Umea, also known as the City of Birches, is the largest city in Norrland, the northernmost part of Sweden. One of the country’s most spectacular hotels was built here in 2014: the 120-year-old Stora Hotellet that is rich in history was completely revamped under the direction of Stylt Trampoli, a prizewinning design and architectural practice based in Gothenburg. The hotel has already received the prestigious “World's Best New Boutique Hotel 2014” award for its new, striking and highly individual interior.
One hundred years ago, the hotel situated in the heart of the city on the banks of the Ume River welcomed seamen and sailors from all over the world. The building housed both a hotel and the local Seamen’s Mission offices and accommodation. Today, the Stora Hottelet radiates a new splendour, whilst the carefully chosen furnishings hark back to the history of Umea: rough wood and solid iron elements cover the floors and walls and seem to have been taken directly out of a ship's hull. The bathrooms of the 82 rooms have the archaic charm of a ship’s cabin and feature striking details, such as strong iron screws. The iconic Starck 1 toilet by Philippe Starck is perfectly at home in this environment and itself creates interesting highlights. In the bedrooms, paintings of impressive sailing ships and thick, sail-like fabrics evoke memories of days gone by. There is plenty of space in the large piazza inside the hotel, as well as seating for the adjacent “Gotthard Taverne” restaurant. This was named after the hotel's first manager, Gotthard Zetterberg, who was part of the famous Greenland expedition headed by Adolf Nordenskiöld.