Located next to the train station, Hotel C is a large scale hotel right in the heart of Stockholm...Oh and they have a bar totally made of ice!
For years we have been told by countless people that, despite having visited so many places on our travels, Stockholm was a big gap in our list. The Swedish capital, was something really special thanks to its history, architecture and progressive modern culture and we had to visit. We finally decided to make it a priority, and when we did we were not disappointed.
Stockholm is a city built on an archipelago of islands, and even the neighborhoods which make up its centre are spread of across several of these. We wanted to make sure that our hotel was central, close to all the attractions and public transportation. Our accommodation of choice – Hotel C – sits right in the middle of the most important areas, with bridges to the various other areas just a few blocks away in all directions. Making it even more convenient was the fact that the city’s main train and subway station were just steps away, as was the Arlanda Express - the high speed train which takes you to and from the airport...told you, convenient!
Hotel C has more going for it than just its location. As we walked in we couldn’t help but notice immediately the stunning entrance hall and lobby. Specifically, our eyes were drawn to the beautiful marble spiral staircase and the unique design surrounding it. The ceiling around the staircase is incredibly high and covered with gold panels with artistically arranged holes cut out. Hanging down from the high ceiling to illuminate the ground floor are scores of large light bulbs suspended by long copper cords. It sounds ostentatious, but the effect was cool and modern.
The hotel was busy, and it is clearly popular among all sorts of travelers. There were tour groups and families, but also business people and even a few airline pilots and stewards – no doubt drawn by the convenient access to the airport. Besides its grand centerpiece, the rest of the design was clean, simple, modern and comfortable. It was a nice place to be, and the lobby had so many little areas and nooks that you could relax in while waiting for friends.
We stayed in a standard double room, which was comfortable and well decorated, and turned out to be pretty cozy for the two of us. It was designed for sleeping rather than living in. We spent minimal time in there as we were out exploring so this was not a problem, but had we needed to catch up on work, the bed would most likely have become our workspace, lounge and table all in one. Everyone has different needs and preferences when traveling and like us, most will have no problem with this. If you like to stretch out however, you should opt for one of the larger rooms.
Dominating our room was a large cityscape, wallpapered across one side of the room and artistically showing off some of Stockholm’s great architecture. The palette of the place was muted and understated, with white and subtle grays being used effectively. Some of the rooms are dog friendly – including food bowls and sleeping blankets – if you happen to be traveling with your pet. Despite the hotel’s city center location, the room was also very quiet – always an important feature in a hotel!
One of Hotel C’s unique selling points is that it is home to the world's first permanent bar made entirely of ice! Everything from the walls to the seats, chairs and the bar itself are made of the stuff. Even the glasses were made out of ice! It is a unique space, and the ornate ice throne makes for great photos. As you can probably imagine, such a distinctive experience is pretty popular so it is best to make a reservation. It also goes without saying that it is very very cold (even compared to the outside Swedish winter temperatures. They provide you with a jacket and gloves upon entrance but even so, be prepared to be cold. You probably won’t want to stay for more than twenty minutes or so, but during that time will be filled with wonder and appreciation for the artistic effort that must have gone into creating the place.
Being located in such a central location, there are a multitude of restaurants just steps away from Hotel C. We recommend checking a few out during your stay, but don’t overlook the hotel’s own restaurant. It has an easy going atmosphere and a mix of American and Italian dishes. We chose the pizza for our meal there, and would definitely recommend it. The toppings were excellent and the crust had that perfect crispiness. It’s not pizza napoletana, but it will satisfy the craving.
Once you are done eating and enjoying the ice bar, you will want to see what Stockholm has to offer. Luckily most of it is nearby. First stop is usually Gamla Stan – the city’s old town. Located on an island just a few subway stops away, it is up there with some of the best European historic centers in terms of quaint, picturesque architecture. The busy streets of the modern city (just outside Hotel C’s front door) are also worth investigating as are the nearby neighborhoods of Östermalm and Södermalm. If you like to get out of the city, the Stockholm Archipelago is easy to reach and its thousands of islands are best explored by boat or helicopter.
Another less conventional attraction is the city’s subway stations themselves. Various artists have been commissioned to use them as canvases for their work, and as a result each one is an interesting and beautiful. If you like art, I would even go as far as to suggest just catching a train at random and getting off whenever you see a station you like. Photographers will have a great time as the interesting designs make a great backdrop for shots.
In terms of convenience you can’t really do better in Stockholm than this place. It has much more than that going for it however, including an interesting design and of course an ice bar. As we saw when walking around the lobby, it is a popular choice for all sorts of travelers, and that obviously tells you something about its quality. Whether you are looking to explore the city thoroughly, or are just there on a stopover, Hotel C is a great option.
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