Berning up: Johan Älfvåg on Stockholm’s hottest boutique hotel, Berns

Johan Älfvåg, Berns Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden
Photography courtesy of Johan Älfvåg

See that impossibly stylish clique strutting down Birger Jarlsgatan? There’s a pretty good chance they’re en route to one of Stockholm’s most talked-about hotels, Berns. Beyond its opulent facade, the Östermalm-based property enchants guests from all over the world with an unexpectedly eclectic mix of arts and events – from its poster-clad corridors to its pan-Asian restaurant and talk-of-the-town concerts… even gay icon Rihanna has played here!

We sit down with the hotel’s Sales Manager Johan Älfvåg (who easily doubles as Manager of smiles, if you ask us) to find out just what it is that gives Berns it hot spot status…


Thanks to its great location, Berns is nearly impossible to miss when in Stockholm. But to those who haven’t been, how would you describe the hotel in one sentence?

Berns is an intimate boutique hotel in the heart of Stockholm.


We really enjoyed how diverse the crowd at Berns was during our recent stay. There wasn’t just one kind of guest, but many different people who all appreciate great design and hospitality…

At Berns, everyone is welcome and the mix of guests is what makes the hotel. You’ll find the busy businessman or woman along with a couple who’s on vacation exploring Stockholm!


With its gorgeous facade and the baroque gilded Asiatiska restaurant, Berns has all the makings of a Grande Dame. But it’s also a boutique hotel, showcasing unique artworks on each room. What is some of your favourite art at Berns?

I love the Supremes concert poster from 1968 in room 312. They performed at Berns that year. It’s a great piece of art with a late 60s feeling. It makes you think about who has walked through the doors over the years. Also while staying at the hotel, take the opportunity to stroll around the corridors and look at all the fantastic photos. You’ll find everything from high-end photoshoots to street photography from around the globe.


As for Asiatiska, we love the exciting, pan-Asian menu. Can you name a dish every guest should try before checking out?

The Thai meatballs in red curry with marinated vegetables and cilantro – it’s my personal favourite by far. Asia meets Sweden, in a way…


And with regards to the area, is there a place LGBT+ travellers need to visit during their stay?

Berns is in the heart of Stockholm, literally around the corner from everything ranging from the financial centre to restaurants, nightlife and shopping. Bibliotekstan is less than a minute away and it’s the perfect pedestrian shopping zone featuring international and local brands. If not shopping, turn the other way and walk along the water out to Djurgården. This area is the old Royal National Park. Just like at Berns, you get a sense that this place has welcomed some interesting visitors, thanks to its museums and attractions.


We found that there was very little reason to venture out in the evenings, thanks to Berns’ extensive events program. What upcoming events are you looking forward to at the moment?

We started off October with Chromatics and Southside Johnny, following with a great mix of artists up to Christmas, including UB40, Charli XCX and Banks. Another mention must go to Saga in February. If concerts are not your thing, settle down in Asiatiska and enjoy the food along with the atmosphere, especially in the fall when it’s dark outside.


What’s a little known fact about Berns that more people should know?

Berns is also a hotel… Sounds strange, I know, but it’s easy to forget. We are known for our entertainment venues. The good thing is, perhaps that’s why certain guests choose to stay at Berns while in Stockholm!


Johan, all your rooms and suites look fabulous, hands down. But can you pick a favourite? We think the Clock Suite looks incredible…

Room 608, a deluxe room with its own terrace. The Clock Suite is of course a favourite but 608 wins, hands down…




Instagram: @berns