Raison d’Etre Grand Hôtel Stockholm – Spa & Fitness *****

Q: What is it? A: A very tranquil, stylish, classy place for mindful-inner-peace-soul-soothening-oil-massage-ness. This is what you get for 15 million €!

The pool area is by no means ginormous but it's quite nice to hang out there, before a treatment, (or after). Access to this area is free for hotel guests.

The pool area is by no means ginormous but it’s quite nice to hang out there, before a treatment, (or after). Access to this area is free for hotel guests.

Where the boys hang out: The men’s changing room at the Raison d’Etre spa. Note: The Stockholm archipelago image on the wall is not a photo. It’s a mosaic.

Where the boys hang out: The men’s changing room at the Raison d’Etre spa. Note: The Stockholm archipelago image on the wall is not a photo. It’s a mosaic.

Probably the nicest locker area I’ve seen. Ever. Ash wood rarely looked so nice.

Probably the nicest locker area I’ve seen. Ever. In. My. Life. Pure materials. Unfinished. Ash wood rarely looked so nice.

A Swedish novelty that has been mentioned in a gazillion travel magazines worldwide: The bucket shower in the men's area. Pull the chain and you're soaked!

A Swedish novelty that has been mentioned in a gazillion travel magazines worldwide: The bucket shower in the men’s area. It’s easy to use: Pull the chain and you’re soaked!

The steam room, before it got filled with steam. To the right: Seats with (not steaming) steam boosters…

The funky steam room, before it got filled with funky steam. To the right: Seats with (not steaming) steam boosters. To the left: You’ll be sitting in the oriel window. Literally.

The dark stone in the pool is one of the world’s oldest materials; two billion year old slate from a quarry near Grythyttan, Sweden.

The dark stone in the pool is one of the world’s oldest materials; two billion year old slate from a quarry near Grythyttan, Sweden.

My guess is that they decided to not save on anything.
The total bill: 100 million Swedish Kronor and then some.

Let’s admit it: Sweden is the land of lagom and will most probably remain lagom for the foreseeable future. Things in Sweden should not be too bad or too good, they should be… lagom. The word translates to just right*. Maybe the lagom-factor is why Sweden has never seen such a thing as a luxury spa. Until now. In mid-November 2009, the doors were opened to the two first floors of the Burmanska Palace wing at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm. On the inside: A 1,400m² (15,069sq ft) very un-lagom haven of luxury.

I’m definitely not a spa guy. I must admit that…
…I was a skeptic before seeing it in real life. There was the marketing fluff talking about celebrating “the history and landscape of the Swedish archipelagos” blending it with Nordic Mythology. It took me about 15 seconds to become a convert. The locker area is possibly the coolest use of ash wood I’ve ever seen. As I went down to the spa early in the morning, the men’s changing room was empty and peaceful, offering a regular Swedish sauna, a plunge pool just in front of the artful mosaic image of the Stockholm archipelago and… a bucket shower. It’s very Swedish, yet not very lagom at all.

The pool area is grand. But let’s talk treatments.
Sandra takes care of me. She’s good. No. Erase that. She’s very good. She takes care of a number of abused Swedish limbs with the all the expertise you would expect. She’s like a skilled jazz musician, adapting her treatment to what my stiff being is in need of. When she’s finished with me after about an hour I want to order The Complete Works which would give me 6.5 hours of the good stuff. Then I stumble down to the pool area, which will be the most recognized part of this spa, as most promotional images has been taken here. The pool has waterfalls and a sensor that will trigger massage jets. It may also get crowded during the day. If you stay at the hotel, get down to that pool early to avoid rush hour.

I’m a changed man.
I have a problem putting words to this without it sounding like something from the Raison d’Etre PR department. Let me just say that you will be treated with excellence in an environment that is quite attractive, (Swedish architect Per Öberg hereby receiving an Honorable mention). Add to that the fact that every possible detail is organic, fair trade and sustainable. I walked into the Raison d’Etre spa at the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm with a critical eye and very high expectations. I walked out rested and more balanced, wondering whether 10-ride tickets would be avialable… Five stars. With a relaxed and revitalized smile.

Open:
Weekdays: 9 am – 9 pm
Weekends: 9 am – 8 pm

Raison d’Etre Spa – Grand Hôtel Stockholm
Södra Blasieholmshamnen 8
PO Box 16424
S103 27 Stockholm
Sweden

+46 8 679 35 75

Click here to book the Grand Hôtel through TabletHotels.com

*Translations of lagom: “sufficient”, “adequate”, “just right”. Lagom is also widely translated as “in moderation”, “in balance”, “optimal”, “suitable”, and “average”.

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