The fact that the Lydmar is next to the Grand Hotel should tell you that there is no better address in Stockholm. This is where the beautiful people hang out.
Lydmar Hotel, Stockholm
We took a taxi from Arlanda Airport to the Lydmar Hotel and after some confusion as to its location (it recently moved and reopened) found ourselves in an incredibly groovy reception area surrounded by glamorous types who were attending a film premiere on the first floor. We were greeted by Emma with whom we had made the reservation. She seemed to remember me from our emails, a nice touch and made us feel at home.
The fact that the Lydmar is next to the Grand Hotel should tell you that there is no better address in Stockholm. It is right in the heart of the city on the quay overlooking the water. It is walking distance to the museums, shops and parks. In addition, if you want to venture out into the stunning Stockholm archipelago it is opposite the boats that take you there.
This is where the beautiful people hang out. It is not a hotel to stay in if you're having a bad hair day. Almost everyone (and I include the staff in this) is tall, thin, stunning and blond (yes, the men as well). Guests carry battered Louis Vuitton luggage and hang out in the restaurant chatting about their summer in the archipelago. There always seem to be models around looking gorgeous and blonde. The average age of the punters is well below 40. And even those over 40 look good.
We were in a so-called small room, which by any capital city standards is actually quite big (29 square metres). It was very nicely furnished with a king-size bed and large comfortable sofa. The bathroom was as close to a perfect bathroom as I have seen. Slate tiles (which ensure you don't slip and do yourself in after a bath), a mirror across the whole wall, two types of shower, an ample bath and a stunning view. Added to which the bathroom products which are so often lacking were top notch, in fact much nicer than the Hermès ones you get in hotels all over the world.
The service was excellent and of course made better by the fact that whoever was serving you probably had a day-job as a model. They were always helpful, smiley and efficient. And they all seemed very happy to be there and help with whatever you needed. I would say the only drawback is that there was sometimes a bit of a queue to collect one's room key as some supermodel or other paid her bill. But they were on the ball. I e-mailed them my boarding passes to print out and minutes later they were at my door, with a smiling male model. What's not to like?
The restaurant is one of the most popular in Stockholm and buzzing. We had to wait until 9pm for a table to become free and that was mid-week. My husband says his steak was excellent at US$43 (Dh158); I didn't much care for my truffle risotto ($32; Dh118) but being half-Italian I am probably fussier than most. You can order a selection of five starters for $33 (Dh122) which seems like a bargain until they show up and you see how tiny they are.
I found the menu a little elaborate. This being Sweden (and me being half Swedish) I was after meatballs or salmon and potatoes. Instead I was offered snails or anchovies; a distinctly Mediterranean menu which I didn't much like. Having said that breakfast is a veritable triumph. There is everything you could possibly want; from strange Swedish yoghurts to salmon to delicious eggs Benedict, and marvellous breads and homemade conserves. Even if you're not Swedish try the filmjolk with a little granola and some jam; you will be back for more.
The view of the city across the water out of the window visible from the shower. The beautiful books that line the walls in the restaurants including a lovely old edition of Shakespeare's Complete Worksand old copies of National Geographic as well as maps of Sweden and various design books. The free wireless internet with no password and no nonsense - why don't all hotels do this? The dressing gowns - thick and luxurious enough to make you feel special but not so heavy they weigh you down. The fact that the wonderful breakfast was included in the room rate, even if you opted for cooked choices from the menu - again, something all hotels should do. There is nothing worse than paying a lot to stay somewhere and feeling ripped off when it comes to paying the bill for the internet and breakfast.
The truffle risotto in the restaurant - it felt like a brick in my stomach for hours afterwards. The bands playing on the first floor until quite late - but then again this is the grooviest address in town and it does not happen every night. The pillows are not great, but the bed is very comfortable.
I loved this hotel. I loved the look of it, the location, the staff, the breakfast, the bathroom and the bed, and pretty much everything about it. I have rarely felt as at home in a hotel room and the whole ambiance is welcoming, trendy and happy. My advice though is to go for a makeover before you stay if you want to fit in with the Stockholm glitterati.
Prices start at $368 (Dh1,352) per night for a small room based on two people sharing, including breakfast; and go up to $1,840 (Dh6,758) per night for an extra large room. * Lydmar Hotel, Sodra Blasieholmshamnen 2, Stockholm (www.lydmar.com; 0046 8 22 31 60)