Hotel Skeppsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden **

Q: What is it? A: This establishment is run by some of the most competent restaurant people in Sweden. Apparently, they need a little more training before they will be able to turn their hotel into an equally flawless operation.

Empty space: Large room.

Claesson Koivisto Rune designed the interior at Hotel Skeppsholmen. This is room #170. The theme for colours and materials: “Fog”. Well, OK.

The unpractical, good-looking bathroom of # 170.

The bathroom in #170. Quite large. Quite nice. It’s also quite unpractical. Hint: As soon as you’ll get a tiny bit of water on the floor it looks messy.

Stone = sink.

What if we didn’t use a regular sink? What if we’d let the water pour over a large polished stone? Wouldn’t that give guests something to talk about?

Wooden lamp. Huge wooden lamp.

This is exactly what it looks like: A huge wooden lamp in a corridor space. More specifically, it’s the Coral, designed by David Tubridge in 2002, built up by 60 identical pieces of bamboo plywood.

Cosy? Well, that's the name of that lamp!

Room enlightenment: The Cosy lamp by Harri Koskinen, made from mouth blown glass, (designed for Muuto, 2006).

When the architects didn't get it wrong...

Conference anyone? One of the nicest rooms in the hotel.

Former military barracks = long building = hotel.

As the entire exterior is listed, any large neon signs would be impossible. So you will have to remember what it looks like. Or trust your cabbie.

In theory they have everything going for them…
First, the location is crazy. It’s a green oasis in the very center of Stockholm, and it’s not the size of a tennis court. This is a green island with lawns and trees and shrubbery and, you know… vegetarian stuff. Second, the hotel occupies a historic building. More precisely some former Marine barracks built in 1699. We locals call it “The Long Row”. Third, they commissioned the most celebrated and award-winning architect trio known to the editorial staff of Wallpaper, Claesson Koivisto Rune, to create the 81 rooms and public spaces. So in theory, this was a successful project before it even started.

In practical terms, they kick it off brilliantly.
On arrival, I’m greeted with so much warmth that I immediately book an additional night. The young, charming lady, let’s call her Åsa, takes care of everything. Sadly I then have to turn down an offer to upgrade to an X-Large room if I want to stay two nights without having to change the room. That’s OK. I pick a Large room. The room is large alright and the trademark style of Claesson Koivisto Rune is all over it. Too cold and too (struggling to find the correct word) boring for my liking. The bathroom looks OK. The sleeping area feels oddly unfinished. But that’s just me. I’m sure that this is the kind of Scandinavian minimalism that will make any foreign, design-conscious journalist salivate.

It’s then things start to go wrong. In very practical terms.
First I’m asked if I’ve spoken to Marcus. I have not. After a while he materializes into a young man with wavy hair. ”There’s a problem.” It will not be possible to stay two nights in the large room. Aha. We are slightly overbooked this weekend, is the explanation I later get from Mr. Marcus’ colleague. I ask the front desk to confirm this with Åsa, and I explain the ‘downgrade’ situation from X-Large to Large. While in the reception I end up overhearing a conversation between another front desk member and a guest: ”So maybe you could tell me what you have booked… as there is a little confusion within our system.” In my mind I’m painting a picture of Laurel & Hardy crashing a Ford model T into a fire hydrant and then blaming each other for the mistake. Marcus later shows up solely to explain that Åsa didn’t at all recognize my claim. I am now transferred to room #256. No excuses.

Being a guest and at the same time feeling like an annoyment to the staff.
Apart from Åsa’s warm welcome, I’d like to find a reason to like this hotel. Well, there is one. Those who work the restaurant area are all a very positive and friendly bunch. Without them, the hotel would be a much chillier place, (the curse of Claesson Koivisto Rune again). They are worth one extra star. Ka-ching! A while after having checked out of the hotel, I suddenly remember… When checking in, Åsa asked me to sign a paper with the room rate details. Did Marcus ever check that? What happened to that document? I never saw it again. Neither did I get the chance to speak to Åsa and hear her version. Annoying.

Hotel Skeppsholmen
Gröna Gången 1
111 86 Stockholm

+46-8-407 23 00

Just click here to book the Hotel Skeppsholmen through!

I really like the idea of a hotel in the otherwise rather empty area of Skeppsholmen, (a few enthusiasts living on old tug boats and the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art are not enough to keep the area busy), but the management certainly need to straighten up some routines. To Joachim Olausson, CEO of Hotel Skeppsholmen:, I’m sure that you google your own name every once in a while. Two stars. Not pretty! And you may rest assured that this review is not about the downgrade, nor is it about getting my money’s worth. It’s solely about the attitude of your staff. It would have required very little of them to handle the issue differently – and it would then have been much more pleasant for you, (and everybody else), to read this review.

1 comment

  1. From the pictures, the phrase that comes to mind is “Trying to much to be too minimalist”.


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