January 13, 2018

On Vacation!

Yes, even a Concierge needs to go on vacation from time to time. I will be back at the Rival Hotel and blogging in mid February. In the meantime, here are some handy tips for you if you are coming to Stockholm in the coming weeks...

I hope that these tips help and that you have a wonderful visit in Stockholm! 

January 7, 2018

Museums in Stockholm

Sigrid Hjertén. Self portraitt, 1914 at  Prins Eugens Waldermarsudde.
Photographer: Andreas Nilsson / Malmö Konstmuseum
Did you know that, with around 80 museums and attractions, Stockholm is one of the cities in the world with the highest museum per capita ratios? Good news for visitors! And there really is a museum for every interest... museums covering the usual subjects of art, history, nature, culture and technology but even more specific interests like stamps, dance, toys, sports, police and silk weaving.
The Vasa Ship at the Vasa Museum
Photographer: Yanan Li/mediabank.visitstockholm.com/
I often write about art museums in this blog, mainly because they have new exhibitions to visit every season while other museums have more permanent exhibitions. You can see a list of the top art museums by clicking here and reading a recent article I wrote about this season's art exhibitions. We have museums dedicated to modern and classic art as well as photography and sculpture. A few of the museums contain private art collections which are great places to see the work of Scandinavian Masters. 
The Regalia at the Treasury
Photographer: Alexis Daflos, Kungl Hovstaterna 
Museums covering history as well as historical attractions (palaces, cathedrals) are some of the most popular points of interest for visitors to Stockholm. For example, three of the most popular attractions are the Vasa Museum, the Royal Palace and Skansen. The Vasa and Skansen are especially unique and shouldn't be missed. Click here for a full list of history based museums and attractions... Swedish history as well as royal family, military, medieval, city, maritime and Jewish history. Particularly interested in Sweden's Viking past? Click here for some great tips of what to see and do in the greater Stockholm area with a focus on Vikings. Or you can just wander the streets of Gamla Stan (old town) which is a living museum of history.
Chen Man exhibit at Fotografiska
How about museums focusing on specific Swedes and their accomplishments? There are a few. You can visit the Nobel Center and learn all about Alfred Nobel and how he invented dynamite and started the Nobel Prizes. The Swedish super group ABBA, of course, have a museum dedicated to them called ABBA the Museum. Swedish playwright and novelist August Strindberg has his own museum, located in his former home. You can also visit the Swedish sculptor Carl Milles' home and studio (and fantastic sculpture garden) at Millesgården.
Reliving pop music history at ABBA the Museum
You might want to broaden your horizons further while visiting Stockholm and learn about other cultures. Not a problem! We have museums of Far Eastern Antiquities, Mediterranean history and World Cultures. Hot tip: these museums have free admission. And they aren't the only ones. All State run museums have free admission since the beginning of 2016. Here is the complete list. For the other museums, you can purchase a Stockholm Pass which gets you into these museums as well as covers most sightseeing tours with Strömma. Here at the Rival Hotel, we sell the Pass to our hotel guests during the high season (May to September).
Crucifix at Medieval Museum
Photographer: Anders Hviid
Any other museums in Stockholm? Absolutely... we have a Natural History Museum, a Biology Museum, Sports Museum, Technology Museum, Dance Museum, Police Museum, Postal Museum, Spirits Museum and much more. Confusing? There is a website dedicated to all of the museums in Stockholm and they even have an app you can download which will be helpful to have while visiting Stockholm. Or, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, you can just contact me directly for more information.
Tyrannosaurus Rex at Natural History Museum
Photographer: Annica Roos/Naturhistoriska riksmuseet

January 5, 2018

Outlet Shopping in Barkarby

I wrote about outlet shopping almost 5 years ago and, as I visited Barkarby this past weekend, I thought it was a good time for an update. Swedish fashion brands have become very trendy over the past few years, but shopping in Stockholm can be a bit expensive for visitors. A good option is to head out to Stockholm Quality Outlet. Here you can find great deals of up to 70% off the regular prices! If you are visiting from a non European Union country, you can also save up to 19% more by shopping tax-free with Global Blue.
You have a wide variety of labels/stores at Quality Outlet. Many of large Swedish fashion labels are there like Filippa K, J. Lindeberg, Acne Studios, JC Jeans Company, Björn Borg and Nudie Jeans. But they also have a lot of international brands like Benetton, Calvin Klein, Lexington, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger as well sportswear labels like Puma and Nike. While it is almost 90% fashion at the outlets, you do have a few stores that sell homeware like Le Creuset and Home & Cook. I  hadn't been there for the past six months and was pleased to see that they have expanded with a whole new wing. All in all, they have 70 stores carrying more than 160 brands.
The outlet area is set up like a village with streets. Keep in mind that these "streets" aren't covered so, if it is raining or snowing, have an umbrella with you just in case. You do have some casual lunch options there as well (cafés and fast food). There are several other larger stores in the same neighborhood; IKEA for example.
Barkarby is a small suburb, located northwest of central Stockholm. It is an area that is constantly growing with everything from new stores to new apartment complexes. I usually visit the outlets once or twice a year and often have a hard time recognizing the area. There are even plans to extend a subway line there. But until that is done, the best way to get there from town is a commuter train and then bus. It all takes about 40 minutes and is quite easy. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, you can easily pick up the commuter train at the nearby Stockholm Södra Station. Happy shopping!

January 2, 2018

Chen Man Exhibition at Fotografiska

I hope that everyone had a nice New Year's celebration! It is 2018 now and time to get back to some more normal, non-holiday themed blogging. Fortunately, I had some family visiting this past weekend for the holidays so I took them to Fotografiska (the Swedish Museum of Photography) to see the new exhibition "Fearless & Fabulous" by Chen Man (runs until March 4th).
If you have been following this blog then you know that Fotografiska is one of my favorite museums in Stockholm to visit... mainly because they constantly have new and exciting exhibitions each season and they usually offer an interesting mix of exhibitions with different styles and points of view. The space is also great and the waterfront location means that the café and restaurant on the top floor have stunning views of the harbor.
Chen Man is a Chinese photographer and graphic designer, working mainly in the world of fashion photography. She is a real pioneer of the medium in China. Her images marry photography and graphic design in a really interesting way through her use of photoshopping, adding layers to the images. I also love the way she intertwines Chinese mythology and history with her hyper-modern imagery.
The images are colorful and beautiful and visiting the exhibition is a nice way to liven up a dreary winter day in Stockholm. The exhibition shares a floor in the museum with another exhibition "Silent Land" by Åsa Sjöström (runs until Feb 4th), which shows everyday life in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe. Beautiful photographs and an interesting contrast to the colorful, rich images in the Chen Man exhibition next door.
On the first floor of the museum, you have another interesting exhibition... completely different from the aforementioned two exhibitions: "Inside Out" by Nick Veasey (runs until Feb 18th). The name of the exhibit is very fitting as Nick Veasey uses X-ray photography exposing the insides of his subjects. And it isn't only people. Veasey uses large-scale X-ray cameras so we can see the inside of airplanes, a surfer heading to the beach in a VW Beetle or even a bus filled with passengers.
Fotografiska has very generous opening hours, closing at 11pm on Sundays through Wednesdays and at 1am on Thursdays through Saturdays... so it is easy to squeeze in a visit if you are in town for only a short time and have a full agenda. They also have a fantastic restaurant there in the evenings and make sure you visit their gift shop before leaving. The shop has one of the best collections of photography books I have ever come across.
To get there from the Rival Hotel, it is just a 20 minute walk along the waterfront. Otherwise the closest subway stop is Slussen (red and green lines) and from there it is just a 10 minute walk. They are doing a lot of construction at Slussen... but just follow the signs for Fotografiska! Click here if you want to see what other art exhibitions are currently ongoing in Stockholm.