It is not often that I find myself in a hotel that does not belong to a chain. This is either because I am staying on points, so it is much cheaper to be there, or there is no real difference in price between places, and I know that with Spire Elite at IHG and Diamond at Hilton, I will likely get an upgrade or something to sweeten the deal. On this occasion there was another factor at play.
I booked a weekend in Stockholm with my wife as a little celebration, and found that booking a hotel and flight package offered a great deal. On their own, flights were about £200 per person, but I could get 2 nights bed and breakfast for less than £100 extra. At the same time, AmEx were offering a £100 rebate when spending £500 with British Airways, so it didn’t take much to find a hotel and an upgraded room to take me over the £500 threshold. Coupled with cash back from TopCashBack, the whole weekend came to about £385 which was a bargain.
I chose the Story Hotel from the options BA Holidays had for me, on the basis of its central location about 5 minutes walk north of Gamla Stan and decent reviews. It looked like a fairly trendy place and I was confident that it would meet our needs.
We arrived at about 0030 in a taxi direct from Arlanda Airport and were greeted with pumping music from the night club. Check-in was quick and easy, with the staff acting as bouncer and desk agent all in one. The lobby also had some iMacs to use for check in but I passed on them. In this vein of high-tech functionality, there are no keys in the hotel – you are given a 5-digit code to type into the keypad outside the room door to open it.
Our room was called a Just Large King which featured a large, comfortable bed, open wardrobe (or a hanging rail to most people!) as well as a safe and fridge with some interesting complimentary drinks.
The bathroom was luxurious in a stylish way, with a rainfall shower, soft yellow lighting and wonderfully scented products (which may or may not have been requested for the bathroom at home!)
Thankfully the soundproofing was excellent as there was no noise from the street outside or the bar downstairs.
Breakfast was served in the restaurant and consisted of breads, small pastries, cheese, cold meats and boiled eggs. It was not an extensive selection, but it was all high quality.; the bread was particularly delicious covered in Nutella or toasted with cheese. Coffee was also excellent and my wife enjoyed the tea selection, kept warm in jugs with the aid of some tea lights which looked cool.
The restaurant, Long Ling, was packed when we went past, offering a delicious-smelling selection of Chinese delicacies. The bar is also worth a visit for a pre-dinner cocktail and residents can benefit from a 10% discount.
We were only there for two nights and, given that we wanted to see as much of the city as we could, didn’t spend too much time in the hotel. It was a great choice, and I enjoyed the uniqueness of it, particularly when compared to some of the more standardised chains. Whilst I am not giving up my status at the big hotel chains, I may be more likely to venture out of my comfort zone again if something like the Story Hotel came up as an option.