Stockholm: a trip you will never forget – Where to stay

Scott McMullon
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(Previous: Things to do)

Hotel Rival

The Rival has a perfect spot, a former cinema in the heart of Sodermalm in the middle if Mariatorget. The Rival actually has something of an musical connection being owned by none other than Benny Andersson of ABBA fame.


The hotel itself has worked hard to preserve it’s roots as a former cinema, complete with a classic art deco style which is at times familiar and yet exotic. It has a classic sense of grandeur which wouldn’t look out of place in a glamorous old movie and yet it still has it’s feet firmly in the real world with some pretty amazing modern mod-cons which any traveller would be happy to have.

Rival is also a cultural centre all it’s own hosting live music and events making it more than just a place to lay your head at night. Indeed it is a perfect rest stop for someone who wants to be able to put down their bag and head straight out and see something special.

It helps that the restaurant is walking distance from some of the most amazing small shops and clubs. If you want to stay in though then feel free to head on down to the Rival’s restaurant for some delicious food and good company.

The rooms in Hotel Rival are a beautiful blend of form and function married together in a way you don’t see in many hotels. While the key here is to relax and enjoy your stay the presence of a desk means it can also serve as a make shift office for those travellers who need to work while on vacation.

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This contrast and blending of ideas is also reflected in the general decor which, while continuing on the elements of art deco and Swedish cinema, manages to exude a sense of comfort while also being resilient enough for those travellers who might need to jump on a laptop to work.

In short the Rival is a jack of all trades, yet still somehow manages to master all of them.

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Hotel Diplomat

The Diplomat is a true jewel of a Hotel, boasting a rich personal history and a truly gorgeous style all of it’s own. While the Rival combined elements of new and old in it’s own way the Diplomat transcends this blend completely marrying old world glamour with a new world approach to luxury. While it might be something of a large expense it is very worth it.

To call the Diplomat a luxury hotel would be an understatement as a lot of work has been done in recent years to bring the hotel into the 21st Century while still holding on to it’s classic aesthetic. The architecture of the place gives the Diplomat the look of a grand manor with a touch of elegance.


The rooms have held on to their original character making a visit to each room feel like stepping into a different period of history. There is a simple yet endearing beauty to each of the hotel’s 130 rooms, both extravagant and economic, which makes each one feel like a refuge from the rest of the city at large.

Some of the views of the surrounding waterways add to this overall beauty especially when night roles in and the street lights switch on creating a gorgeous spot to walk with a special someone in the evening after a great dinner in the Diplomat’s restaurant. Indeed the restaurant in the Diplomat is another popular city destination for visitors and locals emphasising local food and drink to give guests all the tastes of Sweden.

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If your budget is on the larger side, then don’t let this beautiful hotel pass you by go in and book a stay for a luxurious stay you will never forget.

The Nordic Lights Hotel

This Hotel is something of a find for those guests who have something of a tighter budget but who don’t want to skimp on the feeling of what a stay in Stockholm means. While the Diplomat and the Rival hold on to classic element’s from the past this Hotel is almost entirely in the present, and celebrates living on the edge of the contemporary.


Located just a few meters from the Arlanda Express this hotel is striking from the moment you walk in the door, with a resident artist adding unique elements to the hotel lobby every month. Indeed during my own visit in early June I got to see a devoted artist create a beautiful mural in full view of the entrance which complimented the site perfectly as well as the work of previous artists. This created the idea of a blank canvas which is filled with something new from each visitor. At times it makes the Nordic Lights seem stark, but then it becomes a perfect place to start a holiday.

The rooms in the Nordic Lights are comfortable and functional making it a perfect spot for someone who wants a city break with all the fine touches you would come to expect from a visit to Sweden’s capital. The hotel also boasts a unique feature called Guest List, where it will actually work to get visitors on the guest list of various bars and clubs around the city. A nice touch for visiting guests since there are so many great places to visit and enjoy the nightlife.

This is the perfect spot for those travellers who want their money to go a little further and to enjoy the sights and sounds of the big city in another country.

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Prins van Orangien

From the Diplomat’s old wold elegance and the Nordic Lights’ contemporary flare you would think you might have seen it all. For those seasonal visitors however who want to something special in summer then the Prins Van Orangien is a venue you cannot afford to miss out on.


The Prins is, surprisingly enough a large river boat that has been converted into something of a miniature hotel. While sounding slightly out of left field at first having the privilege to hop on board reveals a truly hidden gem of a hotel which manages to give all of the comforts of home in a very literal sense.

The care taken in the lounge area provides the feeling of stepping into the sitting room of an elegant town house. Wall mouldings and classically conformable furniture add to the overall aesthetic creating something of home away from home atmosphere that permeates every cell.

There were times when I had to catch myself and remember that I was on a boat, which is shocking when you consider that there were windows all around that confirmed that very fact.

The rooms on the Prins van Orangien vary from simple to more elegant and refined making it a special treat for groups of visitors looking for something special for a once in a life time trip to Stockholm. Located on Djurgarten the Prins is a stone’s throw from the Abba museum, with the rest of Stockholm being only a 10 minute ferry ride away.

Anyone can book a hotel, but perhaps to a special few you can find yourself booking the Prins for a vacation you will never forget. Just be sure to book early as this proud vessel and hotel runs seasonally, and as such can only be enjoyed in the spring and summer months before being retired for the brisk Swedish Winter.

Find out more on Facebook and at Visit Stockholm.

(Next: Where to eat)


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About Scott McMullon

Lover of literature, film and music living in Essex (no jokes please!). 'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars' - Oscar Wilde