He was the youngest general managers ever interviewed for Swiss Education Group. At thirty-four, Andreas Cavallius manages Nobis Hotel Stockholm. A five star establishment in the heart of the city looking out onto Norrmalmstorg Square. His English is fluent as he answers questions squarely with a hint of an accent. As with most Swedes, he is remarkably handsome, tall and fit, although not blond and blue eyed as one might stereotype Viking descendants. He gets straight to the point with little unnecessary blah blah and in less than twenty minutes the interview is over, the essential information needed is captured.
What kind of hotel would entrust a stylish young man such as Andreas with the management of five stars? The answer is to be discovered at the hotel itself. Nobis hotel belongs to a group of six city hotel as well as being part of Design Hotels. Whereas a philosophy of functional design resides in every detail of the group’s establishments and no doubt in every centimeter of the hotel aforementioned.
But this philosophy cannot truly be experienced in theory, it must be seen and felt. Heard and tasted. Observed and relished. One must get on a plane, train or boat to Stockholm and enter the Nobis experience.
From the square, the hotel looks like one of the many palaces of Stockholm. The city is full of them. It is comprised of two buildings. On the left is a six story red brick structure with a castle edifice on the top left corner with four sharp towers poking the chilly blue sky. The right is white with a large windowed clock telling travelers the exact time, day, date and year. It once was home to monetary lords in the form of a bank. Now people from all over the world rather than currencies take temporary residence there. A welcome sight since across the square is Danske Bank residing in a rather dull building fit for the dullness of bankers.
Andreas is at the helm of his house which is the crib for weekend travelers and business folk. From the outside the place has an air of grand stuffiness, which is appropriate for such an address, but once inside, the stuff of stuffiness is wafted away in the colorful yet strict design. As well as the music booming just loud enough out of the JBL sound system hidden somewhere with the clever arrangement of spherical lighting fixtures hanging in the reception area. Listen for Prince, Koop, Groove Armada, Sly and the Family Stone whom are also guests.
All of the status stars that have stayed here are not in any way above the glittering welcoming reception staff that shine behind the iMacs. In a few short minutes bags are swept away to the accommodation. Andreas has personally made sure that it’s up to his guest’s liking and standard. Tonight he’s away from his family an extra hour or so to be interviewed by a popular Chinese online show that gathers several millions of subscribers. He’s hosted Prince William, pop stars and film icons. It’s just part of the job.
The room is a deluxe superior offering a view of the square and the squares pining away at their monetary nonsense in the bank two hundred meters away. It’s more fun to watch the tram and its contents come and go on a timely basis. The cringing iron wheels carving around the hotel every half hour or so is a reminder that this is a city with a population of living souls who move about by public transportation. It’s a pleasant city view softly veiled by the gauze curtains which are best kept open, and left untouched by the staff when re-entering the room. A city view should be unobstructed. If one prefers to keep the curtains closed, the view of the interior courtyard or The Lounge may be a better fit.
It’s comfortably large, nothing like the vast suite just a few floors above with it’s marble fireplace huge couches and an impressive collection of art and photo books under the large glass coffee table. Functionally clever and not frilly except for a tiny porcelain cherub in the corner of the room. The beauty of the furnishings is the lack thereof. No frills in the best sense. Just sensible furnishings such as the work station with a terrific desk lamp one would be tempted to take home. The only odd piece is a round poof which looks like a giant pin cushion. It’s use is questionable unless one would like to pin their lover to it.
The center piece of the hotel is called The Lounge. This is the heart of Nobis physically and ideologically. It’s actually the center courtyard and is filled with living room furnishings such as sofas, chairs, coffee tables, shelves, spotted with just the right amount of conversation pieces such as a model of a cargo ship, bulldog sculpture and loads of books and magazines. The round towers of the story-book castle plunge six stories into The Lounge handsomely styled with modern design. The effect is best felt when walking in the huge room then looking high up at the ceiling where two large round skylights are centered in colorful tiles then scrolling down the round tower walls to the ground floor occupied with foreign travelers and handsome locals.
Friday evening is the best time to get the full effect of The Lounge, as it is filled with after-work cocktail gentry. It is regal as the patrons are all more attractive than the other. Sipping drinks or champagne, dressed in tuxedos or jeans and knitted ski bonnets. This is where royalty mixes with designers and DJs. Conversing about film and culture, commerce and fashion, rock and disco whilst the eclectic music resonates in perfect acoustics within the walls of this style fortress.
The bar is just next to The Lounge. It’s reputed to be the best bar in town, and this is coming from locals. The reputation doesn’t come from clever design or style, but from the bartenders headed by Robbie and Måns, as well as Rasmus. They literally won first place in a national competition. The blend of an American from Queens and a native Swede with forearms clad in bad-ass tattoos offer some of the best spirit blends known to bar mankind. Not forgetting the female kind with gentle tingling passionate cocktails like vodka, crushed strawberries and fresh basil. The incredible beauty of Swedish women must not be taken lightly as as they value a strong independence that is matched by their formidable looks. One must tread with caution in this territory, for these ladies are often as tall as most men and are dressed to kill in warrior black. That is not to say they are mean spirited feminists. It’s beauty with brains, like the design sense of style and function. Furthermore, there seems to be no such thing as a fake blonde. Or fake of any kind for that matter. There is no pretense of in hair color.
Nobis is in the city center, so most of he sights are within one’s pedestrian capacity of just how far curiosity takes you. It seems that the early settlers had a master plan in future urban development. Starting with one island and expanding to another and another linking them together with bridges boats and ferries. There are several, museums, too much shopping, more than enough restaurants and an adorable Old Town that even the best Disney inventors could not match. It was rather fitting that the sky decided to bless the traveler with white flakes of icy confetti. It was snowing in late March. Something that should be considered normal by Swede standards. It added realism to the Northern European city vibe.
If one is a writer stay put! The written word will flow like snow flakes outside the floor-to-ceiling windows dancing their windy ballet. As if tumbling one letter after another like a literary blizzard accumulating page upon page of novel inventiveness. Let the creative juices flow and order room service. The restaurant serves fabulous Italian and the bistro fine tapas, so that you can comfortably stay within the boundaries of endless productivity. A quick run on the tread mill or a walk up and down the marble spiral staircase while gazing down at the dwellers tapping away on their devices in The Lounge will take care of physical necessities, then top it off with a sauna or steam bath so you can return to the comforts of storytelling.
finally, one cannot visit Stockholm without enjoying a night out dancing and observing the night club fauna. Just about every man and woman looks like they walked off H&M billboards, wiped off their fashion pouts and replaced them with bright smiles. Julia from the front desk will get you on the guest list of the downtown club scene. So get into those skinny pants, get your gazing specs on and go bounce to a beat, people watch, top it with some Absolut liquid refreshment and enjoy the scenery of the urban wilderness.
It’s been a while since ABBA topped the disco charts around the world yet today Sweden is the third biggest music exporters after the USA and the UK. The king’s subject have done very well with the Kingdom of Sweden, as with Stockholm city planing. Considering that Stockholm’s oldest night club is very close to the royal palace, one could imagine the King and Queen huddled together on a crisp night strolling across Strömbron Bridge on their way to Café Opera marveling at the beauty of their city. The cold climate seems to have generated something very humanly warm in this northern metropolis, as if the whole of Stockholm was engulfed in a sauna in the middle of an icy landscape. And in the middle of that is Nobis Hotel Stockholm which is home to the coolest bar in Stockholm which makes the hotel not only cool, but hot, and the staff headed by Andreas, humanly warm and gorgeous.