Last month I took a weekend trip to Stockholm (see my review of American Airlines business class from Dallas to London). Why? Because flying to a Nordic country in the dead of winter for the weekend is completely normal behavior. The immigration officer was not amused. “Have you been to Sweden before? Are you here for business? Do you live in London?” No to all three.
For the most part it was a great trip. Stockholm can be a little forbidding in the winter. I don’t think the sun every got more than 10 degrees above the horizon, and every surface was covered with either ice or gravel. But the people were friendly, and I found enough to keep me occupied. My base for the trip was the Sheraton Stockholm, just a block from the main train station. I arrived by taking a 20 minute journey on the Arlanda Express, which charges 590 kroner (~$60) for a round-trip ticket. Buy it online in advance for just 325 kroner.
Though the brick exterior wasn’t very interesting, inside was more lively. The bar was busy every night, and there was often a DJ playing music. The restaurant had several busy tables.
Check-in was quick. I was upgraded to a junior suite on account of my Platinum status, and it was one of the nicer rooms I’ve had out of several recent Starwood hotel stays. I especially liked the wood flooring. Too many hotels have carpet, and it’s often not well maintained.
The entryway had a small refrigerator, minibar, and some tea and coffee to prepare with the electric kettle. There was also a large mirror covering the entire wall directly opposite the door. It startled me every time I entered the room, as if someone was already inside.
Otherwise it was great. Things looked well kept, and despite all the wood surfaces I didn’t observe many scratches or scuff marks. The desk was large enough to work at and had a few power outlets that were easy to access. However, Internet access was slow to average.
The Nespresso machine was a nice touch. I didn’t care for the freeze dried coffee in the entryway, so this was my drink of choice the next morning. (Surprisingly, I was not very tired after my long trip.) But each cup required a few tries. This one didn’t use pods. Those round discs had a tendency to fall straight through to the waste container underneath.
The bathroom was markedly different from the warm tones, wood floor, and yellow wallpaper in the bedroom. All white marble and blue paint. There was a wider spread than usual of Sheraton’s signature bath toiletries, which I prefer to the awful stuff at Westin and W brands. The one negative feature was the glass wall by the shower. It made it difficult to turn on the faucet without getting in. I would have preferred a door that swiveled open, like at the Andaz Liverpool Street in London.
The next morning I was treated to a view of City Hall. My room was only on the second floor (that’s the third floor to us Americans), but it was good enough. I didn’t notice any traffic noise despite the proximity of the bridge.
Breakfast was served in the Sheraton Club upstairs, though the club faced an inner courtyard and didn’t have any better views than my room. There was no reception when I entered besides one person replenishing food at the buffet.
It was very pleasant. A few people came in as I ate, but otherwise it wasn’t very busy. I’m still trying to determine if 9:30 AM is “early” in Stockholm. I wouldn’t think so, but I didn’t really see many people on the streets until around 11 or noon.
There was a wide selection of vegetables, cold cuts, and smoked salmon. I was impressed to see freshly cut pineapple and watermelon given where I was and the time of year.
I was a little more disappointed to learn that most Swedish pastries are apparently very dry. I tried buying them everywhere I went while in Stockholm, and I love buttery, sugary pastry. But I was out of luck and settled for a croissant. There were also a couple hot dishes including eggs and bacon, and another Nespresso machine. Breakfast was good but nothing special.
Overall this was one of the better Sheraton hotels I’ve stayed at. One problem I’ve observed with Starwood over the last couple years is that their brands have a very wide range of quality. Sheraton is one of the more consistent, and I was pleased that this particular location was at the upper end of that spectrum even so.
It was also convenient, not just to the train station but also to many nearby sights, located across the river from the old town (Gamla Stan) and near the museums to the east. I was able to walk just about everywhere I wanted to go, which was great because I only had 36 hours to explore!