Stockholm's Home Away From Home
AT ETT HEM,
THERE ARE NO MENUS;
IT IS A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE CHEF AND YOU.
When it comes to hotels, like many things, we usually end up mixing a bit of high and low. We would prefer to stay in a clean and cozy 3-star over a wannabe 6-star. The mistake has been made too many times of paying a fortune to end up smothered by useless cover-up decoration, vinyl accessories and nauseating scents waiting to fumigate us at each turn.
As you can guess, we have an aversion to “glam for the sake of it” but definitely fall weak for luxurious stays that make us feel right at home. Whether it is London’s Chiltern Firehouse’s perfect scale, most beautiful bar and warm service; The Bowery Hotel’s dark, antique-filled interiors and burning fireplace during the New York winter; Rome’s Villa Spaletti Travelli’s monogramed linens, Ginori china and open bar in its living room; or, finally, Stockholm’s exquisite Ett Hem, to which we have dedicated this article.
These favorites of ours have the fingerprints of their owners all over them. They exude a very rare element of homeliness that the boutique or super luxury categories have a hard time replicating.
Ett Hem, meaning “a home” in Swedish, was a groundbreaking property in this category when it opened in 2012. It began as a restoration project, transforming an old Arts and Crafts-style building into a 12-room hotel. The owner, Jeannette Mix, knew exactly what she wanted and who she wanted to design it — none other than StudioIlse. Her goal was to replicate the original homelike experience to create a true home away from home for visitors. Founder and creative director of StudioIlse, Ilse Crawford, delivered on the brief. The end result is an intimate experience that pays respect to the Arts and Crafts architecture as well as the spirit of Swedish design, all while bridging the time gap to offer something that is very much today.
It is not only the design and hardware though that makes a place this special. The food, beverage and style of service also have to fit the concept very well. At Ett Hem, there are no menus; instead, it is a conversation between the chef, who tells you what he has, and you, who tells him what you feel like eating. You can have your meal in the living room, dining room, kitchen, greenhouse or out in the garden, if the weather provides. After a few visits we know that breakfast and dinner are not to be missed. They were our best meals in Stockholm. The service is also very simple and friendly and staff will go out of their way to make you feel at home, like drawing out detailed maps of how to get somewhere.
This past fall, we had the chance to go back and see the newly renovated extension. Another 10 rooms and more public areas have been added by taking over the buildings next door. The connection is ideal as it offers guests more living and garden space to roam. An additional kitchen, dining and even meeting rooms have been added as well. The design, as can be expected, is deft in its precise execution and balance. It is so difficult to do a good extension when such a precedence had been set with the first wing but they have truly pulled it off with seeming ease.
We highly recommend Ett Hem as a destination in itself or on a stopover to Europe or the U.S. Stockholm itself is also beautiful and full of delightful surprises.
This article appears in Holiday 2022 issue of Chanintr Living Download full issue
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