When preparing for my weekend trip to Stockholm, I knew one thing: hang out on the Södermalm island. From reading the Girl with Dragon Tattoo books and from my extensive research into Stockholm travel tips (thanks Pinterest!), I knew this was the island for me. The tens of thousands of islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago are seemingly endless, but Södermalm is clearly the city’s coolest. (And we’re not talking weather, but vintage shopping, bars, food, etc etc etc…).
And that’s how I ended up staying at the Hotel Rival, right smack in the center of the Mariatorget square and a 10-minute walk in two separate directions to both Stockholm’s Old Town (Gamla Stan) and the super-trendy SoFo neighborhood (more on that later). The hotel’s location couldn’t be more perfect. Convenient to the touristic sites in the old town, to the music festival I was attending on the weekend and to the amazing vintage shopping in SoFo.
Upon checking in to the hotel, and meeting with the concierge (who runs his own independent Stockholm travel blog), I quickly learned a bit more about the property and the Södermalm area of Stockholm. But I needn’t have had to speak with the friendly front desk staff because walking up to my room, it was quickly apparent this was a cool hotel. The front lobby is reminiscent of the 20th century cinema from the same property, with a theater space still existing, a coffee shop at the front and a cocktail bar in the atrium.
Other bits of style appeared throughout the hotel. A glass-framed elevator takes guests up to their rooms (with panoramic views looking out over the colorful roofs of Södermalm). Each room comes with a mixed bag of DVDs and CDs which you can play on the in-room stereo. And many of the rooms come with balconies (mine looked out on the backside of the property so it was also quiet and relaxing). The rooms all reflect the cinema theme of the hotel. Large theater curtains and iconic movie stills & celebrity photographs dot the walls. (Make sure to check out the old Polaroids on the wall in the restaurant!)
Hotel Rival’s design wasn’t obnoxious as sometimes happens in design hotels, but actually was quite practical. Small design flourishes add just the bit of style to make it that much more special. And its location in the heart of the Mariatorget square make it a great option for travelers looking for more than just a place to sleep. This is a place to experience Stockholm and get a feel for the Södermalm vibe. Check for deals on Booking.com with room prices from 150€ per night, or view more information on their official website.