January 13, 2011

Even a Concierge Needs a Vacation!

It's been a wonderful Holiday Season here in Stockholm with lots going on and many wonderful guests here at the Rival Hotel! But now it is time for me to take a little vacation and recharge my batteries for the upcoming Spring season. Two weeks on a beach in Thailand is just what the doctor ordered. I love the snow, but enough is enough! This means that this blog will be quiet for the next two weeks. Scroll down to the past two entries to get some great research tips as well as a list of museum and art exhibitions coming up in the next few months. That should tide you over until I get back!
Hotel guests: If you have any urgent questions regarding the upcoming few weeks, please contact my knowledgable colleagues in the Reception at frontdesk@rival.se otherwise you can keep sending me inquiries at concierge@rival.se. My colleagues will be monitoring my e-mail, otherwise (if it is regarding matters for a later date) I will answer upon my return.
See you in February!

January 12, 2011

Tip #18- A Repeat!

I'm gearing up for a couple of weeks vacation, but before I take my leave I thought I would repost one of my better tips (in my humble opinion) from 2010. It's not that I am lazy! Just that I think this tip bears repeating... and I have updated the information as well!

I am a firm believer of doing some research before travelling to a new place. I always think it's good to know a little bit about the history, geography, language, traditions and cuisine of a place before getting there... makes the visit much more enjoyable. I also feel that it helps to know what there is to see/do beforehand, so I don't have to waste time figuring it out during my visit. Thanks to the internet, doing the research is free and easy. Here are some great websites, besides my world fabulous blog, to help you do some research before arriving in Stockholm... I use many of these websites in my day-to-day work.
I always check the weather of the place I'm heading to a few days before departing (helps with the packing!). Weather forecasting is not an exact science... so it is good to check several forecasts. Somewhere inbetween you'll get the correct forecast!
Facebook is also a great tool. The Rival Hotel has two pages, one for the Bistro and one for the hotel itself. Click on "like" and you can get updates of things going on at the hotel as well as special offers. Another good Facebook page is the one belonging to Visit Stockholm:
 There are free maps to get at the tourist information center and the hotel, but sometimes it is good to take a peek at a map before arriving to get your bearings.
A few sites in Swedish (for those that speak the language):
  • Dagens Nyheter One of Sweden's leading newspapers. Their supplement (På Stan) on happenings in the city.
  • Allt om Stockholm The newspaper Aftonbladet's version...
  • What's Up Stockholm Entertainment guide to the city (Google translate available for website).
Happy surfing!

For more helpful tips, click here!

January 7, 2011

Art & Museum Exhibitions- January Through March 2011

Illustration: Beatrix Potter
Thanks to all of our guests here at the Rival Hotel for a wonderful holiday season, but now it is time to look forward to what is coming up in Stockholm in the next few months. Many museums and art galleries change their exhibitions this time of the year and I thought it would be a good idea to report on what is coming up.
  • At the photography museum Fotografiska it is the last days of their fashion photography exhibition (I'll be going there tomorrow to say farewell). Chris Makos photos of Andy Warhol will continue through March, otherwise two new exhibitions start on January 14th... one with Sarah Moon and the other with Nils Olof Hedenskog & Joakim Brolin.
  • Moderna Museet, the modern art museum, has two new exhibitions coming up. First out is a retrospective from Eva Löfdahl (February 5th to May 1st) followed by a showing of the work of French photographer Jeanloup Sieff (February 19th to May 22nd).
  • The National Museum is still showing their fascinating exhibition Staging Power, a look at how three rulers in the 1800's conveyed their power through art. Last day: January 23rd. Taking its place is Shimmering Silver, a showing of art in silver from 1550 to today (January 27th through March 2012). Another interesting upcoming exhibition is Lust & Vice, a look "how views of sexuality, vice and morality have changed over the centuries". Start March 24th.
  • The statuary park and museum Millesgården has one of my favorite upcoming exhibitions... the illustrations of Beatrix Potter (January 29th to May 15th). Who hasn't read her wonderfully written and illustrated stories of Peter Rabbit?
  • Prince Eugen's Waldermarsudde is still showing their wonderul exhibition of Anders Zorn through January 30th. Several good upcoming exhibitions, including GAN and Lars Wallin.
  • photo by Lars Engelhardt, art by Anders Zorn!
  • The museum of science, Tekniska, will be having a much anticipated exhibition: Nasa- A Human Adventure. It is the world premiere of this international exhibition featuring 400+ artifacts, some shown for the first time! January 28th to November 6th (when it goes on a tour of Europe and America).
And... only a few weeks left of the unique exibition of the Terracotta Warriors from China at the Museum of East Asian Antiquities (Östasiatiskamuseet). Last day: February 20th(extended!).

Looking further ahead! The biggest news in the world of Stockholm museums this year will be happening at the Vasa Museum, Stockholm's #1 tourist draw. This April 24th marks 50 years since the ship was raised from the waters of the Baltic. It will be celebrated with a 2 week long party. More info to follow!

January 5, 2011

Weather Warning - The Big Thaw

This past month was the coldest December in over 100 years. After the freezing temperatures and lots of snow, winter has released her grip (a bit) on Stockholm. It has warmed up some! Over the next few days temperatures will waver between a few degrees over and under zero Celsius. What this means is that there will be some snow melt... snow & ice falling from roofs and messy sidewalks. The melted snow can refreeze during the nights and turn to ice, making streets and sidewalks slippery & treacherous. So be careful walking through the city! If you see sidewalks taped off with signs saying "Varning: Risk för ras" or "Varning: Ras" then you should avoid that area as it is a warning that snow & ice may fall from the roof unexpectedly.

Trettondedag Jul (Epiphany)

And so 2011 is here! I don't know about you, but the holidays have me exhausted! And just when you thought they were over... here comes one last day in the holiday season. Tomorrow, January 6th, is a bank holiday here in Sweden called Trettondedag Jul ("thirteenth day of Christmas") or Epiphany as it is called in English. Most Swedes don't view this as a religious holiday, more as a day off of work to rest after the holidays and perhaps take down the Christmas decorations.
As a visitor to Stockholm you shouldn't be too bothered by this bank holiday... the vast majority of museums and tours are open for business. Most retail stores are open with shorter hours, though the NK Department Store is closed. Banks and liquor stores (Systembolaget) will be closed and some pharmacies will be closed while others will have shorter opening hours. Some restaurants treat this as a Sunday and will be closed... but the majority are open. For many of the high-end restaurants that were closed for several weeks during the holidays, this weekend either marks when they reopen or the last days before they reopen on Monday.
St Eugenia Catholic Church will be having a mass in English at 6pm and the main Catholic Church, Katolska Domkyrkan, will be having masses in different languages (Swedish, Polish, Spanish, etc;) during the day.