A month ago, I found myself in Stockholm’s historic Gamla Stan island/neighborhood; I had taken a trip with some friends to Riga, and we decided to visit Sweden’s capital city by taking the Tallink ferry over the Baltic Sea. We were to stay in Stockholm two nights, and I somehow booked one night each on both ends of the spectrum: the first night had us at a crowded hostel in Stockholm’s Norrmalm district, while the second night saw us move down about a 15 minute walk to the main tourist draw: Gamla Stan.
Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s Old Town, revolving around a small little island on which stands numerous buildings, many that are more than three centuries old. On the western side of this island, about a block away from a highway which connects Norrmalm and Södermalm, proudly stands the Victory Hotel.
As you enter the lobby, you are immediately aware that your stay at the Victory Hotel is going to be comfortable, at the very least. The interior of the lobby and the adjacent bar are outfitted to the fullest in nautically-themed decor. The theme fits the fetish that Sweden seems to have for maritime activities; the Victory Hotel could almost double as some naval museum: there are many artifacts on display all around, on the stairs are some perfect examples of sailors’ embroidery, and there’s even love letters you can read framed in the lobby from Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton. The original hotel owners were fascinated with Lord Nelson, naming this hotel after his ship, the HMS Victory.
I arrived a bit early to check in, but the receptionist allowed my friend and me to leave our bags so that we could wander around. When we got back, we were given the key to our room (a key that’s heavy enough to drop your trousers should you put them in the pocket of pants without a belt), and we made our way up to our 4th floor room. The elevator is directly in front of the reception desk, a free-standing, glass-enclosed box in the very center of the lobby; if getting into it while people outside can see you from any of 360 angles doesn’t make you feel awkward, then perhaps its maddeningly-slow ascent might do it for you.
We got to our floor and went to our room, named after some late Swedish admiral or captain, as are all the other 44 rooms. Upon entering, it was quite surprising just how poshly the room was decorated; of course it was just as blue and ocean-y as the rest of the place in theme, but not tacky. The room was stocked with everything you could need: six different soaps and lotions in the bathroom, lights in every single cabinet and drawer, and even a trouser press! The bed was spacious and comfortably firm. A desk sat in the corner at a window overlooking the street below, and a sofa, chairs, a corner armoire, and coffee table finished off the furnishings. A television was conveniently mounted on a swiveling arm which was able to rotate from the bed to the salon area. Oh, and there’s a CD player, helping the room feel authentically antique ;)
The bathroom was just as detailed in design; dozens of different shower tiles were put together into a tasteful display. The towel rack is heated, of course, and the rest of the bathroom was outfitted in marble and pearly-white porcelain. And one other luxury, in case no one was convinced: the marble tiled floors are heated from beneath.