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Best hotels in Stockholm 2024: Where to stay for location and character

Fiona Tapp selects the best hotels in the Swedish capital – from urban cool to budget boutiques

Fiona Tapp
Monday 26 June 2023 10:25 BST
<p>Known as “The Beauty on the Water”, Stockholm is built on 14 islands</p>

Known as “The Beauty on the Water”, Stockholm is built on 14 islands

Open, modern and diverse, with serious sustainability credentials, yet still with an eye to preserving spots such as the historic Gamla Stan district, Stockholm combines both old-world European splendour and clean, contemporary design.

Here, you’ll find a palace and museums cosied up to trendy vegan restaurants committed to sourcing local produce and indie stores selling minimalist souvenirs that are too good to give away.

Central Stockholm spreads across 14 islands, with Lake Malaren to the west and the Baltic sea to the east, but getting around this small city is simple. To the east lies upmarket Ostermalm (the spot for shopping) and Djurgarden (green spaces and museums); in the middle, Gamla Stan (royals, old town); and to the south Sodermalm (cool cafés enticing hipsters from all over Sweden). With a fair wind and a stout pair of shoes, it’s all readily walkable.

But if you’d rather travel while sitting down, make use of the excellent public transport system of buses and metro (look out for the amazing underground art). There’s bike and electric scooter hire everywhere, too – with pick-up and drop-off – while boats provide quick and scenic hops between the islands of this beautiful city archipelago.

As for where to call home (temporarily, at least), we’ve rounded up the pick of the best – perfect for a couple of nights of sightseeing or an extended stay in the city, these handpicked hotels will make your trip to the Swedish capital even more special.

Best hotel for unique rooms: Haymarket by Scandic

Neighbourhood: Norrmalm

Head to the Haymarket for a break from generic design-by-numbers decor

Each of the 401 rooms at this downtown, elegant, Art Deco hotel, built in the 1920s, screams individuality. If you choose a suite, you can expect velvet furnishings in colourful hues, graphic prints on the wardrobe and unusual light fixtures. But even in the simpler single rooms, you’ll still find movie-star-style lighted dressing tables and bespoke wallpaper. It’s worth noting the cheapest rooms have no window – a fact that should be flagged wherever you’re booking.

In a nod to Greta Garbo, the iconic movie star who stayed here, the hotel's cafe bistro is called Greta’s. With its candy-striped ceiling and view of the busy street below, it’s ideal for people-watching.

Best hotel for luxury: Grand Hotel

Neighbourhood: The Old Town

This hotel has hosted iconic stars, including Martin Luther King and Frank Sinatra

The five-star Grand Hotel is known for its discretion, especially among its celebrity clientele. However, it will admit to hosting stars and power players throughout history, including Martin Luther King, Princess Grace of Monaco and Frank Sinatra.

Ideally located right opposite the Old Town and the Royal Palace, the Grand also has a full Nordic spa. Rooms are predictably sumptuous and large, with plush sofas, DUX bedding and Bottega Veneta toiletries.

Best hotel for exploring the city: Nobis Hotel

Neighbourhood: Norrmalm

Nobis hotel is located in the heart of the action

Situated in the Norrmalmstorg Square (made famous by a robbery in 1973 that gave the world the term “Stockholm Syndrome” to describe how the hostages bonded with their captors), this hotel is in the heart of the action. Many of the city’s top attractions – including the 13th-century Old Town, the Royal Palace, designer stores, museums and galleries – are all within easy walking distance. You can also take a boat tour to view the archipelago at the ferry terminal, which is a five-minute walk from the hotel.

Rooms have city or courtyard views and are furnished in a chic, modern design with muted tones of grey and tan leather.

Best hotel for personal service: Lydmar Hotel

Neighbourhood: The Old Town

The Lydmar delivers on personalised service

Staff at the Lydmar are local experts who go above and beyond to provide guests with an authentic experience of all Stockholm has to offer. You’ll feel like you’ve been invited over for dinner with new friends in the laid-back dining room, where you can sample some locally caught oysters.

All the spacious, individually designed rooms have king-sized beds, a seating area, and you can enjoy your breakfast in bed at no extra charge. Take your coffee up to the second-floor terrace, which also holds special events during the week.

Access to the nearby Grand Hotel’s fitness centre and discounts for admission to the Nordic spa is also included in the room rate.

Best hotel for urban cool: Story Hotel Riddargatan

Neighbourhood: Riddargatan

Small but perfectly formed

If you’re not claustrophobic and you’ve packed light, reserve the “super squeeze” room – it’s just 123 square feet. In this compact space, the hotel has still managed to fit in an enviable entertainment system, including a Smart LCD TV, plus a double bed and a minibar stocked with complimentary products.

The distressed walls, including industrial-looking exposed pipes, might not be to everyone’s taste, but the decor will suit urbanites looking for a ’gram-worthy bolthole close to nightspots, restaurants and attractions. Breakfast buffet and wifi are included in the room rate.

Best hotel for budget travellers: Motel L Hammarby Sjöstad

Neighbourhood: Martensdal

With stylish interiors and a fitness centre, Motel L is an excellent choice for travellers on a budget

Far more stylish than your usual motel room, the Motel L offers guests an affordable and comfortable base to explore the city.

The whimsical double rooms here are decorated in a riot of colour and pattern by Swedish illustrator and designer Lisa Bengtsson, and feature flatscreen TVs, free wifi and bathrooms with a rain shower. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s own fitness centre.

Best hotel for romance: Hotel Rival

Neighbourhood: Sodermalm

Lovebirds looking for a weekend of romance should head to The Rival Hotel

Why leave the room at all? At The Rival, you can order breakfast in bed while luxuriating in Egyptian cotton sheets, after selecting the perfect pillow using the special menu.

Each room represents a scene from a Swedish movie, continuing the design legacy that comes from being housed in an old Art Deco cinema. Gamla Stan is just a 10-minute walk away – if you can bear to get out of bed.

Best hotel for a boutique experience: Ett Hem

Neighbourhood: North (Vasastan)

The relaxing courtyard garden at Ett Hem

Built in 1910 in an artsy neighbourhood north of most of the sights, this boutique former townhouse has 12 rooms, which provide a peaceful retreat from the city. Ett Hem means “a home”, and you’ll feel like you’re staying at the house of a very stylish, wealthy friend.

Visit the courtyard garden and relax, wrapped in one of the blankets, and order food to eat there or choose to dine in the library, kitchen or greenhouse.

Best hotel for fitness fanatics: Downtown Camper by Scandic

Neighbourhood: Norrmalm

Comprising twigs and sticks, Downtown Camper’s wellness lounge resembles a stylish birds’ nest

This hotel has its own wellness lounge called The Nest, which is covered in sticks and twigs, and looks like an oversize birdhouse. Featuring a sauna (this is Sweden after all), a swimming pool and a full gym with a rooftop location, The Nest provides amazing views across the city to enjoy after your workout (yoga classes are also available for an additional fee).

If you fancy working up a sweat elsewhere in Stockholm, the hotel is happy to loan you a range of sports equipment, including bicycles, longboards, skateboards and kayaks.

Rooms are modern, Scandinavian in design and feature atrium or street views (though the cheapest have no windows).

Best hotel for design-lovers: Hotel Skeppsholmen

Neighbourhood: Skeppsholmen

The original features at Hotel Skeppsholmen date back to the 17th century

Hotel Skeppsholmen is a rare find: a design hotel that has managed to respect the building’s original features, dating back to the 1600s, yet still integrates all the amenities that modern guests expect. This feat was achieved by Stockholm-based architects Claesson Koivisto Rune and the Design Hotels group.

On this closest of the city’s archipelago islands, you’ll feel far from urban sprawl, yet you’re just minutes from many of the city’s finest attractions, including the ferry over to Gamla Stan.

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