From 890 Swedish kronor, or about $96.
The Blique by Nobis is the third Stockholm hotel designed by Gert Wingardh, a pre-eminent Swedish architect, for the NobisCQ hotel group. Opened in April, this industrial property spans two buildings, a former warehouse designed in the 1930s by another renowned architect, Sigurd Lewerentz, and a newer ’90s-era office building next door. A shared central courtyard is today an urban haven with a tinkling water fountain, while the severe interiors — all raw concrete with hulking pillars and exposed metal pipes — have been filled with timeless Scandinavian furnishings, modern sculptures and contemporary artworks inspired by neighborhood galleries. On the upper floors, the 249 guest rooms range from windowless Sleep rooms to middle-of-the-road Blique rooms to long-stay Studios of varying size, each tailored to the needs of a different type of traveler. The name of the hotel is derived from “blick,” the Swedish word meaning to look or glance, and is a tribute to the visual aesthetics of the hotel project and the neighborhood, according to the company.
In Stockholm’s gallery district on the northern cusp of the city, the property sits between the neighborhoods of Vasastan and Hagastaden, at the crossroads of the city’s present and its future. The popular Vasastan, with its wide boulevards and many Swedish Grace-style buildings, is a residential area with leafy parks, corner bistros, small bakeries, vintage shops and top-notch art galleries. In contrast, Hagastaden is a new urban development project intended to tie Stockholm to its northern suburbs. The vast grassy lawns and wooded paths of Hagaparken, a rambling park north of the city, are also within easy strolling (or biking) distance.
At the end of an austere, fluorescent-lighted hallway, I heaved open a vault-like black door to enter my room, a fifth-floor Blique Queen. There was a bunkerlike feeling to the compact space, with two square windows set high on the far wall on either side of a thick concrete pillar. In the center of the room, a soft queen-size bed with crisp white linens was backed by a dark-brown headboard with decorative blonde-leather straps. As at other Nobis properties, limited space was optimized by an efficient storage system, in this case a series of black-metal poles with clothing hangers, two drawers and shelves with a small safe. There was also a full-length mirror, a wall-mounted television, and, tucked in one corner, a canvas safari chair and matching footstool designed by Kaare Klint in the 1930s. On a shelf beside the bed, a pamphlet titled “How to Act Like a Local” offered neighborhood suggestions and on-point etiquette tips (Step 1: No small talk with Swedes).
Separated from the bedroom by a frosted-glass sliding door, the compact bathroom was tiled from floor to ceiling in beige terrazzo. Black-metal fixtures stood out against the trendy tiles, visually punctuating the space. In addition to heated flooring and a terrazzo-tile counter, there was a glass shower stall with a rainfall shower head and fluffy white towels on two rectangular bars that hung from the ceiling. Two light sources — a frosted wall sconce and red-hued ceiling spotlights — provided dim, orange-toned lighting that proved insufficient for morning makeup application.
Stockholmers can’t get enough of rooftop bars during the long, light-filled days of summer, which bodes well for Arc, the hotel’s 11th-floor restaurant and bar. For now, locals have yet to swarm the bi-level rooftop terrace, which overlooks Hagastaden, and the dinner menu hops between small plates of Nordic seafood and Korean-inspired sharing dishes. A second restaurant and bar, Boketto, continues the pan-Asian theme in a basement-level space, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The daily breakfast buffet (included in my rate) recently offered individual ramen bowls, fried rice, cured salmon, banana-and-chia porridge and miniature Swedish cinnamon buns. Later in the day, the cavernous space serves steamed buns with soft-shell crab (175 kronor) and spicy chicken wings with papaya salad (195 kronor). There’s also a lobby lounge, Origo Bar, which is open all day and pours signature cocktails alongside an uninspiring selection of beer, wine and bar snacks.
A basement gym is well equipped with several cardio machines, yoga mats, kettlebells, benches and free weights. Next door, a wellness area includes a large sauna and lounge. Regular events, from art exhibitions to daytime disco parties, are held in the various common spaces. Wi-Fi is fast and free, and bikes are available to rent.
The Bottom Line
Interesting Swedish architecture and design in an often-overlooked neighborhood geared toward the traveler looking to explore a wider swath of Stockholm
Blique by Nobis, Gavlegatan 18, bliquebynobis.se
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