Ett Hem, meaning home, was officially opened in 2013 and is located on a quiet residential street in Ostermalm, a north-eastern district in central Stockholm. It turns out to be akin to Ballsbridge, Dublin with plenty of diplomatic residences and embassies – elegantly aloof from the city but within a short walk or drive to the main sights.
The redbrick façade of the building, originally built in 1910, and designed by architect Fredrik Dahlberg, gives nothing away as to the sense of calm curated by the owner Jeanette Mix who worked with design legend Ilse Crawford. Many hotels are referred to as a “home away from home” without living up to the moniker. Ett Hem sets the standard.
The open plan reception level incorporates the sitting room, where there are squashy sofas to sink into, games to play, a grand piano should you feel inspired, and a library stocked to the ceiling with books you actually want to read. An honesty bar and open fire complete the feeling you are a house guest rather than a first time visitor.
At the heart of Ett Hem is the kitchen with a large communal table, comfy chairs and open shelves where cakes, fruit and biscuits are left out for guests to enjoy throughout the day. Great local produce is the key word for the inhouse chef who decides on the menu each morning depending on what is available. Food is prepared with an anytime, anywhere ethos. I arrived mid-afternoon after an early flight and no lunch and the chef whipped up a fresh mushroom soup, with warm bread and an apricot tart for afters. That impressed even before I saw my room.
There are just twelve rooms in total with seven suites. All exude warmth and a sophisticated edit of old and new pieces in tactile materials. A sheepskin was loosely thrown over an armchair, while a brass freestanding bathtub dominated an alcove overlooking the neighbouring rooftops, and an antique stove in another corner. The things I loved about my suite ranged from the Aesop amenities in the bathroom, an unexpected steamer and yoga mat in the wardrobe, Verso skincare to sample, not forgetting the cocktail cabinet and vintage details (the antique chandelier to be precise). Then there is Jeanette Mix’s little guide The Seasons at Ett Hem which details the various Swedish holiday traditions, from Valborg celebrating the arrival of Spring to Christmas, traditionally celebrated on December 24 with details of the menu including dessert – usually Risgrysgrot, a sweet porridge made with milk, rice and cinnamon in which a blanched almond is hidden. The person who gets the almond will marry the following year, according to legend. I followed Jeanette’s shopping and restaurant guide to the letter – realising that Ett Hem is well placed for its proximity to delicious bakeries (Riddargbageriet), wonderful cafés (Saturnus), galleries (Galleri Charlotte Lund) and restaurants (Agrikultur and Babette).
Given that Ilse Crawford’s expertise has guided this hotel, design touches are aplenty. There are coloured-glass ornaments, chic Michael Anastassiades lights (the Cypriot is designer of the year 2020), handblown water goblets by Ingegerd Råman, bed linen from local brand Behagligt and lovely artwork throughout.
Ett Hem puts equal emphasis on both indoor and outdoor experiences – the patio and courtyard garden look ideal for summer evenings, while the small spa comprises a gym, sauna and relaxation room. I didn’t have time to use these facilities, but as the saying goes, I’ll be back. Next time, I will also buy the Ett Hem candle, the scent of sandalwood and cedarwood was created by a former guest (who owns Fueguia fragrances) and it still lingers in my memory. Tranquil, muted, memorable … everything I like in a hotel.
Ett Hem, Sköldungagatan 2, 114 27 Stockholm, Sweden; www.etthem.se