The Stockholm Guide
First settled in the Stone Age, Stockholm wears its ancient history well, deftly blending it with all the innovations of a modern city, from New Nordic cuisine to one of the most exquisite hotels, ever. Sprawling over fourteen islands in the Scandinavian archipelago—it sits where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea, making it a strategic harbor back in the day—it’s actually shockingly easy to navigate, whether by train, boat, car, or bike. There are ample opportunities to make use of all modes, though in warm months, we prefer getting around by bike, as there’s a city rental program with plenty of drop racks (you can buy cards at all 7-11’s). If you hail cabs, keep in mind that there is no standard fare, so check the car’s window before hopping in.
While Stockholm is the perfect destination for aimless wandering, it is dotted with must-sees to punctuate the days, including Moderna Museet, the Vasa Museum, Rosendals Garden, and a world famous amusement park and ABBA museum if so inclined.
Ett HemSköldungagatan 2, Östermalm | +46.820.059.0
This is one of the most celebrated hotels in the world, in part because, in translation of its name, it feels like you are home. With only twelve suites, no room is quite the same, and they are all outfitted in a way to make you feel like you're occupying an opulent guest room, not an anonymous hotels (there are fireplaces, novels, and exquisite amenities at every turn). Designer Ilse Crawford’s touch is evident in the sheepskin throws, chaise lounges, and mix of textures, from wicker to silk. Special touches are what makes staying here so utterly enjoyable, from the freshly baked cakes put out every afternoon in the drawing room, to the roaring fires. Breakfast in the walled garden may be the best in Stockholm—freshly baked bread, homemade lingonberry jam, granola, and of course, smoked salmon—it’s borderline impossible to leave.
Nobis HotelNorrmalmstorg 2-4, Norrmalm | +46.861.410.00
Nobis is one of the classic, old-school hotel options in Stockholm, replete with high ceilings, chandeliers, and lots of marble. While the minimalist, Scandinavian-style rooms have all the appointments you expect from a luxury hotel—high thread-count sheets, well-stocked minibars, and chic products in the bathrooms—they are on the small side. Situated on Norrmalmstorg Square, and walking distance to the city's best shopping and incredibly strollable Berzelli Park, the location is hard to beat. After a long day of sightseeing, hotel restaurant Caina serves some of the best Italian in the city, after which you can just roll straight into bed.
Story HotelRiddargatan 6, Östermalm | +46.854.503.940
This converted former apartment building still has a homey feel to it, despite all the fancy upgrades (like kitchenettes and workout spaces), and center-of-it-all location. The bedrooms are a blend of old and new, with clever, textural details—like using the old apartment doors as headboards and leaving some of the walls in their raw stone form. The hotel has a '30s-style Asian restaurant with the requisite velvet sofas and dark wood tables, and the hotel bar is packed to the rafters every weekend. Not the place for a relaxing stay, but if you want to feel in the middle of it all, this is where you want to be—right next to Stureplan, Stockholm's nightlife hotspot and in the vicinity of the city's best shopping.
Prince van OrangienBeckholmsvägen 26, Djurgården | +46.855.153.105
When Magnus Ek and partner Agneta Green closed Oaxen Skärgårdskrog and moved their culinary operation back to the city, they purchased a stunning 1930's Dutch ship that moors near their new restaurant, Oaxen Krog. After a painstaking refurbishment, the couple opened a small, six-room hotel on the ship. Each of the surprisingly spacious rooms (several have private balconies overlooking the canal) is beautifully turned out with cast iron bathtubs, velvet chaise lounges, and four-poster beds—and despite the premise, the experience isn't at all gimmicky. A major draw: Breakfast is served onboard.
Berns HotelNäckströmsgatan 8, Östermalm | +46.856.632.200
In a city filled with achingly hip boutique hotels, Berns, in upscale Östermalm, is the alternatively kooky option. Favored by visiting bands, celebrities, and political figures, the hotel bar and restaurant are permanently packed with a fairly riotous crowd. The accommodations are small but unique, with large-scale, modern photographs decorating the walls, bright rugs, and cushions to add color; and many of the rooms have the added bonus of French balconies and window seats. The weekend brunch is the major draw even if you're not staying over: Sit in the wood-paneled, chandelier-lit dining room, take a break from Nordic cuisine, and tuck into a full Asian spread, from sushi to salads.
Miss ClaraSveavägen 48, Norrmalm | +46.844.067.00
Named after the headmistress of the girl’s school that once occupied this Art Nouveau building, Miss Clara is a minimalist's dream. Transformed by architect Gert Wingårdh, the building retains that early 20th century feel with long corridors and high ceilings, but with all the necessary modern upgrades. The rooms are unfussy and very Scandinavian, with hardwood herringbone floors, white walls, and dark furniture. It's also incredibly well-located, with Gamla Stan (the picturesque Old Town), The Royal Palace, and countless fika-appropriate cafés just a short walk away if you fancy a change from the hotel's restaurant and in-house pizzeria (run in collaboration with famed Naples pizza joint, da Michele).
Hotel SkeppsholmenGröna gången 1, Skeppsholmen | +46.840.723.00
Built in 1699 to house Sweden’s Royal Marines, and sitting right behind the stunning Moderna Museet, this eco-friendly, chic hotel is right on the waterfront, on one of the calmer islands in this busy city. The interior is clean, bright, and truly Scandinavian—think white painted wood ceilings, blond hardwood floors, and blue-and-yellow accents for a touch of color. Thoughtful design details include writing desks in each of the seventy-eight rooms, big windows (many of them overlooking the pretty harbor) and comfy bucket-style chairs.
The Grand HôtelSödra Blasieholmshamnen 8, Norrmalm | +46.867.93500
If you're looking for that over-the-top, opulent but classic, hotel experience, The Grand Hôtel is your best bet. Rooming guests since 1874, the waterfront location looking over at The Royal Palace and the cobbled streets of Gamla Stan (the city's Old Town) is hard to beat. The accommodations are brimming with old-world charm—soaring ceilings with crown moldings, four-poster beds with high thread count sheets, and luxurious bathrooms. The hotel is home to acclaimed chef Matthias Dahlgren's Michelin-starred restaurant Matbaren (we also love Dahlgren's more casual café Green Rabbit on nearby Tegnérgatan). After a long day of sightseeing, check into the hotel's Nordic spa for a series of invigorating, Scandi-style treatments including hot and cold baths, a pine-scented sauna, and traditional Swedish massage.