Sweden is set to be one of 2020’s most popular weekend getaway destinations, famed for its hygge vibes, cool hipster hangouts and Instagrammable backdrops.
I needed to see it for myself, but having never visited Scandinavia before, I decided to focus on Sweden’s capital, dedicating a whole long weekend trip to Stockholm in order to properly explore.
But where to stay? I needed somewhere cool, central, affordable and incredibly photogenic.
I decided on Hotel C Stockholm. And upon reflection, I can’t imagine staying anywhere else. It completely made my holiday.
Swedish photographic murals for bedroom wallpaper, fresh cinnamon rolls, an in-house Stockholm expert and an actual Ice Bar – and all in an extremely central location.
Here’s everything you need to know about Hotel C Stockholm…
The interiors at Hotel C are a huge talking point, with the distinctive Scandi style apparent from the first step inside the foyer. High ceilings, hygge furnishings and bright Swedish colours.
The huge open-plan lobby on the ground floor is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, centred around a yellow and white spotted artistic installation, with hanging lightbulbs. The lobby is surrounded by bright and comfy chairs and sofas, making it a relaxed place to hang out, and leading onto its in-house bar, Swede Hollow restaurant and of course the iconic Ice Bar.
The bedrooms are equally Instagrammable, opting for crisp, minimalist interiors and each featuring a cool photographic wall of different Stockholm landscapes.
I chose to spend most of my time in the cool hotel lobby, whether browsing the cool Scandi shop, planning my visit with the in-house Stockholm expert at her travel corner over a glass of Champagne, or reclining on a sofa with my book and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Hotel C’s restaurant is well worth a visit, if only for the name, Swede Hollow. Located in the main open-plan foyer, its trendy set-up allows you to enjoy some Swedish comfort food whilst people-watching.
With an emphasis on traditional Swedish grub, you can enjoy all of the delicacies from the restaurant, with Hotel C serving up everything from Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and Västerbotten cheese soufflé with whitefish roe to Pelle Janzon beef carpaccio and vegetarian cabbage pudding with parsnip créme. I would recommend sampling the Skagen – shrimps served in a bread bun with lumpfish roe. It is exquisite. And for dessert, we’re talking gingerbread-flavoured french toast with whipped cream and marmalade, and apple pie with ‘punsch’-flavoured ice cream.
Stockholm is a busy place and so I personally spent a lot of my evenings in the hotel restaurant and bar. It’s the perfect place to catch up with friends, play games and plan the day ahead over a large glass of wine.
Plush double beds, Scandi snacks, flat screen TVs and dreamy toiletries – the rooms at Hotel C are exactly what you need for a weekend away in the capital. It’s the Instagram-worthy decor however that really sets it apart. The rooms at Hotel C have different interiors depending on which you choose, boasting an extensive selection of photographic Swedish wallpaper murals. From snowy scenes to the streets of the Gamla Stan old town, each room features a different Scandi mural wall, featuring photographs by Stockholm’s Gunnar Smoliansky, Dawid (Björn Dawidsson), Bruno Ehrs and Hans Hammarskiöld. This backdrop combined with breakfast in bed makes for the perfect hygge Instagram.
Hotel C boasts its own ICEBAR. Yes, this is not a drill. This hotel plays home to ICEBAR Stockholm, the world’s first permanent ICEBAR, carved out of 40 tons of natural ice from Torne River in the northern Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi. It is definitely well worth a visit for a drink served in ice blocks for glasses but make sure you dress up warm! You will be cloaked in a thermal cape and gloves but the bar’s interior is -7°C. This bar is an obligatory stop for the instagrammers among us.
Hotel C Stockholm’s central location is one of its unique selling points. In fact, geographically, it doesn’t get much better. The hotel is based in Vasaplan – Norrmalm, a short walk from Rosenbad, Gamla Stan, Riddarholmen and Ostermalm. Everywhere essential is within walking distance from Hotel C, and during my three days there, I didn’t have to use public transport once. If for whatever reason I needed to though, the T-Centralen metro station was just a two minute walk away.
Something I do wish I had known ahead of time was how close the hotel was to the Arlanda Express high-speed shuttle train to Stockholm Arlanda Airport. The shuttle (which takes just 20 minutes) departs from a platform that is 50 metres from the hotel door. Bear that in mind when booking your holiday as I decided instead to fly into an airport that was a two hour coach journey away instead. Next time I stay at Hotel C, I will definitely be making the most of that close proximity!
The hotel’s on-hand Stockholm expert is not to be missed. Yes, the hotel’s stand out feature for me was the wonderful Anna, Stockholm expert and guide. ‘It’s National Champagne Day,’ she told me as she handed me a glass before sitting down with a map and a pencil within hours of my arrival. After quickly working out my sightseeing priorities, she mapped out my visit – what I wanted to do and how best to schedule it in.
From telling me where the locals go for Fika (the art of enjoying a cinnamon bun and a coffee) and cheap lunch spots in Gamla Stan old town, to knowing which attractions were closed on Sundays and what sights were better in the rain, her advice was invaluable. She even introduced me to my number one Stockholm spot, Rosendals Tradgard – Sweden’s answer to Petersham Nurseries.
After less than an hour, I left with a basic understanding of Swedish history, a grasp on the city and an informal structure to my whole trip. Every hotel should offer this service, and I will be going back if only for another session with Anna. It truly made my holiday.
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