Stay the night: Elite Plaza, Göteborg

Bicky Chakraborty is something of a phenomenon among Swedish hoteliers. In 1966 he left India to study social sciences at Stockholm University, but with a hope of somehow getting into showbiz. Instead, Bicky ended up creating the largest boutique hotel chain in Scandinavia. There are now 18 Elite Hotels in Sweden, all conversions of existing buildings. The flamboyant showman also has plans for 50 English pubs, known as The Bishop's Arms, across the country.

The Elite Plaza in Göteborg has been fashioned out of a granite block of 19th-century insurance offices on Västra Hamngatan, the city's main thoroughfare. The location is perfect if you've come to do business, visit the opera, or attend Ullevi Stadium.

On the ground floor, the designers Lars Helling and Christer Svensson have retained all the original features: English mosaic floors, Italian marble columns, stuccoed ceilings with gold-leafed decoration and huge chandeliers. Back in 1889 the Svea Fire & Life Insurance Company built themselves a veritable temple.

The main changes to the public areas are the Swea Hof restaurant in what was originally an open courtyard, a large collection of modern art on the walls and a big picture of Bicky Chakraborty inviting you in.

The reception staff seem to speak every language under the sun. They stand behind a long, modern, glass desk in what was originally the public lobby of Svea Insurance. Their backdrop is an impressive array of 13 works by the American-Bulgarian artist Christo, personally chosen by Mr Chakraborty.

The bedrooms

At first sight you wouldn't think there are 143 rooms across the five floors. The conversion job has kept everything very cosy. The single rooms are small and basic (and lacking in wardrobes) but the superior rooms and junior suites are stylish, recalling the best work of designer Olga Polizzi, with their broad beds, large headboards, flat-screen TVs that act as room dividers, original artwork and marble bathrooms.

Mr Chakraborty worked with Helling and Svensson to bring the dark wood panelling used to such good effect in the Plaza bar to the doors and even the ceilings of the larger bedrooms. Wireless internet access is free and the turn-down service adds a miniature of brandy to the ubiquitous bedside chocolate, something that can come in handy in the Swedish winter.

Toiletries in the deluxe rooms and suites are currently by Lavin. Suppliers are changed three or four times a year. In cheaper rooms the toiletries are a brand produced especially for Elite Hotels.

The food and drink

The Plaza bar opposite reception is open all day and has gone for a clubland feel with wood panelling, dark leather armchairs, burgundy carpets, low-level table lighting and chandeliers. This is the most comfortable public area in the hotel, especially on a cold night. There is a huge array of whiskies, the most expensive of which is the Swedish Mackmyra 02 Special. In the basement, The Bishop's Arms pub is convincing in the British spit-and-sawdust style with a few English touches – pitchfork, model Spitfire, and bogus football trophies.

The selection of beers runs to nearly 100, of which half are imported from England. The Swea Hof restaurant, leading off from the Plaza bar, is a clever use of space; a narrow courtyard sealed off three floors up by a metal and glass canopy, while huge white lampshades make the dining area seem less vertiginous. The food was recently described in a local paper as "criminally good". The lobster soup, seafood platter, and reindeer leg are all excellent. Service at breakfast is sluggish, but impeccable in the evening. The only drawback is the over-generous use of marble on the walls and floor of the restaurant which makes for over-lively acoustics. Allow SKr460-690 (£38-£58) for three courses, excluding wine.

The extras

There is a small gym with sauna. Göteborg's splendid neo-classical cathedral sits across on the other side of Västra Hamngatan from the hotel, and the broad Hamn canal is just round the corner. There is a pleasant walk along its banks to Gustav Adolfs Torg, the historic centre of the old city, containing a statue in honour of its founder, King Gustav II Adolf – the great general Gustavus Adolphus.

The access

There are no rooms adapted for wheelchair access but the modern glass lift takes wheelchairs, and ramps will be laid for the front steps. Children are welcome: one child aged between two and 12 years old sleeps free in the parents' room. Additional children pay SKr200 (£17) each. The question of pets is handled on a case-by-case basis.

The bill

Doubles start at SKr1,250 (£105) per night and junior suites at SKr2,300 (£194), including breakfast.

The address

Elite Plaza, Västra Hamngatan 3, 404 22 Göteborg, Sweden (00 46 31 720 40 00;

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice