Ett Hem, Lärkstaden, Stockholm, Sweden *****

Q: What is it? A: A home. In fact the hotel is a former private residence built in 1910. It has 12 rooms. It has the look. It has absolutely impeccable service. It doesn’t exactly come with a view but certainly with charm.


”This place is sooo Swedish!” Jaa, that’s why spirit of London-born (to a Danish mother) designer Ilse Crawford is hovering over the public areas. And as most of us, who didn’t get stuck in Sölvesborg, would testify; Swedishness is something highly international.


If you end up in this environment, it means you’ve booked yourself a regular-sized double room. The touch of Ilse’s magic wand can be felt here as well, including the clever use of textiles and materials, but most of all though a quiet color scheme. Also, the suite has a free-standing marble bathtub. Yes, I’ve seen it in photos.


The very cozy and comfy hotel room shot from the headboard. The one thing I’d get rid of would be the TV. Here, it became an out-of-place tech statement on top of a brass-finish cabinet. No, I don’t follow ”So You Think You Can Dance”, nor am I going for the ”Bron” TV-series. I think TVs are the next thing to be brought in only by request of the guest.


If you want to go and do your thing, you go here. Marble and brass it is. Brass tapware, a brass stand for the sink and brass buttons for flushing. Other rooms have more spectacular bathrooms that end up in magazines. Lacking the bathtub, this one was designed with function in mind (and very effective underfloor heating).


Walk down the stairs and have breakfast in the Greenhouse. You are asked where you’d like to sit and then, within minutes you have a lot of goodies arranged in front of you. Eggs? Fruit salad? You order. The kitchen delivers à la minute.


Everything is done à la minute. And while I didn’t really test the kitchen’s capabilities, it was still a blessing to get a bowl of fresh berries. And freshly squeezed OJ. And bread simply to die a little for. And a more than potent plate of scrambled eggs.


The courtyard garden of this 1910 residential building is an unusual thing to find. Located in Lärkstaden, a part of town with a slightly higher-than-average density of embassies (there are 12 of them) and very wealthy folks, you’d imagine that this is an oasis of tranquility. The noisiest place would be the fire basket.


So you’re coming here to check in? It could be one of the most homey receptions I’ve ever walked into. The lack of counters and other types of dividers separating guests and staff is something you’d actually notice with time. You are welcome into the kitchen at anytime, open the refrigerator and pop a bottle of champagne open.


This is the library, which also doubles as a conference room, should you be so careless and ignorant to bring a business gathering into this home. Well, some people do. Possibly feeling more efficient in these laid-back spaces. Well, bless them!


OK, here’s what you do not do at Ett Hem: You simply do not sit down at the grand piano and play at night. Not if you’re having a German guest on the 1st floor who is a light sleeper, as he will storm down the stairs wearing a robe and slippers and harshly tell the staff to deal with you sofort, bitte! For the record; I was playing Prince’s ”Purple Rain” in a breezy and light manner, so I’d say that our Frankfurter friend had to be of the more, ahem… particular kind.

Five double rooms. Seven suites. That’s it.
Stop. Correction. Erase. That’s not it. Just like the bedroom in your house is significant for rest and a few other things, it’s not your entire home. Other areas count. It’s in the name: Ett Hem – A Home. But we’ll get back to the public areas soon. Location first: The very well-heeled area informally known as Lärkstaden (Lark City), consisting of 16 blocks or so, built in the early 1900s. Blocks are of irregular size, dominated by façades of handmade bricks, balancing between jugend and the national romantic epoque. It’s unique. A city within the city. Architect was Fredrik Dahlberg. Opened as a hotel in May 2012 – 102 years after the building was completed.

The antidote of the Mondrian.
I love the homey style of Ilse Crawford. The Soho House New York, High Road House and Mathias Dahlgren’s Matbaren caught this writer’s attention quite a while ago. The subdued colors, the warm coziness and, sprinkled on top, a mid-century modernism with occasional and very controlled clashes between cold and warm textures. It’s very much a hotel style for grownups. To appreciate it fully, I suggest you’re past the showy, the goofy and the spectacular. It’s very much the antidote of Mondrian South Beach.

But design is not its real quality.
Take a look at the photos above. See the front desk? That sums up the idea of this hotel in one simple item. There are no barriers between the house and its guests. You are literally in someone’s home. And that requires something quite special from the staff. And they nail it. Again and again. Breakfast is a breeze, despite it being ordered to a couch setting. As mentioned above, this writer assaulted the grand piano at night (wasn’t too late, if you ask me…), which prompted a complaint from a guest on the 1st floor, and the manager dealt with me in the most amazing and friendly fashion. The staff to guest-ratio is extremely high for being Sweden. And at this level, it has to be.

They used to call it hospitality.
Repeating myself here: Vibes at Ett Hem are as homelike as they will ever be. And it has been written more than once: ”Like spending the night at a good friends house”. A friend with outstanding taste, that is. And a very well developed sense for anticipating your needs. Hoteliers who have adopted the somewhat odd idea that a hotel needs to be cooler than its guests (ping, André Balazs!), should book themselves a room here and take notes. A serious chunk of the hospitality industry have one, three or seventeen things to learn from Ett Hem. Myself? I’d like to make it my home, which in my book is just about the most outstanding review a hotel can get.

Ett Hem
Sköldungagatan 2
114 27 Stockholm
Sweden

+46-8-200 590

Book yourself in at Ett Hem by clicking here!

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