by STELLA magazine writers, The Telegraph, December 4, 2018
From achingly cool city breaks to breathtaking forest escapes, the Scandi scene just keeps giving...
Radisson Collection Hotel, Strand Stockholm
Best for... a stylish city break
The low-down: Stockholm is often referred to as the Venice of the North – and the Radisson Collection Strand certainly feels like an Italian palazzo, perched on the edge of one of the Swedish capital’s waterways. Originally built in 1912 for the Olympics, the hotel was a favourite haunt of Greta Garbo and Ingmar Bergman. Now you can channel your inner film star as you enjoy its recently refurbished, Scandi-chic design – coral grey, aubergine, chrome and brass – its supremely comfortable beds, its lavish breakfasts. Best of all, it’s fantastically central, within easy walking distance of the high-end design shops of Östermalm, the picturesque cobbled old town of Gamla Stan, and the bohemian cafés and vintage shops of Södermalm. Explore, enjoy – then retire to the hotel’s Strand bar for a reviving cocktail.
Out and about: Just opposite the hotel is the temple to Nordic interior design, Svenskt Tenn. It’s also well worth checking out the preserved 17th-century shipwreck, the Vasa, and contemporary photography collection, Fotografiska. Plus, unleash your inner dancing queen at the interactive Abba museum.
If museum’s aren’t your thing, why not simply meander through Södermalm’s hipster neighbourhood, SoFo (south of Folkungagatan)? Here, you can browse the latest Nordic fashions at Grandpa, enjoy a healthy lunch at Urban Deli Nytorget – and then treat yourself to handmade toffee at Pärlans.
Stella loves: The cookie jar in the foyer, for a bite-size boost after exploring the city.
From £175 per night; radissoncollection.com
Read the full review: Radisson Collection Hotel, Strand Stockholm
The Thief, Oslo
Best for... a modern city hideaway
The low-down: If you can help it, plan to arrive at The Thief at golden hour, when the sun is beginning to mellow over the Oslofjord. The granite gold and glass which make up this waterside hotel glint in the evening light, enticing you to come away from the crowds beginning to fill the restaurants on the waterfront, and escape to the hotel’s rooftop bar for a cocktail. The perfect hotel for a city break, you are well placed to explore the sights during the day, but be sure to plan a couple of hours’ respite in the spa (the bergamot salt scrub in the steam room will make you seriously consider why you ever put anything else on your skin) before heading out into the city for dinner.
Out and about: The hotel’s own restaurant Fru K offers five and seven-course seasonal menus, but if you want to venture out head to Bar Brutus, a trendy wine bar serving small plates of new Nordic food and a very reasonably priced (for Oslo) tasting menu. For art lovers, the quirky style in the hotel will delight, but you’ll be pleased to find your room key gets your free admission to the nearby Astrup Fearnly Museum of Modern Art.
Stella loves: The breakfast spread, which is vast and delicious – and if you’re in a hurry, the friendly staff will happily prepare you a box of delights and a strong coffee to take away with you.
Rates from £310 B&B; thethief.com
Read the full review: The Thief, Oslo
Storfjord Hotel, Sunnmøre Alps, Norway
Best for… foodies craving fresh forest air
The low-down: If you’ve never sat in a sauna at dusk, looking out at a forest whose trees are tipped with gold from the setting sun, a chilled gin and tonic providing ample respite from the heat hugging your body, then you haven’t really lived at all. At least, this is the view of most of the guests to have stayed at Storfjord. Come for the exquisite Scandi-chic rooms, the fjord views and the comforting, locally-sourced delights coming out of the kitchen. Stay for the slice of heaven which is the hotel’s mountainside sauna and hot tub.
Out and about: If you’ve hired a car to get to Storfjord you’ll have driven past countless lakes and fjords and will be dying to get closer. Hire a kayak from the hotel and head out for a paddle or take a private boat trip. The hotel can help you organise everything from a guided hike on one of the many nearby trails, to a fishing trip or even (if you’re feeling particularly flush) a helicopter ride.
Stella loves: The enormous balconies, where you can cuddle up with a soft blanket and a glass of red wine and gaze at the sprawling views of the dense Nordic forest or the sparkling fjord below.
Rates from £185 room only; storfjordhotel.com
L7 Luxury Lodge, Finnish Lapland
Best for... active luxury seekers
The low-down: Log cabins don’t get more decadent. Set in the wild remotes of Finnish Lapland, L7 is a perfect mix of style, elegance and rustic cosiness. With only seven intimate rooms, each boasts the most gorgeous view of the frozen forest. Days can be spent exploring the Lapland through a snowmobile trip in the national park, skiing or dog sledding, whilst the evenings will be spent relaxing in the hot tub, sauna or in front of the roaring fires. All this can be paired with decadent meals created with fresh local ingredients.
Out and about: The itinerary also includes a snowmobile excursion to the Snow Village of Lainio, which last year teamed up with HBO Nordic to create a Game of Thrones themed icehotel. The Luxury Holiday Company can also organise extensions with an overnight stay in one of the icy suites.
Stella loves: Each room has a screen with live Aurora forecast – so soothing!
Three-night stays at L7 Luxury Lodge from £1,995 per person including return airport transfers in the UK, flights from UK to Kittala, three nights at L7 Luxury Lodge on a full board basis, free use of toboggans and cross country skis, husky sledding excursion, full day snowmobiling excursion to Lainio Snow Village; theluxuryholdidaycompany.com