Villa Källhagen: Stockholm’s Christmas Hotel
Perhaps it is the country in the city location that makes Villa Källhagen a favourite among locals wanting a special experience without leaving their beautiful city, though it could be the fine dining itself that attracts the crowds to the hotel’s restaurant on the waterfront of the Djurgårdsbrunn parkland. Whatever the reason, the Christmas lunch at this special little hotel is one of the hottest reservations in town during the month of December. So popular is the Julbord (Christmas table) that three seatings a day are still not enough to accommodate everyone who wants a bit of Northern European tradition during the festive season. Pretty impressive for a normally low-key establishment that is a preferred venue for corporate events in the Swedish capital, not to mention discreet conversations among diplomats from nearby embassies.
Villa Källhagen (pronounced SHELL-hahgen) manages to embody everything good about Stockholm and Sweden in a single location. Situated on the waterfront with a unique view of the imposing Nordiska Museum, the only building visible from the hotel’s sylvan location, Villa Källhagen provides the connection to Nature so highly prized in Swedish culture yet remains convenient to the sights of Stockholm, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Also embodying the Swedish ethos are the 36 rooms which emphasise simplicity and functionality over size and ostentation, not to mention value for money. Room 9, at the end of the corridor and closest to the water, is especially tranquil. An easy walk along the shore takes strollers to Stockholm’s exclusive Strandvägen boulevard and to the bridge to the Vasa Museum, Skansen, the ABBA Museum, and the many other attractions found in Djurgården. Closer still is the complex of museums next door to Villa Källhagen which includes the Maritime Museum, the Technology Museum, the Museum of Ethnography, the National Museum of Sport, and the Police Museum.
One of the reasons why Villa Källhagen is so popular for get-togethers is the pride taken in both the restaurant and the bar, where Swedish microbrews, ciders, and other unique drinks are available before or after the satisfying meals in the hotel restaurant or in the party and banquet room. Meeting and conference rooms are highly sought after as well throughout the year, but especially in the Christmas season when the quiet location in the city provides a superb ambience for celebration. Though Christmas events in other countries are perhaps more famous, few are embraced so wholeheartedly by the locals as the Christmas markets of Stockholm, where the warm scent of spiced mulled wine and the generally convivial atmosphere are two experiences not to be missed.