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If any hotel can buck that strangely persistent masculine naming trend, surely we can count on a girls' school-turned-hotel to do so. And so, here we have the prim sounding, new member of the Design Hotels Collection, Miss Clara,from Sweden's Nobis Group.
Centrally located north of Kungsgatan Avenue, the century-old Art Nouveau building that houses the former Ateneum girl’s school has been lovingly restored under the direction of Gert Wingårdh of architecture firm Wingårdhs. High ceilings and large windows remain intact and all 92 rooms follow the hot Swedish architect’s unique concept of an outward-facing property, where the windows facing Sveavägen boulevard are treated as "center stage".
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Stockholm-based Scandic Hotels gave itself a great 50th Anniversary gift last year, announcing the launch of a spinoff brand for a new generation of traveler (ahem, Millennials)-- HTL Hotels.
The first hotel under the new flag, HTL Kungsgatan, is scheduled to open this May with 274 rooms in Stockholm. The concept is simple-- provide an affordable, Nordic-mod (we just made that up), digital and mobile friendly, urban accommodation that leaves out what you don’t want anyway.
Nordic Hotels has long been technology driven, and we congratulate Scandic for receiving “the digital winner” award earlier this month (HSMAI European Award) for their on-line check out system.
Ever seen that Charlie Sheen movie The Chase? Remember how he steals the beautiful blonde's car and takes her hostage, but he charms her so well that she ends up straddling him as they cruise down the highway, her back to the steering wheel?
Typical Charlie, we know, but it's also a perfect example of what's called the Stockholm Syndrome -- when the victim begins to identify with the person holding the gun. It doesn't take a genius to figure out this phrase stems from Sweden, but how? And why? According to the FBI, roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm Syndrome during or after an incident.
Why compassion arises for captors is still up for debate, but we got an up-close look at the origin of the phenomenon last week during a visit to the new Hotel Nobis in Stockholm. In 1973, Stockholm made headlines around the world when a bank robber held four people hostage for six days. The southern part of the hotel building (the white part adjacent to the Nobis in the photo below) was where the bank used to be, where the hostages were held.
It’s no secret we love a swanky suite, but ones dedicated to Hollywood divas of yesteryear are even better. The Radisson Blu Strand Stockholm is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a new suite named after one of its most famous guests, Greta Garbo.
The Greta Garbo Suite is inspired by the star's costumes and jewelry, as well as art and items from her movies of which grace the black and gold room, and were given to the hotel by Garbo’s family, who still holiday there and had a hand in the design.
Garbo, who was born in Sweden, first visited the 152-room hotel as an aspiring actress back in the ‘20s and it continued to be her favorite spot well after she made it big in Tinseltown.
Engelbrekt Church, a Stockholm monument near the site of a proposed boutique hotel that has locals "up in arms"
Residents of one of Stockholm's most well-to-do neighborhoods are throwing a ritzy hissy fit over the construction of a new hotel, though it's unclear whether they take issue with the fact that the boutique property will require converting a historic building, because it won't live up to their posh standards, or a combination of both.
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It seems as if Holiday Inn isn't the only hotel to begin testing keyless hotel rooms.
The Clarion Hotel in Stockholm has also started to replace hotel room keys with guests' mobile phones. But while Holiday Inn uses Open Ways technology, whose software guests download to their phones, the Clarion is using Near Field Communication technology so that guests can simply hold up their phone to the room door to open it.
The technology also lets guests check-in before arriving at the hotel and to check-out remotely. And the hotel hopes the keyless technology will actually help with guest saftey.
If a mobile phone is lost, the access credentials can be revoked remotely and then reissued. This makes it impossible for unauthorized people to use a lost or stolen NFC mobile phone.
We've always been, ahem, excited by the presence of sex kits in hotels, often found in the mini-bar with products ranging from the merely protective (a packet of condoms) to the truly scintillating (vibes, silk ties, gold handcuffs, et.al.) But as with on demand hotel porn, sex kits aren't always an excitable amenity for everyone.
The Berns Hotel in Stockholm recently started offering sex toys in their minibars. Nothing as scandalous as pictured on this news site but the for-purchase options include handcuffs, stay ups and a vibrator. Yet apparently, these new offerings are not jibing with the police crackdown on prostitution:
The hotel is trying to glorify something that we are working to de-glorify," said Tom Eckerling at Stockholm police to the newspaper.
The hotel has no plans to change its minibar assortment however and reported that the response has been positive from guests, which it claims is made up of a chic fashion, art and music clientèle.
OK so normally we wouldn’t be so excited by the idea of a “Nordic spa”. In our heads, Scandi beauty treatments scream naked saunas, self-flagellation with birch sticks and lots of snow. But we’re making an exception for the Grand Hotel in Stockholm which opened a subtly different “Nordic-inspired spa”, Raison d’Etre, yesterday.
Yes, they have the birch – harvested from local forests, don’t you know – but they do far more exciting stuff than beat you with it. The Be Rested package is a massage ad “hot birch pack” to make you sleep, while the Be Balanced treatment claims to “gently realign” your bones through the power of, um, mung bean pillows.
They’re pretty pricey – 2190 Kronor, or $318, apiece, but last two hours. And the website – which asks you questions like “How do you want to be today? Like a raindrop falling from the sky?” and “If you were a tree, what would you be?” – is really calling to us. And how idyllic does that pool look for a winter soak. Gimmicky, us? Never.
Want a free (and chic) hotel room during your stay in Stockholm, Sweden? If you're a creativemeaning an artist, writer, designer (whether graphic, web, fashion or other) or musicianthen the Creators' Inn By Elvine is for you.
A concept from the Swedish fashion brand Elvine, the Creators Inn has taken over a space within the Scandic Malmen Hotel in downtown Stockholm and transformed it into a 3-room suite with interior design and amenities based on answers to two questions:
1. "What are the most important needs of a traveling creator? How do they differ from “regular” guests?"
2. "What would your ultimate room for creators look like? What kind functions, products and services would be provided for the visiting creators?"
Scandinavian devotees might very well froth at the mouth over Stockholm’s Clarion Sign hotel at least if the NYT is to be believed. Declared Stockholm’s biggest hotel, with “550-odd rooms,” the hotel also won Times-er Frank Bruni’s declaration that it’s “quite possibly” the most Scandinavian (based on Bruni’s travels in Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and “Ikea stores in several continents,” that is) “a sort of overblown diorama of the Scandinavian sensibility.”
But what does that actually mean? Mod Arne Jacobsen chairs and four kinds of pickled herring at the free breakfast buffet, apparently.
While we waited ever so patiently for Nov. 4th to pass, we hardly noticed it was, uh, November. In fact, it’s sorta-kinda almost Thanksgiving, which means the holiday season is about to infiltrate every last cranny of your life (much like Sarah Palin did the last two months, but with fewer Tina Fey impersonations).
In other words: It’s time to shop. And what better way to celebrate our new “socialist” government than with a holiday to Sweden? (We joke!) If you agree--and we think you should--consider the Grand Hôtel Stockholm (AKA the “official Nobel Prize hotel” since 1901).
Would you pay $200 or more to stay at a 228-year hotel that once was a brewery, then headquarters for Stockholm's guards (a.k.a., "sausages," earning the building the enviable moniker of "a sausage pot"); next as a jail of sorts, housing thieves and beggars; and later as a temporary hospital during the city's cholera epidemic in 1834, before finally becoming a hotel with no room service and very few individual bathrooms in 1976? The New York Times thinks you should.