October 21, 2010

Christmas & New Years in Stockholm

I know. You are thinking "Isn't it a little early to be talking about the holidays?". Not really. The Rival Hotel is starting to receive a lot of room reservations for the holiday season... so it is a good time to come out and explain a little about Swedish holiday traditions and what to expect, so people can plan their trips a little in advance.
Many restaurants close during the holidays. Some close for a few days here and there while others will be closed for up to 3 weeks. Christmas Eve (the big Swedish family time- it is when Santa visits!) is especially tough, followed by Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. The restaurants that are open tend to fill up early, so last minute reservations are sometimes hard to fix. This means that it is prudent to make at least a couple of restaurant reservations before coming to Stockholm. I am in the process of compiling a list of restaurant opening hours during the season. It probably won't be absolutely complete until the end of November, but I already have a fair idea of when many restaurants will be closed. So, if you are staying at the hotel during the holiday season, contact me at concierge@rival.se before arriving and I will give you recommendations for restaurants that are open and then, of course, help you with table reservations. If you are coming in early to middle December, be aware that many restaurants will be only serving a traditional Christmas smörgåsbord, called julbord (also good to prebook). The Rival's Bistro will be open every day of the week, so you don't ever have to worry about going hungry! We will not be serving julbord.
New Year's Eve is another matter. Many restaurants will be open this evening, but here it is good to be aware that all restaurants serve a traditional New Years supper and nothing else. The traditional supper (nyårssupé) is a 3 to 7 course set meal where the diner has a choice between meat & fish for the main course (costs can run anywhere from 400 SEK and up). Vegetarian and allergy options are usually provided. The tradition is that people arrive around 7-8pm and eat a long, leisurely dinner ending in time to view the fireworks. Click here to see The Rival Bistro's New Years Menu as well as other information. Whether eating at the hotel or going out, prebooking a table is an absolute must as restaurants are usually fully booked a few weeks in advance. Once again, contact me at concierge@rival.se for help. Kids of all ages will be setting off fireworks around midnight. The square in front of the hotel is one popular place. Otherwise the official fireworks will take place over the harbour and can easily be seen from anywhere along the waterfront.

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