Stockholm, Sweden: home to Ikea, fika, bulle, and meatballs. And for my home while in Stockholm, I chose the Hilton Slussen. Hilton’s footprint is growing in Europe and it had been a few years since I’d stayed at a Hilton in Europe. In 2002 Hilton took this property over from the Scandic hotel chain and in 2012-2013 the hotel was renovated. The other hotel I was considering was the Sheraton, but I liked that the Hilton was a smaller property and also felt that Hilton’s location was much better. And from what I could tell, I felt I might get a more authentic Swedish experience at the Hilton Slussen. As it turns out, I made the right choice and had a great stay at the Hilton.
First Impressions Are Important
The Hilton Slussen has 289 rooms in three different buildings all connected to each other. The hotel is deceptively large with a big bright welcoming lobby. Upon arrival I had a fun experience. It was early evening and the young, energetic staff at the front desk was happy to inform me that because of my Gold Hilton status I had been upgraded to a corner Executive room. I went up to my room, but after entering I realized I was overlooking the bridge and construction. I went back to the staff and asked if they perhaps had another room with not such a busy view. The staff huddled over the computer and came up with a few choices for me. One of them accompanied me and we checked out a few rooms and I chose one. She insisted on helping me fetch my luggage from the first room and helping me get settled into my new room.
It’s always fun for me to talk with young, energetic staff just getting started in hospitality, and I could see that this Hilton staff had been given the green light when it came to being proactive in satisfying guest requests. This impression I got on my first night there turned out to be 100% correct. I had a long visit with both the Guest Relations Manager and the Front Desk Director, so I’ve more to share with you but first, the Executive room was a great space for me and it worked well, so let’s dig in to the particulars of the room and hotel.
How I Paid For My Stay
For my stay I used my Citi Prestige Credit Card 4th Night Free benefit, for all but one night for which I used Hilton points. The all-cash rate at the Hilton Slussen was $210 a night, so I found this rate worked better than using all Hilton award night points. Remember, do what I do and when you’re paying cash for a hotel stay, let Pruvo monitor your rate for price drops! The Hilton Slussen is a Hilton Category 4 property meaning free nights start at 34,000 Hilton points per night.
Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Executive room at the Hilton Slussen, which scored a 31 of 40 points.
Realtors have an expression: location, location, location. I don’t think you can find a better location for your Stockholm trip than the Hilton. The hotel says it best, “Stockholm Slussen is in the hip Södermalm area, with fantastic views overlooking the water and historic Old Town.” And it’s a short walk away from the city center, and metro. I love to walk and given the central location of this hotel it was a challenge to get in my usual long distance walking days.
Don’t forget to try a bulle from one of the many amazing bakeries you’ll find within an easy walk from the hotel.
The rooms at the hotel are on the small side so there was only one window. It does let enough natural light in given the size of the room. The lamp lighting was great. There is a light over the corner dining table, hallway lighting, the closets had lights, the bathroom had two levels of light, lights on the walls by the bedside, and recessed light all along the ceiling. That’s a lot of lighting and a pleasure to have such a well-lit room.
Window Access (5/5)
You can open the window! However, that means you’ll let in the street noise.
I didn’t mind it at certain times of the day and would just shut the window if it got too noisy for me. The curtains are sheer dark ones for privacy and heavy fabric ones as blackout curtains.
Though overlooking the river, bridges, car traffic, metro traffic, and construction (Stockholm is a busy city), I did have a great view of Gamla Stan. This is the Old Town area and it’s beautiful and historic.
Bed Comfort (1/5)
The bed was awful. Very hard and uncomfortable. Not staying at Hilton properties very often, I have no idea if this is an outlier or if Hilton beds are usually this bad. Being in Sweden, I was hoping for a wonderful bed from Ikea!
This was a great bathroom given the size of the room. It had great lighting, which you could make bright or by turning off one light keep well-lit but dimmer. There were plenty of hooks for towels, a towel warming rack, and a shower splash guard on the tub that almost worked well. So why does the bathroom only get a 4? As I noticed throughout hotels in Scandinavia, it has a very HIGH step to get into the shower/tub. Be careful!
Interior Appointments and Furnishings (5/5)
I liked this room a lot. It was small but efficient in design and use of space. I felt like I was staying in an Ikea bedroom showroom. The seating area by the window had a very comfortable black lounge chair and ottoman. It was not only comfortable but placed in the most logical corner by the window. This became a good spot for the view, fresh air, and watching the sunset light up Gamla Stan.
As a workspace in the opposite corner there is a round table with one chair. I do think a square table would work better, and adding another chair would make sense.
There is wood paneling on the entrance way walls. NO ART work at all in the room. Not even one piece. LOTS of mirrors throughout the room obviously to increase the perception that the room was bigger than it was. When it comes to carpet versus wood floors in a hotel room, I always prefer wood floors. This room had wood flooring throughout.
The heating system was odd and I couldn’t figure out how to customize the temperature. It had general settings but nothing specific to regulate the temperature.
As I mentioned earlier, the hotel was last renovated in 2013, so the tech options felt old and outdated. The main plugs were by the table area and the lounge chair corner had an outlet with two plugs.
Snack and Minibar (5/5)
This minibar had the biggest in-room Nespresso machine I’ve ever seen. It slides in and out as does the other shelving in this snack area. The minibar itself wasn’t working, but that’s not an issue for me. There was no counter space to use as a snack area but the corner table and the ledge below the TV can be used as surface areas.
As I mentioned earlier, I had a great long chat with two senior staff members, Josefin and Sabina. They also gave me a tour of the hotel and showed me various rooms. When it comes to choosing a room for your stay the choice comes down to a quiet room versus a room with a view. The hotel is on the river, which creates a wonderful view. But with this view comes traffic from cars, metro noise, and construction work being done with lots of noise from cranes.
The deluxe category room comes with a view and a balcony! There are five categories of rooms at the hotel so you’ll have many to choose from. I was told price-wise for hotels in this Hilton category 4 group, the Slussen is in the top middle price range.
The family category rooms have the view and also a good location. However, if you’re hoping for an upgrade know that lots of families pay for these rooms, so they are often not available for suite upgrades for Hilton Diamond members.
There are a few unique things about the hotel. Omelets are not common in Sweden. Hilton Stockholm Slussen is the only hotel with a live cooking station manned with an interactive chef who cooks to order after guests choose their preferences for ingredients and choice of topping.
The omelet station has a large quantity of ingredients to choose from so guests have their own pick and mix. I did notice he had quite a following of enthusiastic omelet seekers. The hotel has the largest hotel gym in Sweden. Good to know if you use hotel gyms.
I wondered who the “typical” guest is at the hotel. The staff told me that 50% of the hotel guests are Swedes. It’s a fine line for this Hilton to walk when serving both Swedes and tourists.
On the one hand, Swedes don’t like to be waited on, self-serve is fine by them. The Swedes are often surprised by the level of service and the warmth of the staff. I witnessed this preference for self-service in many restaurants as well. Yet other non-Swede visitors expect full-service such as having many concierges available, valet parking, and fast room service. I probably fall in the middle and never found the service at the hotel to be lacking or too much. There was always plenty of staff at reception and if the concierge wasn’t there he was always back in a minute or two. The concierges are definitely experts at multi-tasking. Housekeeping was always available and the executive lounge, though very busy, had one staff member who worked hard and yet was always accommodating and friendly.
I asked the senior staff I spoke with “What’s unique about this hotel?”
They were quick to answer and said the service and staff. There is a very LOW turnover in staff. In general when I speak with hotel management about staff and turnover, it’s a touchy subject. Whenever I inquire about it, hotel managers get defensive and while I understand this, my experience when I checked in to the Hilton Slussen was that all three staff had been there only a short time. They were great, young and energetic, well trained, and as helpful as could be, so I’m not criticizing, just commenting. In fact, staff is what people like best about the hotel and I could see why. The staff represents 42 different nationalities! I did not meet a staff member who wasn’t friendly and helpful. The other two aspects of the hotel that are unique are the location and the view from the hotel. Both are standouts in choosing this hotel.
Then I asked about the major complaints guests have about the hotel.
Guests complain that the rooms are too small. They also complain that there isn’t enough closet space. When the front desk sees people check in with too much luggage, they already know the complaints will come in. I thought there was plenty of closet space!
In case you’re curious, the average stay at the Slussen is 2.2 nights and maybe 3 nights in the summer. Because Stockholm is a compact city you can plan a short stay and see most of the highlights.
I can’t imagine staying anywhere else when I’m in Stockholm. The staff is excellent, the concierges some of the best I’ve ever met, and the Executive Lounge breakfast and evening offerings were great. I really liked the Swedish style of the room (except for the bed). The LOCATION can’t be beat, and coupled with the amenities, and exceptionally attentive staff, this hotel is high on my Hilton list of properties I’d return to and surely recommend.
Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to PointMeToThePlane, you can find her at Joy in Movement.