We were in Sweden las week, and we had the pleasure to stay for a night at the great Story hotel on Riddargatan 6, Stockholm. We briefly mentioned it back in May 2010, and we were very happy to finally experience this 83-room hotel in the heart of the city.

It is the perfect starting place to discover the city on foot – We actually do not recommend to get there by car; parking in the city is very expensive, and you’ll spend too much time driving around the block, avoiding traffic, cyclers, construction detours, and so on. Nevertheless, we are convinced city-hoppers will truly enjoy Story’s unique downtown location – It is three steps away from Birger Jarlsgatan, one of the main shopping streets with fine boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Georg Jensen, Kartell, among others. The area is much less touristic than the old town, but not less lively.

While the interior was inspired by Paris and New York, it suits perfectly the dark and long Scandinavian winters. Entering Story is like being wrapped in a mysterious but cozy and warm cocoon, with filtered lights, moody hues, soft textures, and quirky and intriguing details. Design pieces are carefully mixed with fabulous finds from flea markets and thrift stores. The raw, unfinished walls provide an edgy contrast to the bohemian chic interior, and beautiful prints from Wonderwall.se further enhance the arty spirit of the place.

Operating Manager Alexander Bhatt tells me the building was doomed to be closed down by the city. Its occupants, mostly musicians, writers and artists, refused to leave, until the premises found a new breath of life with the Story concept back in 2009. Apparently some of the staff, and even one of the owners’ relatives, actually lived in the building before it was transformed into what it is today.

Story is unpretentious and casual, straight-forward and honest. Keeping things simple and easy is a cornerstone of the concept’s success, according to Bhatt. Reservations are made online; rooms are always prepaid; it’s an easy self-check-in/out system (no front desk, but don’t worry -there is always someone to help you out if needed); you get a code to enter your room rather than a ‘real’ key. “This allowed us not only to reduce costs, but also to invest the money where it really matters: Comfort” explains Bhatt. “The result: Quality of a 4-star hotel, but 20% cheaper than the competition.”

It is also a no-fuss policy, to facilitate the guests’ stay and the hotel administration: Internet is free, breakfast is included, and consumptions at the bar are paid on the spot. We were pleased with the friendly staff, which is specifically required to be natural, to stay true to their personality – No phony welcome or learned corporate speech.

The formula for the bar and the restaurant was developed with the locals in mind; in fact, appealing to Stockholmers is a key element of Story’s positioning. Bhatt is convinced that this is crucial to a good atmosphere, and we couldn’t agree more. We happily spent our evening mingling with the hip local crowd and enjoyed the fun, laidback and homey feel of the place – A rather rare (and welcomed) thing for high end hotels.

All in all, we had a great stay at Story, and we would have stayed longer if we had more days in the Swedish capital.

You can view pictures and read other reviews of Story on their Facebook page.

Photos: Story Hotel