One chilly autumn weekend, Pra found herself sleeping in a former girl’s school in Stockholm, in the company of a headmistress named Miss Clara.
Perhaps we’re exaggerating a bit (a lot). It wasn’t that Pra was suddenly disciplined by a Scandinavian schoolmistress. It’s that the Caviar team discovered Miss Clara Hotel in their Stockholm research when planning out a “Weekend In Stockholm” piece and decided it looked like just the place for us.
When looking for a place to rest our heads, one of our main requirements was that the hotel be located in a central area. Having never visited the city before, we wanted our weekend stay to be in the very heart of it all, close to transportation and with easy access to the various neighbourhoods like Östermalm, Gamla Stan, and Vasastan. Miss Clara fit the bill perfectly, sitting right on Sveavägen Boulevard, the city’s most cosmopolitan stretch of street, and being near public transportation.
Miss Clara Hotel is part of Sweden’s reputable Nobis Hospitality Group, and given the gleaming reputation of the luxury group and its various venues, we were fairly certain that the hotel would deliver on service, design, and comfort. If you know anything about The Caviar Spoon, it’s that we have some pretty high standards that need to be met in order for us to be impressed.
The Art Nouveau building, built in 1910 and updated with just enough modern Scandinavian design to keep it feeling and looking sophisticated, is a beauty. Since we were going to be in the country iconically associated with minimalist design, it only made sense that we’d embrace it by staying in a hotel that seemed to demonstrate it beautifully.
As for that bit about it being a girls’ school? The building served as the Ateneum girl’s school from 1910 to 1939. During this time, Miss Clara Strömberg, a passionate and influential character with a lovely joie de vivre, was one of the school’s most popular headmistresses. And now you know why the hotel is named what it is!
The hotel has respected the building’s roots by carefully preserving the stunning Art Nouveau architecture and maintaining the structural integrity such as the high ceilings and spiral staircase. In fact, even though there have been plenty of additions and modern touches, they blend together so seamlessly, you might be hard-pressed to distinguish the original parts from the newer ones. It’s a classically beautiful intersection between then and now.
It’s quite narrow in some areas (including the rather small lift!) but the architecture firm Wingårdhs, which was in charge of the building’s restoration along with the interior design, has made very good use of the space by being careful not to bring in too much clutter whilst smartly positioning what they do have in a way that maximises every corner.
This isn’t a place of plush opulence with grand chandeliers, heavy drapery, and rich ornamentation. It’s where you’ll learn to appreciate the sophistication Nordic simplicity and remember that sometimes less is more.
Pra’s room was on the cosy side but perfect for a girl and her suitcase. In any other hotel, the same size room might feel too tiny due to furniture and layout but Miss Clara manages to make the rooms feel airy and open, aided by the high ceilings and tall windows that let the sunlight stream in.
Furniture and extra objects are kept to a minimum whilst making use of every bit of space and utilising multitasking pieces. Smartly, they’ve done away with a bulky wardrobe and replaced it with metal bars, each with grooves that hold precisely 3 hangers. It’s like having a clothing rack without feeling messy or disorganised. Another smart and sophisticated space-saving design element they’ve implemented in the rooms is the use of sliding doors.
My room also had a small sitting area with a chaise longue for those quiet moments at the beginning or end of the day. A sideboard along the windows provided both storage space and a window seat, complete with a cute cushion perched at one end so you can hop up for a few minutes with your Kindle as you catch a glimpse of Stockholm city life through the window.
The bed was fabulously comfortable with a quirky addition at the foot of the bed that puzzled Pra for a minute! It looked like a chair back but when I went to move it, I realised that it was firmly attached. Turns out this is a thoughtful touch from the designers, who thought it would be nice to create a space where a couple travelling together could still feel like they were hanging out, even if working separately on their laptops or reading a book. One person can sit against the headboard and the other against the chair back, creating a sense of “togetherness”. Love!
In the bathroom, they somehow managed to fit a deep square tub! Standing in it was quite the experience and although I didn’t indulge in a soak, I can only imagine that filling it up would be utterly blissful.
Overall, the rooms excel in sophisticated simplicity – there’s an ever-so-slight hipster touch but there’s still a classic comfort that makes you feel like you’re staying in the guest bedroom of someone’s flat rather than a hotel.
From the moment I had arrived at the hotel, it had been filled with the kind of warm, energetic buzz that indicates happy customers and excellent staff. A packed schedule meant I had to dash off to an appointment almost as soon as I had set my bags down but it wasn’t without a wistful look at the lively and packed modern bistro that I left. Luckily, I was able to return sooner than expected, so I rushed to grab the last part of their brunch service. Filled with 30-somethings, it was hip but not pretentious.
Another evening, after a full day spent exploring the nooks and crannies of Stockholm, I was in dire need of good comfort food in a chill setting. Rather than try to seek out a place in the city, I headed back to Miss Clara, craving that hip, laidback vibe.
The restaurant keeps the same pared-down Scandinavian aesthetic as the rest of the hotel. It’s a great spot for a meal or even a business meeting if you’re looking for something a bit more upscale than a casual cafe. The wooden tables, leather seating, and low-hanging pendant lights mix together a bit of masculine and feminine, and as soon as the sun starts to set, candles are lit to add an extra layer of cosiness to counter the early darkness.
I ordered the meatballs (because you have to when in Sweden), which were absolutely divine. It’s a good sign when a restaurant can nail the simple dishes!
The next morning, I was back down there for breakfast, which was accompanied by candlelight as the sun hadn’t come up yet. It was so peaceful watching the bustling city come to life.
I didn’t have the chance to spend time at the bar, but based on the awesome wine list I saw at dinner, I think we can safely say that the rest of their quaffs are likely just as satisfying and appealing! (In addition to craft cocktails, they also offer a range of Scandinavian micro-brewed beers.)
The restaurant and bar area would be a fab place to unwind if you’re in town for business and have had back-to-back meetings or a full day conference.
Good To Know
From the airport:
Taxi: 30-45 minutes, flat rate of 520 SEK. Make sure you choose Taxi Stockholm 150000.
Arlanda Express Train: 20 minutes, one-way ticket 260 SEK. Departing every 15 minutes during the day. You´ll arrive at Central Station.
Nearest subway stop: Hötorget Station, Olof Palmes gata exit. The hotel is 100 metres from here.
Disclaimer: The Caviar Spoon was hosted by Miss Clara Hotel but all opinions expressed are ours.
111 34 Stockholm