If you don’t want to splurge on the Ett Hem or the Grand Hotel Stockholm, this might be the perfect place for you.

By Nikki Ekstein
May 06, 2016
Miss Clara Stokholm
Credit: Courtesy of Design Hotels

The Concept

Design Hotels took over a former girls’ school building and turned it into a Scandinavian-cool, 92-room hotel in an enclave a few blocks north of the city center, roughly a 10-minute walk from Ostermalm and the city’s main shopping thoroughfares. As for the name? It’s a reference to a fictional headmistress.

The Room

Scandinavian bolt holes are known for having compact quarters and efficient design, and the Miss Clara fits the bill. Thanks to smart touches though, like leather cushions on the interior window ledge, a comfortable lap desk, and a vintage wooden seatback affixed to the foot of the bed, there are tons of places to curl up with a book, check up on email, or simply watch street life unfold. Large, arched windows, particularly in second-floor rooms, offer ample light even on short winter days. And it’s no minor miracle that bathrooms have space for separate bathtubs, water closets, and wide vanities neatly arranged with Orla Kiely products.

The Scene

While it’s less of a local hangout, the downstairs restaurant is filled with a reliably style-conscious crowd of travelers. At breakfast, we spotted everyone from retirees in leather jackets to creative types with their kids (this is a former schoolhouse, after all).

The Perks

Affordability is a big selling point for this hotel in pricey Stockholm, and as such, the extras are limited. Still, there’s a bottom-floor sauna that’s open to guests in need of a warm-up, and a standout smorgasbord breakfast includes beet-cured salmon, ultra-fluffy eggs, fresh loaves of bread, and lingonberry jam.

The Service

The general tone is cordial but unintrusive. We received a warm welcome and found a sweet treat of Swedish licorice waiting in our room, but interacted little with staff otherwise. When we asked one of the front desk agents to help secure last-minute reservations for the legendary smorgasbord at the Stockholm Grand, however, he had a hard time resisting an eyeroll at our oh-so-touristy request. (Ignore the snark: this is Sweden’s equivalent to tea at the Plaza, and it’s popular for a reason.)

What We Liked

Miss Clara get its right when it comes to big style and big value. Subtle nods to the building’s history, like blown-up portraits of student ballerinas in the lobby, are like inside jokes with guests; we give them an A grade.

What We Wished Had Been Better

At times, the hotel lacked the type of thoughtful details that make or break a stay. In the evenings, for instance, we wished for small, complimentary bottles of water (rather than the flavored, costly stuff in our minibar). And while the design maximizes the sometimes awkward room layouts, the one thing we were missing was a spot for our luggage, which occupied our window-facing chaise for three days.