Both prior to and after our return from Stockholm this spring, we were asked the same question by friends and family over and over – “why Stockholm?” In our answer, we usually expounded on the inspiration for our trip, giving a broader sense of the Scandinavian city’s overall allure – its notable design scene, the food, Nordic culture, etc. – but the real answer could have been summed up in just two words: Ett Hem.
Over the years of penning Map & Menu and keeping up with the latest hotel news and travel writing, we’d read countless articles about the unique hotel experience at Ett Hem and had long dreamt of staying at the impeccably designed home away from home in Stockholm’s chic Östermalm neighborhood. Literally translated as “a home” in Swedish, Ett Hem has taken great care in all aspects of its design to evoke the comfort and familiarity of one’s own residence. Guests are treated more like friends and are encouraged to use the property as if it were their own. The kitchen is open to guests at any hour and conversation with the chefs, who are at work preparing the day’s seasonally-driven and delicious meals, is always encouraged. Design books and novels – the ones you actually want to read – are stacked and tucked away in all corners of the property, while the oversized chairs and sofas in the living room beg to be used and enjoyed.
Careful thought and attention to detail has been placed in all aspects of the property’s design, both inside and out, thanks to English designer Ilse Crawford and the exceptional vision of the owners. Ett Hem’s design honors the history and charm of its 1910 Arts & Crafts house with a mix of Swedish antiques and a modern Scandinavian aesthetic. Its 12 bedrooms upstairs are decorated, minimally, in warm and comforting hues. The courtyard with its impressive perennial garden and countless potted plants, where we spent most of our (waking) time on a pair of Massproduction chairs, is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine and relaxed conversation while watching the sunlight fade away.
Dining at Ett Hem only adds to the overall experience. Menus are planned and prepared each day with the freshest, seasonal ingredients, while guests can take their meals in the elegant library, around a communal farm table in the kitchen, in the cozy, plant-filled greenhouse, or weather permitting, under the lights in the stone courtyard. Breakfast consists of fresh pastries, bread, and granola, served alongside a platter of cheese and sliced tomatoes, avocados, radishes, and ham. Dinner changes nightly and guests have the option of ordering a set menu or a la carte dishes.
In hindsight, planning an entire (international) trip based off of one hotel was a little risky. Would the trip have been ruined if our stay was anything less than amazing? Were our expectations for the property a bit too high? Thankfully Ett Hem (and our entire time in Stockholm) more than met and exceeded the lofty hopes with which we planned our getaway.