City Spy: an insider’s guide to Stockholm
Sleek design and snowy winter months settle Stockholm’s spot as the epicentre of cool. Fifty bridges link the 14 islands that make up Sweden’s biggest city; one of Europe’s most beautiful destinations.
Graffiti is classified as ‘street art’, frumpy or clunky design is a rarity, and the city is as safe and clean as it is hip and cosmopolitan. You’ll come back poorer, but cooler and more chilled: skål!
If you’re here during summer months, hire a bike – try the super-easy Stockholm City Bikes, available from over 100 stands around the city – to explore Stockholm on two wheels. During your bike tour, stop off at the Stockholms stadshus (City Hall) and, if your legs aren’t too jellified from the ride, climb the tower for sweeping views over Stockholm. The café- and antique-shop-peppered streets of Gamla Stan (where Stockholm was founded in 1252) are another must see. If you prefer baths to bicycles, go for a sauna and massage or book a private Turkish bath at the Sturebadet.
For bohemian bargains, hit the Södermalm district or the blocks south of Folkungagatan. To dabble in Swedish design, try DesignHouse Stockholm’s concept store in Norrmalmstorg square, or DesignTorget for quirky, hand-picked pieces. If you have your sights set on some Swedish high fashion, head to the Östermalm district, Stockholm’s most exclusive. For handicrafts and knick-knacks, visit the Old Town of Gamla Stan. Don’t leave without visiting Östermalmshallen Market on Humlegårdsgatan. In a characterful building next to the flower market, it’s a huge delicatessen selling every type of top-quality food you can think of.
Frantzén/Lindeberg at 21 Lilla Nygatan is a diminutive Michelin-starred critic-pleaser that serves seasonal organic vegetables grown in the chefs’ own gardens; the attention to detail in every dish is breathtaking. Modern Swedish gastronomy at its best.
Enjoy an interesting Nordic-Asian fusion at Miss Voon, which is great for cocktails and nibbles – try the Twin Star Martini. The typically Swedish interior is an interesting contrast to the Asian-themed food, and the intriguing menu lists items such as: ‘ROCK SHRIMP – Florida, tempura, garlic, chilli’; ‘RACK OF LAMB – Gotland, peanut, ginger, radish’, and ‘CHICKEN – Bosarp, lettuce, fritters, Fiji apple, ponzu’. Nocturnal nibblers are well catered for: a late dinner menu is on offer between 11pm and 1am.
With Macs in the lobby so you can check yourself in, a courtyard hangout space accented with specially commissioned graffiti, creative cuisine served up in the restaurant and a host of effortlessly elegant locals in the bar, Story Hotel offers unadulterated urban chic, Swedish style (see photos above and below). Make a date with the hotel’s restaurant, Kitchen, which has a tasting menu to be proud of: start with the likes of foie gras and pork belly or Swedish reindeer and salt-baked beetroot, then move on to the baked cod with lobster and roasted hazelnuts, or perhaps the sirloin… then, how about some cloudberries with almond-milk ice cream and liquorice for dessert?
Our favourite rooms
The Attic apartment is an amazing spot with a huge bathroom, pantry, workout space and spectacular views of Stockholm. Another favourite is the quirky Lily Dam suite, where you can easily pretend you’re in your own hip flat as you survey the city from the two private balconies.
If you want to wake up in a Smith hotel instead of just reading about them, visit Mr & Mrs Smith’s collection of boutique hotels, or call the expert Travel Team on 1300-89-66-27. Book through Smith for exclusive extras at stays, including a fruit platter on arrival at Story Hotel.