Openings: Villa Dagmar Stockholm is a Pinnacle of Scandi Sophistication

We’ve marked a lot of time in Stockholm, and can personally attest to the awesomeness of its most epicure-beloved hotels, especially the Berns, the Grand and the Lydmar. But the city’s considerably more low key Hotel Diplomat, perched at water’s edge along the Strandvägen in Ostermalm, just might be our favorite in all of Scandinavia – with its cool mix of trad and mod design, breathtaking Baltic views, and just that sort of general feeling that you can’t quite describe, but you know it when a place is making you feel it.

So the news that it was getting a sister property had us significantly intrigued. And in fact the new Villa Dagmar decisively eschews all that sharp Scandi bleeding edge design for pure urbane elegance and sophistication. It’s located on a busy stretch of upscale Östermalm, adjacent to the historic Saluhall, the city’s beloved, century-old food market; a short stroll in the other direction takes you to the stunning 18th Century Hedvig Eleonora Church.

But a lot of conceptualizing (by interior designers Anna Cappelen, Per Öberg and Helena Belfrage) went into the creation of the hotel, firstly that the name was borrowed from a gorgeous villa and rose garden – in the charming resort town of Båstad – a private home which was itself influenced by the Villa D’Este in Rome and the Villa San Michele in Capri. Aesthetic and philosophical inspiration also came by way of historic women artists, muses, and cultural impresarios, including Karin Larsson, Sonia Delaunay, Helle Nice, Gertrude Stein, Hilma af Klint, Peggy Guggenheim and Kiki De Montparnasse. So the Dagmar has been very much imbued with an artistic soul.

Local firms Tengbom Arkitekter and Per Öberg Architect Design were charged with joining the two structures that make up the hotel at Nybrogatan 25-27 (one used to be a caramel factory, of all things). And they cleverly conceived the garden area between as a kind of Italian piazza, with the Butiken wine bar / gourmet shop, the Orangeriet and Smedjan design / flower shop, and the Dagmar Spa & Spirit wellness center, all situated under a spectacular glass roof.

The quite stylish eponymous restaurant is overseen by exalted chefs Daniel Höglander and Niclas Jönsson Älvsjö, whose Aloë restaurant in Älvsjö has a pair of Michelin stars. But here they more casually marry Mediterranean Fusion to the tenets of the “Real New Nordic” style of cooking, resulting in a well-curated raw bar featuring Oscietre Caviar Villa Dagmar, and a menu boasting Salt & Pepper Squid, Artichokes “Barigoule”, Aubergine ”Ravioli”, and Lobster Schnitzel Villa Dagmar, as well as pizzas topped with Tasmanian truffle and vendace roe.

Upstairs, the 70 rooms and suites exude refinement and gentility, with four poster beds, artfully pattered wall coverings, classily understated color schemes and exquisite marble bathrooms.

Stockholm is a city always worth returning to, especially for epicures and culture vultures. Notably, Fotografiska is showing Frank Ockenfels 3, Introspection through October 17, featuring his portraits of icons like David Bowie, George Clooney and Angelina Jolie. And, well, there’s always the ABBA Museum – which promises just the sort of lighthearted fun we need after eighteen months of anything but. And of course, a new “destination” hotel like Villa Dagmar just makes the decision all the easier.

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