24-Hour Room Service: Story Hotel, Riddargatan 6, Stockholm, Sweden
Saturday 03 October 2009
One of a cluster of new boutique hotels to open in Stockholm this year, Story Hotel is a charismatic addition to the Swedish capital. "Bohemian chic in downtown Stockholm," reads the blurb on the website. Its unique feature, however, is its ultra-modern, DIY take on the check-in process.
Taking the fashion for abolishing the reception desk to a new level, there's just a flat-screen computer on a shelf as you walk in.
In a trend that is taking hold across Scandinavia, you pre-pay for your room before you arrive and receive, by email or text, a five-digit code that you use to check yourself in, obtain your room number and then open the door to your room.
Design-wise, Bohemian chic isn't the whole story. From the outside of the hotel, down a little backstreet, it is nondescript-modern. Inside, however, it is "opulent-industrial": polished concrete floors, huge exposed pipes across the ceilings and lush velvet furnishings. The bar is influenced by a Parisian salon with rough concrete pillars and decadent pink lampshades. The restaurant has a cosy, underground feel: windows above your head are at street level and the restaurant is candlelit, even at breakfast.
Breakfast buffets can so often be a sorry affair. But this is Sweden, so you can expect little baskets of soft- and hard-boiled eggs, mismatched egg cups and chunky floral plates, delicious nutty breads, scrunched-up balls of Parma ham, tangy cheese, crunchy homemade granola and yoghurt, freshly squeezed juice and fresh fruit: ripe peaches, juicy slices of melon. Even the coffee (in a flask) was rich, aromatic and delicious.
The Bohemian, or arty, credentials come from a collaboration with Wonderwall ( wonderwall.se), which sells photographic, design and artists' prints. The five prints in the Story Collection are plastered across the bedroom walls and are available to buy from the shop from SEK630 (£54). And in the courtyard garden at the back, the funky furniture is spray-painted.
Close – too close – to the expensive shops. It might claim Bohemian chic, but the Boho district of Stockholm is Södermalm. Story Hotel is in the heart of designer boutique and restaurant territory in Ostermalm. It is just two minutes' walk to the underground, or T-bahn, station Ostermalmstorg, and one stop from there to Stockholm's main train station. Buses go from here to the various airports that serve the Swedish capital.
There are 82 rooms split into three sizes and eight categories. On the bottom rung is the Super Squeeze – perfect for a late-night stopover. Then comes the Friggebod – for the canny business traveller. The Bathroom is "the room to ask for when travelling with someone you like, and when working in the room is not your agenda". Medium-sized rooms are, somewhat prosaically, called Standard and Standard Balcony. Large rooms are Just Large, Meet n' Sleep (you can hold meetings for up to six), and the Lily Dam Suite, with a sitting room and balcony.
The beds are marshmallow soft, the pillows so light they almost float away, and, as is often the case in Sweden, there are two single duvets rather than one large one. The purple satin quilt on top adds a bit of luxury, the old wooden door headboard, a quirky touch.
The bathrooms have a retro feel with old-fashioned black toilet seats and floral ceramic basins on brass stands. The rooms also have free Wi-Fi – although you can only dial room-to-room and not out of the hotel on the phones.
Story Hotel, Riddargatan 6, Stockholm, Sweden (00 46 8 545 03940; storyhotels.com )
Double rooms start at SEK990 (£85) B&B.
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