The Grand Hotel, in Stockholm, Sweden, is a an icon of the city and country of Sweden, shining its light on the luxury hotel experience in Scandinavia like few others can. An institution with a strong history tied with the royal family of Sweden, the stately building sits in the city's prime location, on Södra Blasieholmshamnen, facing the Royal Palace and old town Stockholm. Since 1974 The Grand Hotel has hosted everyone from celebrities to heads of state, in utmost discretion, but has also served as a glamorous location for those who pop-in for a delicious meal or a couple of nights in one of Scandinavia's most exciting cities. I was a recent guest here and absolutely fell-in-love with its old-world-charm, modern amenities and sophistication that added an extra special sparkle to my trip.
Offering 300 rooms and 31 suites, The Grand Hotel has plentiful options to make every traveler feel at home, but maintains an intimate level of service. Upon checking-in, I was invited into the Champagne Bar, directly across from the iconic Cadier Bar fronted with glass windows overlooking the waterfront. A flute of Ruinart champagne was poured so I could enjoy a few bubbles before heading-up to my room - one of the stunning suites designed by famed Swedish architect, Martin Brudnizki. The Champagne Bar at The Grand Hotel is a big deal because alcohol laws are strict in Sweden, and the hotel manages to get around a few with the help of their relationship with The Royal Family. This is a nice benefit for those who like to indulge in libations late into the night.
My check-in was smooth and easy, as the front desk already had a copy of my passport provided by email. I was whisked up to my room where I found myself most impressed with the layout, design and views. Every one of the rooms and suites are comfortable and beautiful here, but a few have an extra special flair and feel that set them apart. You have the Ingrid Bergman suite, The Princess Lilian suite, The Royal suite, and others. My suite was elegant yet modern, with Mr. Brudnizki's signature use of pastel colors, rich fabrics, heavy and intricate lighting, and mixed metals. I was met upon entering with a large foyer, ample living room with sofa, chairs, television center and small dining table. In the bedroom I found a large king-sized bed dressed with sumptuous fabrics and perfect linens - most of which come from Swedish brands. There was a television in the bedroom as well and windows that faced old town, Gamla Stan. The suite had two bathrooms, one in the entry and one in the bedroom. My bedroom's bathroom was huge and marble-clad with a large tub, double-sinked vanity, gorgeous lighting and an enormous rain shower. It was the most comfortable room I've stayed in in quite a while.
The Grand Hotel offers guests a three dimensional experience within its walls. There is so much to take-in in terms of history, dining options, spa, and more. It's known for its stunning Nordic Spa and Fitness on the upper floors. Swedish culture is very much tied to nature and, even in a large city like Stockholm, its residents pride themselves on their city's cleanliness and healthy habits. The spa reflects this and encourages guests to book a massage, thermal dip or sauna - where one can take part in an age-old Swedish tradition.
Even in the details of the spa, such as its being built using granite from Grythyttan and Rauk stones from Gotland, the concept is to keep you grounded and as close to nature as possible. The Nordic Spa and Fitness also offers a great gym, where you can keep yourself moving and in-shape to remove a bit of the guilt from possible over-indulging during your stay.
I used the gym while I was on-property, but, I also did overindulge a bit - as one might expect when dining and drinking options are so attractive. The Veranda is a fabulous place for lunch or breakfast, and it has been a "must-visit" spot in the city since the late 1800s. Even if you're not staying at The Grand Hotel, you can still stop by for a meal. The restaurant offers a great mix of local and international fare for breakfast and lunch. They even offer a buffet, or classic Swedish Smörgåsbord, with a selection of well-curated hot and cold dishes. I often opted for homemade pancakes with Swedish lingonberry compote. But, I also did try Swedish eggs with traditional Swedish fish roe. Everything I ate here was delicious and made with utmost care.
What I love about all the food at The Grand Hotel Stockholm is that it's fresh, homemade, typically local and sourced locally. This is very Swedish and not following a trend. It's part of their culture and way of life - which I personally appreciate.
The Veranda offers a fabulous wine list and light appetizers such as smoked fish, finger sandwiches and more. Their high tea is a delightful experience and typically happens in the glass-enclosed area by The Champagne Bar, but, can also be enjoyed in the moodier Cadier Bar. I enjoyed two evenings of creative cocktails at The Cadier Bar which is as inventive as it is stunning. Their mixologists are some of the best in town and they are always coming up with new beverages to entice guests. The cocktails are often inspired by local ingredients with an international perspective and the ambiance in the bar is not only sexy, but relaxing. It pulls you in in such a way that you never want to leave. Whether you are there during the summer of winter months, this area of the hotel is a must-visit.
While at The Grand Hotel Stockholm I enjoyed a truly unique and remarkable dinner at famed chef Mathias Dahlgren's Matbaren. This stylish yet casual spot is loved by locals from Stockholm for its beautiful and informal ambiance, and high-quality food. The team here uses only the freshest seasonal ingredients to concoct a changing menu, daily. You'll find seafood on the menu as well as international dishes like pork bao buns made with slow roasted pork and crisp vegetables. The concept is small plates designed to share or take bit by bit until you're full.
I was in the mood to eat as my dinner was on the day of my arrival, and my journey had been long to get there. I indulged in the phenomenal bao buns, vegetable salads, and fresh fish. There were a mix of stylish locals at the restaurant and tourists to the city who had gotten the memo.
Over my three night stay at The Grand Hotel Stockholm I have to say I had a truly modern luxury Swedish experience through and through. I was thoroughly impressed with the service, especially the concierge team, and the details that had been considered here. I love the history, the elegance and the stories you'll here if you get to talking to the right member of the staff. It's a place where so many interesting and important people have stayed and is truly a hub for style and fun in the city. Aside from all these things I felt perfectly at home, comfortable, and able to just let go and relax - often spending chunks of time watching the ice float in and out of the harbor in front of the hotel from my room's window. For anyone looking for a truly special place to stay in Stockholm, look no further.
Images courtesy of The Grand Hotel Stockholm