Freys Hotel has to be one of my happiest hotel experiences ever. It is a charming, family-run establishment, with 127 individually-decorated rooms. Its location, close to Stockholm train station and the Arlanda Express (connecting the city to the airport), makes it ideal as a starting point for all your Stockholm sightseeing.
Oh, and did I mention the teddy bears?
Your “good luck bear”
In each room at Freys hotel, and also at the reception, you find the cutest and cuddliest of teddy bears. They are the hotel’s signature element, along with Frey the horse (more on that in a minute).
These teddy bears are here for a good cause. To begin with, they offer a friendly welcome to the weary traveler. After all, between you and me, who doesn’t want to hug a teddy bear when feeling low, right? As a guest of the hotel, you are welcome to hug the teddy bear in your room for free, all you want.
But most importantly, each teddy bear is available to “adopt”. If you do buy one to take it home with you, a large part of the proceedings goes to charity. Makes for an excellent gift too.
This is written on the name tag of every bear:
Hello! My name is (….) and I’m your good luck bear. You may just hug me but most of all I would like for you to adopt me.
If you would like to take me home, there is a charge of 175 SEK, from which a large part of the proceedings goes to charity.
Needless to say, I decided to adopt my room’s bear “Stefan” and take him home with me! I mean, who would resist such a cutie!
How the hotel got its name
Another signature feature of Freys hotel is its namesake, Frey the horse. There are photos and sculptures of horses everywhere in the hotel.
Frey is the name of a legendary horse in Sweden, that in 1895 won the 320km race between Stockholm and Jönköping. It was considered the greatest sporting achievement of its time.
Not surprisingly, Freys the company was born a year later, as horse-and-carriage business for wealthy Stockholmers.
It was reinvented as a family-run hotel in 1988, with the later addition of its sister hotel, Lilla Rådmannen. They are both still run by the same family and adhere to the motto “Hotel sweet home – our heart is in it for everyone.”
Freys hotel today
The hotel is located in in Stockholm’s central Norrmalm District and is very convenient for sightseeing, as it is within walking distance from most of the city’s main sights. Moreover, the Stockholm train station and point of arrival for the Arlanda Express train from the airport, is just two blocks away.
The service is fast, polite and above all, friendly. I was made to feel welcome moments after I arrived and we even had a good laugh with the reception ladies about which good luck bear should I choose. Needless to say, five days afterwards, it felt like home.
The hotel has 127 rooms, most of them with light coloured decor, either in warmer or cooler tones, cute Swedish floral wallpapers and cottage-style furniture.
The rooms are mostly on the smaller side, especially the single-bed ones, but they are cosy, pretty and comfortable. Superior rooms however have more room and some even have balconies.
They all have the usual amenities of a 4-star hotel, such as free (and fast!) WiFi, minibar, flat-screen TV, kettle with tea and coffee products, walk-in showers and toiletries. Breakfast is also included in all prices.
Eat & Drink
The free buffet breakfast is served at the popular with locals Belgobaren Restaurant, which is on the ground floor, next to the reception and entrance. Breakfast is plentiful but the room can get a bit crowded during the high season. That said, I never had problem finding a place to sit. Just had to wait in the queue for some popular items.
Later in the day both hotel guests and non-guests can enjoy lunch and dinner, but the restaurant also offers a special hotel menu, on which guests have a 10% discount.
The cuisine has obvious Belgian influences (it is called BELGobaren after all!) and the restaurant is renowned for its wide range of Belgian beers. In addition, Belgobaren is famous for its organic mussels that come all the way from Sweden’s West Coast, cooked according to Belgian tradition and served with mayonnaise and fries.
How eco friendly is Freys Hotel?
Freys is above all else, a hotel with a heart. As well as being a socially responsible hotel, giving regularly to local charities, it is also a Green Key eco-labelled hotel. Green Key is an international eco-label, specially designed for the tourism industry, and is run by Green Key Sweden.
- In terms of maintenance, they use microfibre cloths and eco-labelled detergents only.
- All waste is separated at the source.
- More than 80% of the hotel lighting is low-energy.
- Shampoo/shower gel and soap are eco-labelled and the plastic bottles are recyclable.
- Guest laundry is performed by an eco-labelled laundry service.
Finally, as stated on their website, all personnel is involved in environmental work, in addition to other eco-friendly policies.
To sum things up…
Staying at Freys Hotel in Stockholm has been one of the most pleasant hotel experiences I’ve had in my travels so far.
Its location is ultra convenient for first-time visitors to Stockholm and the rooms are cosy and comfy with quirky equine details that only add to the hotel’s character. The free breakfast is excellent, while the Belgobar restaurant is popular with locals for good reason. The personnel is polite and friendly with a ready smile and the good luck bears are bound to cheer up even the most tired traveler.
Last, but not least, you can sleep well in your comfy hotel bed knowing that Freys is a hotel with a social conscience and solid eco-friendly policies. What else good you ask for?
101 31 Stockholm
Disclaimer: my stay was at a special press rate, but my opinions are my own. Cover photo credits: Freys Hotel Stockholm