Romantic travel

The romantic side of Sweden: Travel Weekly

The romantic side of Sweden: Travel Weekly

When sailing to Stockholm on the Silja Serenade, it is best to leave the cabin curtains open at night. At first, the Baltic Sea looks like a Rothko painting, but gradually an orange line bisects the sea and the indigo sky, and when you wake up at dawn, you’re sailing among the 30,000 islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago.

Travelers around the world often lament the loss of romance while moving from one destination to another, but traveling around Stockholm on various maritime vessels recalls a quieter time while showcasing the beauty of the Swedish capital. On a sunny day, a short ferry ride from the island of Djurgarden to the neighboring island of Skeppsholmen can feel like circling the Mediterranean, especially if you’ve danced to “Mamma Mia” at the ABBA museum.

For years, the island of Skeppsholmen was best known for its two yellow 17th century military buildings designed by the same architect behind the royal palace. Known to locals as Long Row, the historic government-listed buildings were meticulously transformed into Hotel Skeppsholmen in 2009 by award-winning architectural firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. An arrival by boat reinforces the feeling of a private retreat on a lush island. Although Skeppsholmen is accessible via a pedestrian bridge that leads directly to the Nationalmuseum, the hotel capitalizes on its getaway atmosphere with guest bikes, a tennis court, and an open-air restaurant overlooking the inner harbor.

The lawns of the nearby Moderna Museet sculpture garden are dotted with sculptures by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle as well as Picasso’s “Luncheon on the Grass,” a work that complements Skeppsholmen’s open-air vibe.

In summer, the island hosts the Stockholm Jazz Festival and the avant-garde theater group Teater Galeasen. The small castle along the waterfront is known as Skridskopaviljongen (or the skating pavilion) for the 19th century ice skating parties hosted by the royal court.

The buildings known as Long Row were converted into the Skeppsholmen Hotel in 2009.

The buildings known as Long Row were converted into the Skeppsholmen Hotel in 2009. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Skeppsholmen Hotel

Hotel Skeppsholmen

A member of Design Hotels, Hotel Skeppsholmen juxtaposes contemporary artwork with original features from the property’s 17th-century origins. Each room at Hotel Skeppsholmen bears a nameplate detailing the history of the room’s previous occupants when it was a military outpost. Room 262, for example, currently a junior suite, was once the quarters of the Minister of the Navy, who became Prime Minister of Sweden in 1900. Although the rooms retain their historic provenance, their light-filled gallery. white interiors showcase Swedish and Scandinavian design with Duxiana beds, Boffi sinks and Byredo toiletries.

The hotel’s breakfast buffet at the Langa Raden restaurant is a tribute to Swedish culinary heritage and local suppliers. Baskets are available for guests who wish to picnic along the waterfront or for those who choose to board Eco Sightseeing for a morning boat ride.

Owned and operated by Elias Nilsson, the Sylvia is a WWII landing craft converted to run on electricity that produces zero emissions and no engine noise, providing the most graceful means of transportation at the Grand Hotel Stockholm.

Grand Hotel Stockholm's Cadier Bar is named after the hotel's founder and serves signature cocktails.

Grand Hotel Stockholm’s Cadier Bar is named after the hotel’s founder and serves signature cocktails. Photo credit: Courtesy of Grand Hotel Stockholm

Grand Hotel Stockholm

Perhaps second only to the Royal Palace, the Grand Hotel Stockholm is the most iconic landmark in Stockholm’s Inner Harbour. A recent renovation of the entrance and facade of the five-star hotel reinforces the feeling of grandeur upon arrival in the breathtaking lobby.

Inaugurated in 1874, the Grand and its interiors have been designated national treasures, including the Versailles-inspired Hall of Mirrors. Take a stroll through the public spaces and it’s easy to see why the Grand has been home to almost every Nobel laureate and their family since 1901.

From the terrace of a Superior Suite, the beauty of Stockholm’s waterfront appears even more remarkable, with the Royal Palace and the Houses of Parliament located directly across the water. Equally grandiose are the proportions of the Superior Suites, with entrance vestibule and bathroom, as well as a sofa worthy of Madame Récamier, an espresso bar, French windows opening onto the terrace, a dressing room, a bed king size, a marble bathtub and Bottega Veneta brand toiletries.

A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the Grand offers 273 rooms and 70 suites, several of which have been classified as Signature Suites for their extraordinary interior designs by Martin Brudnizki. The Flag Suite at the top of the hotel includes a rooftop area, which is celebrated with a signature cocktail at Grand’s Cadier Bar.

The Grand’s restaurants include two by Mathias Dahlgren, bistro Matbaren and vegetarian Rutabaga, both cited by Michelin for their innovative gastronomy. Equally delicious is the generous buffet breakfast served at the Verandan, overlooking the harbour.

Guests seeking relaxation are welcomed to the hotel’s Nordic Spa & Fitness, where hydrotherapy options include an indoor pool, hydromassage, cold plunge, cold bucket showers, steam room and sauna. – a reminder that in Sweden, water remains the key to well-being.

Prices for a junior suite at the Skeppsholmen Hotel start at $500, while a superior suite at the Grand Hotel Stockholm is priced at $1,300 including buffet breakfast.

SAS offers direct service to Stockholm via seven US cities, with SAS Lounge access for SAS Plus and Business passengers. Additional amenities include access to Fast Track security screening, free onboard Wi-Fi and three-course Nordic meals.

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