Stora Hotellet, Umeå

December 07, 2017

Step into Stora Hotellet in Umeå on the Gulf of Bothnia in northern Sweden, and it feels like stepping into another, more romantic, dimension. The plush interior reminiscent of the heyday of a time gone by might be the first thing that strikes you about Stora Hotellet, but spend more time within its walls and you’ll soon notice some more subtle, thoughtfully considered details to make you smile. 

Illustrations of giant squid adorn the walls and carpets; seahorses, skulls and anchors are carved into wooden furnishings in the hotel’s restaurant; shells line the shelves of the communal areas; and sea creatures lurk on the restaurant’s crockery. These more subtle details are beautifully sympathetic to the feel and style of the hotel, yet also hint that it doesn’t take itself too seriously — something that’s refreshing for a hotel with a luxury interior. 

Stora Hotellet was established in 1895, when it soon became a centre of entertainment in the seafaring town of Umeå. Its proximity to the sea and nearby river meant that it was a convenient place anyone travelling by boat to stop by, socialise, and rest at. 

Embracing this rich history, the hotel divides each of its 82 rooms into six categories named after key concepts from seafarer’s world view: Superstition, Old Venture, Mystique, Yearning, Passion, and Freedom. 

Depending on which category of room you stay in, you could be sleeping in a room decked out to look like a seaman’s cabin (Superstition), or a luxury suit (Freedom — see header image). 

Communal areas of the hotel include the library, and the continental indoor square, where you can find a deli, restaurants, a bar, cafes, artisan bakery, and florist, all under one roof. Events can also be held here, which can cover exhibitions, music, conferences, and banquets. 

The wonderfully named Gotthard’s Krog restaurant — an organically certified restaurant that puts vegetables dishes at the core of its menu and supplies food from its own vegetable farm — can be accessed via the square, as well as artisan bakery Kulturbageriet. The bakery is located in the old stable building of the hotel, and supplies Stora Hotellet with all the bread and pastries for their guests.

Visit Stora Hotellet at Storgatan 46, 903 26 Umeå, Sweden, or online.