BACKGROUND Open since December last year, the five-star Nobis hotel is run by the Nobis group, a family-run company that operates a range of hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and conference venues in Stockholm. It is a member of Design Hotels (designhotels.com).
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The 201-room hotel is housed in two interconnected late 19th-century buildings on Norrmalmstorg square. Originally built as private residences, the property has been home to a bank and, more recently, a law firm. While it housed the bank, an infamous attempted heist took place in 1973 – two robbers took four employees hostage and held them in the vault (now part of the Acne clothes store on the ground level of one of the buildings). The sympathy the hostages ended up feeling for their captors gave rise to the term “Stockholm syndrome”.
These days, the vibe of the property is much more serene. The company has billed it as “Stockholm’s first contemporary luxury hotel”, and inside it is certainly very chic and stylish. The lobby is quite minimalist and features grey walls, a marble floor, a Hermes watch clock, a long comfy black sofa and cube-shaped stools. Globe-shaped paper lampshades of varying sizes and designs hang from the ceiling, and lifestyle magazines are scattered around. Reception is at the right-hand end, steps lead to the bar, and a small bistro is to the left – its outdoor terrace at the front of the property is often busy with moneyed-looking customers. Staff are welcoming and helpful.
WHERE IS IT? It’s well situated on Norrmalmstorg, a centrally located square that connects the shopping streets of Hamngatan and Biblioteksgatan and is around the corner from Kungstradgarden (the King’s Garden). Stockholm Central station, where the Arlanda airport express train comes in, is about a 15-minute walk, and Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and the waterfront are close by (you are never far from water in this city of 14 islands).
ROOM FACILITIES The interior design trio behind the hotel, Claesson Koivisto Rune, took Stockholm’s winter colours as their inspiration, and so the 201 rooms, set across six floors, feature a calming palette of light grey, beige, white and brown. They come in six categories – Small Single (measuring 14 sqm on average), Standard (20 sqm on average), Superior (24 sqm on average) and Deluxe rooms (31 sqm on average), one-room suites (43 sqm on average) and the 98 sqm Nobis suite. They overlook the city or the buildings’ inner courtyards – the lobby building’s one has been turned into the superb Lounge (see restaurants and bars, below). Access to the floors is by keycard. There is one lift for one of the buildings (this was the one I used and I found it frustratingly slow) and two for the other.
The design of the rooms is minimalist, with dark wood flooring, pale walls, a wooden desk, freestanding wardrobes made of panga panga wood, and some funky furniture pieces such as a “bonbon” lamp by the bed that acts as a side table, a huge, arching lampshade, and a curving grey-wool chair. Each room also has a tiny angel sculpture mounted to the wall, quite a cute touch. Bathrooms are decked out in white Carrara marble and have good rainshowers and, in another unusual design touch, a disc with a cut-out pattern that sits over the sink. Pretty to look at but fairly pointless, and I had to put it on the floor each time I wanted to brush my teeth to avoid leaving paste all over it.
Facilities that come as standard include air conditioning, a safe you can charge your laptop in, minibar, robe, slippers, flatscreen TV, free wifi (you can also access the internet through the TV, and link your gadgets up), toiletries by Stockholm company Byredo Parfums and 24-hour room service. My fourth-floor Superior room had a view of Norrmalmstorg and a great King bed with luxurious white linens. I found it a comfy and calm space to spend time in.
During its previous incarnations the property lost a lot of its original features but it still has some fantastic detailing, most notably in the Nobis suite, which has a beautifully restored wooden ceiling in the bedroom, and the meeting rooms (see below). Make sure you also have a look at the inner workings of the property’s still-working exterior clock, and the amazing old spiral staircase in one of the buildings.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The company’s restaurant background shines through with this property. To the left of the entrance is an all-day 25-seat bistro (open 11.30am-4am, kitchen open until 11pm) that serves dishes such as paninis and salads. Its terrace is open in the summer. Downstairs is Caina, a relaxed Italian restaurant that serves tasty, well-presented dishes using seasonal ingredients. I had the lightly salted seabass with dried chili flakes, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt to start, followed by the rigatoni with home-made sauce of minced meat and red wine, San Marzano tomato and garlic, and both were excellent. A three-course business lunch is available for Kr 425 (£41). It’s open weekdays for lunch and Mon-Sat for dinner (closed Sun), and an expansive hot and cold buffet breakfast is also served here.
Up steps off the lobby is Gold bar, a sleek mirrored venue that was very buzzy on the Friday night I stayed. It’s open 5pm-1am (from 4pm Fri-Sat). The highlight of the property is the Lounge, housed in a soaring 28-metre courtyard atrium with two dome skylights, a patchwork green and blue painted ceiling, low-level Scandinavian seating and a stunning chandelier recovered from the property’s banking days. Open to guests all day and to the public after 5pm, it’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is a suite of five rooms on the first floor (the “Nobis private rooms”) that can be used individually or in tandem for meetings. The largest accommodates 28 delegates, or combined they could hold 120 for cocktails. All have city views and beautiful original features such as wood panelling and old fireplaces. A foyer/living room-style space could be used for guest registration. There is an iMac here for guests’ use, and the hotel also lends out iPads.
LEISURE FACILITIES There is a good-sized gym on the first floor with Life Fitness equipment, along with a sauna, steam room and relaxation area.
VERDICT An excellent choice if you are visiting Stockholm for business or leisure. Attractive design, a good location and an impressive food and drink offering.
NUMBER OF ROOMS There are 201 – 29 Small Single rooms, 84 Standard rooms, 55 Superior rooms, 22 Deluxe rooms, ten one-room suites and one Nobis suite.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The calm feel and the great bed and rainshower.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in October started from Kr 2,241 (£214) for a Standard room.
CONTACT Nobis hotel, Norrmalmstorg 2-4; tel +46 8614 1000; nobishotel.com
Report by Michelle Mannion