Stockholm’s Miss Clara boutique hotel combines warm Scandinavian hospitality with organic architecture, preserving one of the city’s most historic buildings while offering a thoroughly contemporary experience in the process.
It’s early on a Wednesday morning, and the few pedestrians walking past the shopfront façade of boutique hotel Miss Clara in Stockholm are wrapped up against a particularly chilly northern summer. Inside the bistro-styled restaurant, with its golden lamps over burgundy bench seats, ballerinas pirouetting on the walls, it’s toasty warm as the hotel’s culinary team prepares a distinctly Scandinavian breakfast spread that’s heavy on fresh bread, berries, and strong coffee.
Miss Clara, designed by architect Gert Wingårdh, with plenty of input from its entertainment and hospitality guru owner Alessandro Catenacci, is a member of Design Hotels, and epitomises the contemporary European boutique hotel to a tee; simplistic, historic, efficient, and intimate, there is nothing superfluous, nothing that isn’t in itself another chapter in the Miss Clara story. Minimalism has been embraced, but not so much for minimalism’s sake as for the sake of that which remains.
Sister property of local success story Nobis Hotel, Miss Clara is housed in an Art Nouveau building on the king’s road of Sveavägenthat was built in 1910 and was once the Ateneum Girl’s School. The hotel takes its name from the school’s first principal, Clara Strömberg. Sitting at the reception’s long bar, I find it easy to imagine the echo of excited girls’ voices in the main stairwell, which, along with a former chapel that’s now an intimate suite, remains preserved from the building’s previous incarnation.
At first, our Superior Room, one of 92 rooms and suites, looks stark and empty. A Bed Factory bed with a bentwood headboard takes up most of the well-lit white-on-chocolate space, with a row of windows that overlook Svevägen street standing above an oak window bench that houses a minibar, a pull-out work desk, and extra storage space. The bathroom features a shower, and is decked out in glazed Swedish limestone and marble, accentuating the feeling of natural light that’s offset by dark fishbone oak parquet floors and double-height ceilings. A wardrobe is replaced with a series of hooks on a wall, beside a chaise lounge that seems a little out of place. That said, the space iss quiet, warm, and elegant in its simplicity. A curved chair back attached to the end of the bed doubles as a valet stand, while the Egyptian bed linens are luxuriant.
There are touches of Sweden throughout this unique property, from leather works by local environmentally-friendly tannery Tärnsjö, through to the delicate wood work of local artisans, which punctuates public spaces. In the hotel’s 80-seat restaurant, which is decked out with stone floors and soft leather, master chef Daniel Guest infuses an international menu with touches of Scandinavia, from locally-sourced ingredients to traditional cooking methods – look out for a signature dishes from the ever-changing seasonal menu that represent different regions of Sweden, lovingly recreated in the big city, from herring boquerones in lemon and olive oil to Swedish porchetta.
Most hotel guests only experience hotel restaurants at breakfast, but throughout our stay, we found that it was during this first meal of the day that the eatery shines; a buffet of artisanal breads, local cheeses, cold cuts, and seasonal fruit, complemented by efficient and friendly service, prepares any traveler for a day on foot exploring the Old Town or Stockholm’s many galleries and museums.
After your long day of exploration take time out to visit the hotel’s sauna and intimate relaxation room, the perfect place to recharge, or indulge in the hotel’s elegant cocktail bar, an aspect that we’re sure would have been appreciated by Miss Clara and her faculty from time to time
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