How do hoteliers deal with requests, bogus requests and property visits? Travel journalists want to share their experiences in an honest and storytelling way so that visitors can make up their own minds, mapping a hotel on their ‘wish’ list or their ‘avoid’ list. Travel-writing is a profession, and hoteliers should therefore be encouraged to make a journalist’s visit a part of their overall marketing mix. My visit to Stockholm recently was a poor example of such an understanding. So, here you have it, a travel journalist’s contemplations on a hotel stay in Stockholm.
I had booked a room at Berns Hotel in Stockholm weeks before my arrival, and a dedicated person should be available to show me the facilities and tell me about the history of the hotel.
Related: A Living Hotel in Stockholm
A cultural gem
To my generation, Berns Salonger by Berzelli Park in Stockholm is a cultural gem which since 1863 has offered visitors food, drinks and theatrical experiences. In 1866 cancan was performed there for the first time for a Swedish audience. Berns Salonger featured in Strindberg’s classic 1879 novel The Red Room, which follows broke young locals searching for freedom and truth.
The adjoining hotel opened in the 1980’s with rooms designed by Olle Rex and immediately attracted a well-heeled crowd of people not afraid to splash the cash and enjoy noisy club nights and concerts. Bill Gates and Rihanna have apparently spent the night here, not together, I hasten to emphasize.
The main restaurant, once a music hall is beautiful with amazing chandeliers and ambient decor, but why have the hoteliers in cooperation with British designer and restaurateur Terence Conran chosen to make it an Asian restaurant?
A Travel Journalist’s Hotel Contemplations
Arriving at the hotel, I was disappointed to experience that I had been squeezed into perhaps the smallest room in the hotel (categorized ‘standard room’) with a bit stern décor and ugly furniture with a certain 90s air. The air conditioning did not work which is really unusual for a four-star hotel. During the night, I had to keep the balcony doors open, but then it was impossible to keep the warmth under the synthetic tiny bedclothes, which today is unusual for any number-of-star hotel.
Related: Södermalm Artistic Center in Stockholm
That being said, the reception informed me that the ‘press guy’ was busy in a budget meeting and could not see me until the next day. Since I had a full schedule in Stockholm for the next two days, I decided I would write these contemplations instead.
In my opinion, the biggest pitfall a hotelier can do is to treat a writer as a VIP and neglect their customers. Journalists do not expect that. But when they treat a writer as a mere backpacker, they should realize that journalists also pick up on all of that.
For me the best part of the hotel was the central location for everything I had scheduled to do in Stockholm during my stay. And nearby Grand Hotel has a wonderful wine bar.
All photos: Tor Kjolberg
A Travel Journalist’s Contemplations on a Hotel Stay in Stockholm, written by Tor Kjolberg, editor-in-chief