A hipster haven with MacBook-powered self-check-in. A converted yacht hotel anchored next to the old city. A funky local hot spot owned by a former ABBA member, for crying out loud! Design mecca Stockholm has no lack of hyper-distinctive hotels, but these are the city’s best boutique properties.
Paintings and photographs line the halls of the hip Lydmar Hotel, a design-centric hotel in central Stockholm. The 50 sleek, earth-toned rooms are among Stockholm's best, with individual designs (no two rooms are the same), and thoughtful attention to detail -- big windows, unique light fixtures, cool wall art, and free Wi-Fi. The two-floor lobby boasts a popular restaurant and beautiful views of the harbor.
The Story Hotel is a hipster haven conveniently located in central Stockholm, where the vibe is artsy, the cocktails creative, and the decor equal parts industrial-chic and boho-quirky. The effect is a textbook example of Scandinavian cool. Rooms come in varied sizes, but all have ultra comfortable beds, mini-fridges stocked with free refreshments, rainfall showers, and FACE Stockholm toiletries, though some lack storage space. The Story Bar & Lounge is a hip space popular with local residents as well as hotel guests, serving a small selection of snacks and a wide menu of cocktails, and offering DJ sets several evenings a week.
Housed in a gorgeous, palace-like building overlooking the Nybroviken Bay in central Stockholm, the Hotel Diplomat is a sight to behold. The luxury hotel's chic and light-filled interiors have modern details and Scandinavian-design touches. Rooms, some of which have lovely harbor views, are classically elegant with luxurious beds and linens, work desks, and flat screen TVs, but bathrooms are small. The ground floor restaurant, T/Bar, is popular with guests and locals. Guests can book a private hour at The Retreat, a spa area with a whirlpool and sauna.
This stylish 65-room boutique is part of the historic Berns Salonger complex, which includes a bistro, a top-notch Asian restaurant, a ballroom, and a nightclub. The club makes for some loud nights over the weekends, but it often hosts well-known performers, and the hotel's location is superb -- right on a park, just blocks from great shopping and many tourist attractions. Contemporary rooms have hardwood floors, quirky wall art, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks, but be prepared to take the room names literally -- the Extra Small Room is, truly, extra small, at just 107 square feet.
The boutique Hotel Rival is located in one of the most densely populated districts of central Stockholm, across the street from a park. Owned by former ABBA member Benny Andersson, the hotel is a destination unto itself, with a large auditorium theater and a popular restaurant and cafe frequented by locals as well as guests. The funky, modern design of the upscale rooms only adds to the hip vibe.
Hotel Skeppsholmen, located on a serene island in the middle of Stockholm, is a stylish urban retreat, perfect for travelers looking for calm and central location. Housed in a historic building, the hotel blends Old World charm with modern, minimalist Scandinavian design with a finger on the pulse of all things cool -- staff uniforms come courtesy of cult brand Acne, bath products are Byredo, and bathrooms are equipped with Italian Boffi sinks.
The 127-room Freys Hotel is an upscale hotel with boutique touches that's two blocks from Central Station in the middle of Stockholm. The hotel has a quirky equine design scheme and solid eco-friendly credentials. Rooms are sharp and cozy, and spacious suites have balconies, but many rooms are small. The bustling Belgian restaurant on-site offers an outdoor terrace plus an excellent beer selection, and the free breakfast buffet is excellent (just be prepared for a crowd).
This nautical-themed, boutique hotel has a secluded, out-in-the-country feel, although it's only a 10-minute drive from central Stockholm. Though the suburban area of Nacka, one of the city's business hubs, can be relatively dead at night, the hotel has an excellent waterfront restaurant and is near numerous corporate offices. Rooms have tiny tube TVs, but include perks like balconies and free Wi-Fi.
This unusual hotel offers the unique experience of staying overnight on a yacht anchored next to Stockholm's old city. The yacht was built in 1924 and first owned by American socialite and heiress to the Woolworth's fortune, Barbara Hutton. Its cabins have been converted into 61 compact guest rooms with bunk beds. There's a restaurant on-board with an outdoor terrace offering scenic views of the city, and the boat's navigation room has been transformed into a bar. The buffet breakfast is free, as is use of the on-board sauna.
The mid-range Motel L is located in Stockholm's Hammarby Sjostad district, 10 minutes from the city center. The 226 guest rooms have vibrant decor and are equipped with flat-screen TVs and rainfall showerheads in the bathrooms. Features include a spacious restaurant and bar area, and there's also an on-site gym. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, but breakfast is an extra charge. Room rates here are competitive, but the location outside the city center may be a deterrent for some.
As its name suggests, one of the strongest features of the Central Hotel is its location: it's a block from Stockholm's main train station and within walking distance of most area attractions. This small mid-range hotel has modern Scandinavian style, and many of its 110 bright and playful rooms overlook a pleasant courtyard garden. A free breakfast buffet is served in the hotel's French bistro, which is open for lunch and dinner and gets solid reviews. Overall, the hotel is a clean and no-nonsense option in a prime location.