If the walls could talk in this charming property, they’d whisper tales of August Strindberg, Greta Garbo, and Selma Lagerlöf, all of whom once called this place their temporary home. Proudly poised in one of Stockholm’s most prestigious addresses, Hotel Kung Carl isn’t just your run-of-the-mill hotel; it’s a time-travelling affair, a slice of 19th-century Paris where legends come to rest and travellers come to immerse themselves in the beauty of a bygone era. Ooh la la, indeed!
The boutique hotel was established in 1866 on Brunkebergstorg by wine merchant Johan Lundberg until it relocated to its current address in 1925. The Östlundh family acquired the hotel in 1977 when it had just 46 rooms and a dining space. Today, it has 143 rooms, two bars, a restaurant, state-of-the-art conference facilities, a mini-gym, a rooftop terrace, and even its own jazz club for the discerning traveller. Here’s a glimpse into the Hotel Kung Carl experience…
What’s the atmosphere like at Hotel Kung Carl?
Like a 1920s speakeasy, the air at Hotel Kung Carl is laced with an intoxicating blend of romance and revelry. The ambient lighting; the delicious Art Nouveau interior design, accented by soft colours, velvet, and florals; the slight scent of fine cologne and champagne at the lobby bar; the clinking of cocktail glasses over quiet chatter – it serenades you from the moment you enter the property.
But what truly sets Hotel Kung Carl apart is its utilisation of music. This hotel takes its audio experience as seriously as its aesthetics, pairing soundtracks with specific moments of the day, like a sommelier pairs wine with every meal. From morning till evening, whether you’re flirting at the bar or enjoying a candlelit dinner in the restaurant, the music is there, subtly guiding your mood.
What are the rooms like?
The room interiors, designed by Lina Östlundh, deploy a blend of Gustavian elegance and modernity, adorned with antiques and fine art. The tones and textures are a visual treat: powder-pinks, teals and emerald greens; art deco furnishings and floral patterns offsetting verticle lines and stripes. It’s delicate yet seductive.
While the rooms at Hotel Kung Carl exude traditional charm, don’t be fooled; they’re packed with modern conveniences to make your stay a breeze. If you choose to stay in the Victoria Suite, you’ll also have access to your own private sauna and a balcony with panoramic views of Stockholm.
Other than the rooms, why stay here?
The hotel’s Bistro La Belle Époque is a celebration of northern French cuisine, and it brings the flavours of the region to life with a playful twist. Led by Head Chef Jan Andersson, the bistro is a nod to the golden era of dining and boasts an impressive menu with dishes like oysters, chevre chaud, steak with béarnaise sauce, and the signature moules marinières – a delightful take on a French classic. Meanwhile, the hotel’s sublime Art Nouveau cocktail bar offers a taste of Swedish heritage in the form of their very own ‘Kung Carl Punsch,’ an age-old traditional liquor made from a blend of spirits like arrack, brandy, or rum with arrack tea. You simply have to try it!
Jazz enthusiasts also take note: Hotel Kung Carl is renowned for its electrifying jazz club, which comes to life on weekends at the old Bakfickan bar, delivering swinging live performances from both seasoned Swedish artists and fresh, rising talents.
Something every visitor should know
Back in the roaring ’20s, this place was the swankiest joint in Stockholm, where the cultural elite gathered to see and be seen. In fact, silver screen legend Greta Garbo was a regular guest during the glitzy ‘30s, occupying room 204, as we briefly mentioned. Ironically, it’s a history that seems tailor-made for a movie script itself – and Hotel Kung Carl gives you an opportunity to cast yourself in a leading role.
The proudly LGBT-friendly hotel also enjoys an enviable location by Stureplan Square in central Stockholm, providing effortless, convenient access to the city’s cultural treasures. Step out, and you’re in the heart of it all – boutiques, theatres, bars, and restaurants, right at your doorstep.
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