Last week saw the grand opening of a remarkable new Stockholm hotel – the Quality Hotel Friends in Solna. YLC’s Solveig Rundquist got the lowdown on the new landmark!
The avantegarde exterior of Quality Hotel Friends was inspired by the ”sweat pearls” of beloved Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. While designing a hotel after a man’s sweat may be befuddling to a non-Swede, the hotel aims to be the natural hotel choice for Swedes and international guests alike, for ”moments big and small.”
Over half of its 400 rooms were booked for the first night. The hotel, owned by Petter A. Stordalen and hotel partners Arthur and Anders Buchardt, is built directly into the Friends Arena, providing direct access from one to the other for sport events. It also features eight conference rooms and two massive event halls, with room for two to 2270 participants.
There are three different dining areas in the hotel, presenting a range of styles, moods, menus and prices. First Moment is the lobby bar, which guests see right when they walk in and offers drinks and lighter dishes. On the fourth floor lies In Between, the impressive conference dining and breakfast hall with room for nearly 400 guests. Finally, on the 25th floor you’ll find On Top, a bar and deluxe restaurant with a stunning view and elegant atmosphere.
The restaurant also features a private balcony for two just above the main seating area – but it’s already booked for the next two months.
YLC had lunch On Top, and the only thing which rivaled the view was the food. The prices are about what you would expect for a restaraunt of that caliber, with entrées ranging from 180 to 280 SEK. Perfectly prepared and presented, the appetizer consisted of three separate small dishes each with its own unique flavors. The main course consisted of duck thigh and a side of the most luxurious mashed potatoes. Dessert was simple but satisfying, with a plate of assorted chocolate truffles presented to each table.
From the windows to the chairs to the sinks, everything in the hotel emanates simple, clean yet unique Scandinavian style. YLC managed to snag Anders Buchardt during lunch to get the story behind it. Between bites of delectable duck and chocolate concoctions he explained that he and his wife handled most of the interior decorating.
”I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to these things,” Buchardt told YLC.
”Both the look and the quality. The exterior is hard, so we wanted it to be soft on the inside. It had to be soft, Scandinavian, and clean. But it’s not enough that it looks good, we also wanted designs that will last – 20, 30, 40 years.”
The furnishings and decor on all 25 floors come from Scandinavia and Italy, and many of the items were specially made for the hotel – including the bedside lamps which were designed for the company five years ago.
While logistically the hotel lies in a prime location – with easy access to the Arena, Arlanda Airport, and central Stockholm – the immediate surroundings leave something to be desired aesthetically. The Mall of Scandinavia is set to open in 2015, but until then, cranes and construction abound. Still, there’s plenty of nature to be seen as well, with green and blue stretching all the way to Globen and beyond.
Stepping through the doors into Quality Hotel Friends was like entering Valhalla. With luxurious yet homey decor, high ceilings, warm lighting and perfectly integrated Scandinavian art, the hotel couldn’t look more polished. The food was flawless, and the view, while not yet perfect, is still remarkable. Quality Hotel Friends in Solna certainly gets the YLC stamp of approval!
Solveig is a recently-graduated American cactus who plucked up her ancient Scandinavian roots and transplanted them back to snowy Stockholm soil. When not writing for YLC she can be found cantering about town in search of culture, cheer and a career.