It’s July and the rain is pouring down. As usual, our umbrellas are left at home, so when we get off the bus stop at Järva Krog, we run the short distance to The Winery Hotel as fast as we can. Nearly out of breath, we step into a huge lobby, designed in industrial style with a raw warehouse feeling and magnificent ceiling height. The lobby with tables made of old wine barrels, stands out from all the hotels we have visited before. We are Nodes have been invited to The Winery Hotel to get a private tour by the hotel’s very own Jan Söder, Design and Concept Manager, and Moa Söder, Marketing Coordinator. Our guides for the day welcome us with big smiles.
The Winery Hotel felt like an exciting topic to write about for several reasons. The increasing curiosity and engagement around wine has created new ways to network and socialize through, for instance, dinners, wine tastings, wine tours and trips to different wineries. The Winery Hotel is therefore very timely. Wineries, a property where wine is produced, in combination with accommodation, food and drinks is already popular in big cities like New York and London. Now, the owner families of Winery Hotel (Söder and Ruhne) hope that the Swedes will jump on the trend too.
Jan Söder has been the concept manager from day one. Together with Lina Östlund, he got the responsibility to create a design concept for the building inspired by the heart of the hotel; the winery. With inspiration from wineries and renowned concept hotels in New York, Jan began to formulate a vision for the hotel (some of his biggest source of inspirations was the New York City Winery, Red Hook Winery, Ace Hotel and Wythe Hotel). Jan and Lina also travelled to Tuscany and visited many different type of vineyards to get additional inspiration.
The urban winery/boutique hotel is located close to the bus stop Järva Krog in Solna, a suburb approximately 10 minutes from Stockholm. The location is strategic from several perspectives. Since the highway (E18/E4) where the airport shuttles stop is only a stone’s throw away, the Winery Hotel indirectly becomes an airport hotel. Rental rates are naturally lower than in the city center. Another reason for the location choice is the growth and development of Solna. The city was recently elected Super Municipality of Stockholm and is growing every day. Jan nods when we ask if the fast growth of Solna has something to do with the location choice:
“We probably would not have chosen this location if we had not known everything that was planned for the area. Friends Arena was already built and we knew that Mall of Scandinavia and several big companies would move their headquarters to Solna. The hotel has now become a destination, you come here to take part of a whole experience.”
Moa Söder agrees:
” The hotel packages that include guided tours, wine tastings and three-course dinners are very popular. Our impression is that people who come here really want to experience the whole concept.”
Working with concepts is Jan’s area of expertise. He created the concept for Nordic Light Hotel and Nordic C Hotel with the well-known ice bar. From experience, he knows that it takes about 1-2 years for a concept to “break through”. It took nearly five years for Nordic Light Hotel to be known as Stockholm’s first design hotel. Therefore, he is aware that it requires time and a great deal of patience before the word of Winery Hotel’s unique concept will reach a majority of the public. Despite their expected time frame, the hotel already has received a lot of attention and press coverage, both locally and internationally.
Jan and Moa show the way to the restaurant and it is noticeable how proud they both are of the venue. The same warehouse atmosphere that stroke us in the entrance is also apparent in the restaurant.
The restaurant can fit up to 140 guests. Additionally, there is a chambre séparée which is primarily used for wine tastings. The buffet table, where the breakfast is usually served, is the same place where the popular “Winemaker’s Dinners” are held.
“Instead of people saying that they are going to AG, they will start saying that they are going to WK”, Jan smiles and continues the tour.
The hotel rooms
Next stop on our tour is the hotel rooms. Our first thought when entering the room (a standard room of 20 m2) is the striking contrast between the industrial interior with colours from the nature and the heavily trafficked highway outside the building. We can see treetops and greenery emerge somewhere far behind the rushing cars. The window itself is framed by a New York-inspired brick wall. Urban meets Tuscany in its purest form. “It feels a bit surreal, right?” Jan says when he notices our reaction. “Like being on the countryside but with a city feeling.”
We curiously look around in the hotel room. The bathroom has white tile and fashionable gold taps. The closet in the hallway does not have any doors, a result of Winery’s own design in order to preserve their distinguishing interior style. Jan points at the mini-bar: “It is located at a good height. Usually mini-bars are hidden and placed very low, but ours are more visible which has been really profitable – we have increased sales a lot!” Jan does not seem bothered from sharing the best practices of the hotel, an entrepreneurial and modern attitude that we really like.
“The industrial table-, floor- and bedside lamps are from a French company called Lamp Gras. There is an incredibly wide range of industrial lamps today, but these are of very high quality, which was important for us”, says Jan.
It’s all about the details
As we walk towards the meeting rooms, we point out how beautiful and carefully thought-out all the details in the hotel are, something even an untrained designer eye easily can notice. Jan lights up: “It’s not the first time we’ve been told that.”
He explains how the designer team spent hours on finishing the graphic profile and how time-consuming it has been to apply it to the entire hotel – as far as to material, color selection and fonts on the Do Not Disturb-sign. Jan talks about his passion for design in a joyful tone and claims he could talk about areas like radiators for ages. Speaking of heaters, Jan persistently opposed the radiators that were ordered to the hotel by Faberge. “They asked me if I could for once be happy with something they had chosen,” Jan laughs.
However, it did not take us long to understand that Jan is not the type of person who backs down in a discussion about something he believes is important for the hotel experience. It is the same will power that, for instance, has made sure that the notebooks in the meeting rooms have printed wine stains on them as an extension of the hotel’s soul.
We are excited to check out the meeting rooms, especially since Yasmin has a background in event planning and production. The Winery Hotel has chosen shutters instead of the classic blackout drapes and brick walls instead of the typical discreet light colors.
“The chairs are from a brand called Offecct that I did not really like because their design is so ‘corporate’. They have tried to sell their products to me for more than 10 years, but when I saw this chair I really got fond of it,” explains Jan when we test sit the chairs.
The Winery – The heart of the hotel
“Are you driving? No? Then you can have a glass of Winery Red!”, Jan proclaims as we are done with inspecting the meeting rooms. Our host and hostess leads us back to the winery. The hotel’s heart and pride. The same spot where the hotel’s wine is produced and where the popular 20-minute guided tours are arranged. The guided tours are always finished with a tasting of the hotel’s own wine; Winery Red. The really wine interested can add an in-depth wine tasting to their visits. At some occasions, the hotel fly in renowned winemakers from Italy to host their own ¨Winemaker’s Dinner¨ in the restaurant.
We are Nodes’ Yasmin Tilles & Sheida Tilles.
Visitors can also purchase an electronic card that can be topped off with the amount of their choice. The cards are later used to try different wines from the hotel’s ‘Vinotek, located on the ground floor. Guests can choose between a small sample, half or a whole glass.
The hotel’s own Winery Red is sold as assortment order at Systembolaget for 179 SEK per bottle. The main grape in Tuscany is Sangiovese and it constitutes 80% of Winery Red. The remaining 20 percent consists of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape. “I think it’s pretty damn good,” says Jan with a smile and pours up two glasses for us.
Travel Q & A with Jan and Moa:
What is your favorite weekend destination?
Jan: New York, the city has everything when it comes to the areas I like; interior, design and atmosphere.
Moa: I will go for Copenhagen, although it might be a boring answer. It is located on a convenient distance from Stockholm, but has a nicer and more relaxed atmosphere. Plus, many great restaurants!
Where do you prefer to go on holiday in the sun?
Moa: I recently discovered a new destination in India called Varkala, it is a surf town with nice and calm vibes. Those who previously traveled to Bali to surf and find it’s too much tourists there now are going to Varkala.
Jan: I am absolutely crazy about Mallorca and a hotel called Esplendido in Puerto de Soller, 5-6 (Swedish) miles from Palma. (Read our Palma guide here.)
The Winery Hotel
Adress: Rosenborgsgatan 20, 169 74 Solna
Phone number: +46 (0) 8-14 60 00
Have you been to The Winery Hotel or do you have any questions? Drop us a comment! We’d love to hear your thoughts!
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