Q: What is it? A: A relatively new place in Stockholm. The address is more than central. The Art Nouveau building is beautiful. The people behind this hotel know a few things about hospitality. So, why is this place so damn …looking for words here, boring?
Celebrated architect Gert Wingårdh is the man behind what you see in this photo. He has won numerous awards and has proved his brilliance with buildings like the House of Sweden (home to the Swedish embassy) in Washington DC. But, in all honesty, this will not go down in history as one of his masterpieces. In fact, it didn’t feel like a great place to stay in.
So you start a hotel. You spare no expenses when furnishing it. You know that your work will be scrutinized by the press, the public, other hoteliers and your own aunt. Artists and photographers have their work on display in the lobby and then… with the pressing of one button the information system shows… read closely. Hint: It’s in the headline.
As always, the devil is lurking in the details. And in proofreading. Here, hotel management was clearly cutting corners, assuming that there was no need for a proper translator: ”Possibility to leave you baggage at the hotel is available.” Well, OK…
I’d like to write the management a letter on this paper. The stationary is attractive. The materials chosen are attractive. The entire hotel comes with quite a number of interesting solutions. Sadly, they don’t work together to create an attractive hotel.
There’s no limit to what hoteliers and booking sites are capable of in order to drive clicks. This piece of furniture has been hailed as an innovation. It should be labeled an act of confusion. The only lasting effect is that amenities that should be found in the bathroom all of a sudden had a small compartment in a drawer.
Restaurant lounge. Here, I have received amazing service. I have also met a few staff members clearly with their minds set on other careers. And that, dear friends, is somewhat confusing as their sister hotel, Stallmästaregården, really care about their guests and deliver on their promise.
I imagine the editors of those American design and lifestyle magazines completely salivating over this curated jungle of Swedish glass. I simply can not remember whether those items were for sale or not (need to check that ASAP). They look nice, though..
They sure followed the recipe. But how did it taste?
It looked like a totally foolproof concept. Something that couldn’t get screwed up. Everything is there. Almost. They found a centrally located, gorgeous building. They hired a fancy architect. They spared no expenses when furnishing the place. In theory, this could have been the most exciting hotel in Stockholm. As you may have guessed by now, it isn’t.
Let’s look at the pieces of this interesting puzzle.
The Art Nouveau building.
It’s housed in a former Ateneum girls’ school building, dating back to 1910, designed by architects Hagström & Ekman, who were among the most productive architects around the turn of the 20th century. (they are responsible for no less than 144 buildings i Stockholm) When turning it into a hotel, the contract went to Gert Wingårdh, probably Sweden’s most celebrated architect during the last 15-20 years.
The company running the show, is the Nobis Group, who have been at the helm of some of Sweden’s most celebrated restaurants as well as the famous Café Opera nightclub. They also ventured into hotels, more notably the Stallmästaregården (recommended!) and the Hotel Skeppsholmen (great location but… no, avoid!). Not exactly beginners when it comes to hospitality. And here’s where the real mystery starts. I have been greeted by some of the most dedicated bartenders I’ve ever met at Miss Clara. And some of the most indifferent front desk clerks… Why?
I bet the PowerPoint-presentations looked fantastic.
I will try to not pay too much attention to the design flaws in the rooms. It honestly felt like sleeping in a garage. Wingårdh’s genius can’t be felt. I will let pics and captions above tell that part of the story. The problem with this hotel is that it has close to zero atmosphere. And the young staff seems to be not very keen to create any good vibes. Artists and photographers have been brought in to turn lounges and lobby into more exciting areas, but the spirit is simply not there. I’ve got a six-letter word to describe this hotel: Boring.
Maybe they need time?
In all fairness, this hotel haven’t really had too much time or, naah… wait. That wasn’t true. They’ve been in business since April 2014. Being boutique-y, positioning themselves towards a discerning clientele means that we as guests should expect something better. Maybe Miss Clara should send their staff to the aforementioned Stallmästaregården, operating under the same company umbrella, where they seem to do most things right. Yes, how about that? At least give them a corporate discount…
111 34 Stockholm