Stockholm’s Collector’s Hotels: The smallest hotel chain in the world

Stockholm, Sweden is a surprising place to find antiques and memorabilia honoring Admiral Lord Nelson, but the tiny hotel chain in Gamla Stan is charming. Photo: Victory Hotel, Stockholm

STOCKHOLM, August 28, 2012 — You might think a hotel chain honoring the seafaring exploits of Admiral Lord Nelson would be located in London or, at the very least, somewhere in England. If you did, you’d be wrong. The Collector’s Hotels can be found in the heart of Stockholm in Sweden’s Gamla Stan, otherwise known as the Old Town or the “Town Between the Bridges.”

The story begins in 1973 when Majlis Bengtsson and her husband, Gunnar, purchased the old Hotel Ignatius on Vastarlangatan on the island of Stadsholmen. Stockholm is a city of fourteen islands connected by bridges and, for centuries, Gamla Stan was the city.

When the Bengtssons bought their hotel, there was no hot water and only one bathroom in the entire building. Needless to say, it was not conducive to hosting a multitude of guests.

With true entrepreneurial spirit, Majlis purchased new bed coverings by the end of the first week and raised the price of each room from 27 Swedish kroner to 29.

Though each of the Collector’s Hotels features a naval motif relating to the life and times of Horatio Nelson and his exploits, they also possess characteristics that gives each property a unique individuality. 

Lord Nelson Hotel, Gamla Stan

Guests at the Lord Nelson, Lady Hamilton or the Victory Hotels are treated to museum-hostelries featuring memorabilia in every room as well as the corridors and common areas. 

The Lord Nelson Hotel is perhaps the most intimate of the three properties, primarily because it is the smallest. Though all the hotels are within a few blocks from each other, the Lord Nelson has the slight advantage of being closest to Stockholm’s modern city center and its major attractions. 

Major renovations for the Lord Nelson were undertaken in 1978 when the single bathroom problem was solved by providing private facilities in each of the 29 chambers.

Each room displays an antique model ship from which the room derives its name. 

Rather than numbers, hotel floors are named after different parts of a ship; Gun Deck, Middle Deck, Poop Deck and so on. Each floor also features its own grandfather clock which must be wound by hand every day.

Located at nearby Storkyrkobrinken 5, the Lady Hamilton Hotel was once three houses that were connected to make a single building. Archaeologists date the street to about 1470 when it served as the northern entrance to the center of town.

Lobby Lady Hamilton Hotel

As might be expected, the Lady Hamilton, which opened in 1980, features a feminine touch that is a unique blend of antique charm combined with modern comfort

Lady Hamilton’s 34 rooms feature wildflowers that are symbols of the counties of the country. Perhaps the most romantic of the three hotels, Lady Hamilton highlights peasant-style antiques along with the usual naval memorabilia.

Guests particularly enjoy the spa facilities in the cellar which contains a well dating to the 15th century. Majlis and Gunnar ingeniously incorporated the well into a plunge pool that allows visitors to cool off after using the sauna.

Nelson’s flagship was the HMS Victory so it is only natural for the flagship hotel to be the Victory. With 45 rooms the Victory is the largest and newest of the Bengtsson properties opening in 1985.

The building dates from 1640, and was later owned by the Lohe family at the end of the 18th century. In October, 1937 while five workers were doing renovations in the basement they discovered treasure in a corner of what is now the hotel bar, Leijonbaren.

Original walls of Stockholm, Victory Hotel

The find was the largest silver treasure in Sweden containing more than 18,000 coins and several artifacts valued at more than 100 million SEK. Today the discovery can be seen at the Stockholm City Museum and the Royal Coin Cabinet, which is just a few blocks from the hotel.

During construction by the Bengtssons, the base of the Lion-tower, Leijontornet, which formed part of Stockholm’s original city walls in the 14th century were uncovered and preserved in what is now the elegant restaurant for the hotel. The wall is the only known remaining fragment of the city’s medieval defense system.

Leijontornet is a gourmand’s delight featuring traditional Swedish cuisine served up by Chef Gustav Otterberg. Otterberg uses farm-fresh ingredients for hearty dishes, such as venison with dried cherries, ox marrow, and crispy black pudding.

Pictured outside each of the rooms are 45 sea captains, each of whom has been meticulously researched to obtain their place of honor. Double rooms also feature the captain’s wives.

Sitting room at Collector’s Hotels

The reception desk is enhanced by a love letter written by Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton.

Rates at the Lord Hamilton begin at about $215 a night. The Lady Hamilton Hotel starts at approximately $150 a night and rooms at The Victory begin at $180.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. He played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 69 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries.


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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 

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