Watsons' Bar at Hotel Rival, Stockholm, Sweden

Hotel Rival
Stockholm, Sweden


We knew that we were in a city obsessed with ABBA when we looked up from our bed at the Hotel Rival Stockholm, to see a mural of the fab four. But there’s a good reason, as Benny-ABBA is actually one of the owners of this homely, art-deco cinema conversion.

The dramatic touches continue throughout (there is still a theatre space downstairs), and in some rooms, instead of ABBA, you’ll find murals of Greta Garbo, or Ingrid Bergman, immortalised on the “silver screen” behind some velvet curtains right above your headboard.

Rooms at the Hotel Rival, Stockholm are effortlessly comfortable (and large for the city) … the aesthetic is Swedish chic. Rooms at the front look out onto a famous square and those behind peer over a large courtyard and into other residential buildings, or over the rooftops of this trendy part of town. Rooms at the top of the house (some in the attic) are the quirkiest. You’ll also find a collection of CDs in each room, we may have played the ABBA Gold album a number of times during our stay.

Downstairs, the restaurant serves up a hearty breakfast in a dining room that again plays into the hotel’s theatrical heritage. It also serves up a mean Sunday brunch, at time of press, the talk of the town.

But where the Hotel Rival, Stockholm wins is in its location. You don’t get a hipper address that Mariatorget with its bookstores, sushi bars, boutiques and antique stores. We just knew we were staying somewhere desirable when everyone that we encountered on this trip to Stockholm professed to live close to the hotel.

We love the Hotel Rival because it has become our home-away-from-home in the Swedish capital. And each time we return, it’s like coming back to family. The team here is stupendous.

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While you’re Out There
You’re in the heart of Södermalm, so the Rival makes an excellent base to walk around and explore this part of the city. Bearing East out of the hotel and past the T-bana (metro) station, you’ll find Stockholm’s oldest gay bar, Sidetrack. Keep walking and you’ll get to the area’s famous shopping street Götgatan. Turn right and head up to the Swedish-brand mecca that is Brunogallerian. Further up, you’ll find one of our favourite places to eat, The Hills.


Photography courtesy of Hotel Rival

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