It's rational and spare, without being cold, serene without being dull. It's no surprise then that the Swedish capital has become a go-to destination for design lovers. And there's a boutique hotel to suit the preferences of every aesthete, from classic Scandi modernism to tasteful Art Nouveau opulence.
We've rounded up a selection of Stockholm's finest, from slinky downtown boltholes to a classic Swedish sauna and sea resort, just a ferry ride out of the city.
1. Miss Clara
This hotel is a design gem from the outside in. The building dates from 1910, a gorgeous example of the Art Nouveau style from architects Hagström & Ekman. It was once a girls school and titular MIss Clara was the headmistress.
It was transformed and renovated by renowned Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh, known for creating contrast between sober exteriors and more expressive, dramatic interiors. Inside, the hotel is chic and sumptuous featuring polished parquet floors, limestone- and marble-clad bathrooms and toiletries products by Byredo. Art Nouveau furnishings, nodding to the building's history, finish the look. Copy the pairing of dark herringbone parquet with crisp, white linens on the bed.
Book a stay at Miss Clara. Rooms from $145.
This hotel is located in a buzzy part of Stockholm, with a view over Berzelii Park and the Baltic Sea. The venue itself is a hub for food and drink and entertainment.
There's been some kind of hospitality venue in this building since 1863 and it's always had a party focus. There are three bar/clubs on site. The overall look is classic pared down Scandi, but there's some fun touches of party maximalism like the grand art nouveau chandeliers in the restaurant and big statement photography pieces framed on the walls.
Book a stay at Berns. Rooms from $135.
3. Villa Dagmar
Northern Europe meets Southern Europe at this glamorous boutique hotel.
The aesthetic is refined and elegant. The clean lines typical of Scandinavian design meet with more dramatic elements reminiscent of Italian villas, such as hardwood statement headboards in moorish arched shapes.
The place is bursting with history. It's named after Dagmar Bergsten, a bon vivant known for her fabulous parties in the 1920s. The building itself was the residence of Axel Munthe, a writer and Queen Victoria's doctor and her rumoured lover! Villa Dagmar is a longstanding member of Stockhom LGBT, and they specifically state in their communications that they are welcoming to LGBT+ travellers.
The lobby is a gallery space run in "collaboration with leading players in the art field", while there's a DJ and live music at the hotel several times a week.
Book a stay at Villa Dagmar. Rooms from $305.
4. Ett Hem
Honourable mention to tiny Ett Hem, which is conceived as a luxurious "private house". It has only 12 rooms and is just a touch out of the city center and is cited by everyone who's anyone in Stockholm as extremely lovely.
Design comes courtesy of Brit star designer Ilse Crawford CBE, so it's one part Scandi minimalism and one part British parlour. The renowned London-based designer and founder of StudioIlsevery, who has her own collection with IKEA, has designed upscale spaces around the world, from retail spaces to institutional buildings.
Inside Ett Hem the feel is discerning, classy, warm. We love how the cozy library is put together: all painted wood panel and bookshelves, heaving with carefully chosen tomes all dotted with chic yet inviting couches and finished with Deco lamps and trinkets.
The restaurant has a great reputation and award-winning wine list.
Book a stay at Ett Hem. Rooms from $400.
5. Bank Hotel
The clue is in the name. This 115-room luxury hotel is housed in a former bank built in 1910.
Located in the Östermalm district, the boutique address features original Art Deco features like decorative stucco and marble floors. There are opulent Deco touches in the decor, too, like the plush velvet armchairs and retro lampshades. Otherwise the general aesthetic is a muted palette with some light-touch art deco shapes.
There's plenty of witty touches to the building's former incarnation as a bank. An example? The restaurant is called Bonnie's after Bonnie and Clyde. Guest can even stay in a "cozy" windowless former vault.
Book a stay at Bank Hotel. Rooms from $270.
6. Hotel Diplomat
This supremely elegant hotel has a rich history. It's an Art Nouveau building originally built by Hagström & Ekman, responsible for some of Stockholm's grandest buildings. The building housed many embassies over the years after the 1930s, hence the name.
It was later acquired by Karl and Dagmar Bergsten (of Hotel Dagmar, sister hotel) and turned into a hotel, of which their grandson is still chairman.
The look is typical Scandi light and bright mixed with the more classic style of a luxury hotel. Rooms at the front of the building overlook Stockholm Harbor.
Book a stay at Hotel Diplomat. Rooms from $340.
7. Hotel Ruth
A new addition to the Stockholm hotels scene and it's bang on-trend in that it looks like a Seventies throwback!
The retro furnishings feature playful touches like floral print headboards. We really like the individually designed kooky bathrooms, showing off the possibilities of a bold tile.
Ruth offers really tiny single rooms, handy for solo travel. The address also hosts Litz Art Space in the lobby. Breakfast caters widely to vegans and veggies.
Book a stay at Hotel Ruth. Rooms from $127.
8. Hotel J
Anchors away for this waterside hotel, about 25 minutes outside of the city center by regular ferry.
Part of the building dates from 1889, built as a summer house for a wealthy contractor. There's a very nautical summer house aesthetic: think Adirondack chairs and lots of navy and white. Most rooms have a sea view and all have balconies.
Guests are invited to take sea swims off the pier after a spot of sauna. Classic Swedish rest and recuperation, just on the doorstep of the city.
Book a stay at Hotel J. Rooms from $150.
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Hannah Meltzer is a Londoner by birth and Parisian by adoption. She previously worked on the staff of The Daily Telegraph’s travel desk, before moving to Paris in 2017. She writes regularly about travel and Parisian culture for The Telegraph as an expert destination correspondent. She has also written for The Independent, The Times, Vanity Fair, openDemocracy and Télérama. Recently she wrote a podcast series about Parisian culture for an LA-based production company.
Hannah is based in the 18th arrondissement in the less touristy side of Montmartre behind the Sacré-Coeur basilica. Though her life sometimes resembles a hammy cliché — sketching in sidewalk terraces, walking her beloved dog Babette through the streets of Montmartre — she is adamant she has not lost her London humour and open-mindedness, or her accent.
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