Grand Hotel Stockholm

Since 1874, the Grand Hotel has grown into Swedens most elegant hotel. A porter of the early days of the 20th century once said: "Perhaps the most interesting time I have experienced was during the Great War when, at the time of the revolution we were invaded by Russian aristocrats. Then there really was a luster about the place, and constant merrymaking. But we have no shortage of exotic guests even in normal times: Oriental princes, Japanese dignitaries, European business magnates. Not to mention all the foreign diplomats, Nobel Laureates and sports stars who come to stay here. I have spoken to Tagore and Anatole France, Albert Einstein, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford".

The Grand Hôtel's history begins long before the building of the hotel. The first faltering attempts to create a system of short- and long-term accommodation for foreign visitors to Stockholm were made already in the 18th century. The word 'hôtel' had still not come into use, except on the European mainland, where it denoted either an exclusive private residence or a large public building. In faraway Sweden the Swedish-Pomeranian officer Georg von Pollet provides a testimony of conditions in Stockholm during a visit there in 1789-1790: "The inns are altogether bad; one could scarce be worse served in the Marburg post house than in the foremost inn of Stockholm, "Malmens Källare". Small unkempt rooms, inferior food and inflated bills are the lot of every stranger". Even at the end of the 1810s the conditions seem to have been largely unchanged, although there were a few exceptions. Bergstrahlska huset by Riddarhustorget, Kastenhof on Gustav Adolfs torg, Reisen on Skeppsbron, Franska Värdshuset on Regeringsgatan and Den Gyldene Freden on Österlånggatan, which all offered furnished rooms for travelers, were some of the better taverns and eating houses in the city. The Hôtel Garni could perhaps be regarded as Stockholm's first real "hôtel" in the modern sense. It was opened in 1832 by the court confectioner Abraham Cristopher Behrens. The hotel's trade cards stated, in Swedish and French: "In this tastefully decorated Hôtel, located at No. 3 Drottninggatan, are three floors of furnished Rooms for Travelers, for families as well as Individuals, with adjoining Servants' Quarters. Stables and carriage rooms also provided". In January 1858 the Hôtel Rydberg was opened to the public. Stockholm finally had a continental-style hotel. It was an astoundingly luxurious building for its time. In addition to rooms for travelers, the ground floor contained storerooms, carriage rooms, living quarters for the hotel manager and a wash-house with a water pump. Gas pipes were installed, and the hotel was illuminated with modern gas lamps. There were also two bathrooms with bathtubs and bath attendants. Not even the King had anything of the kind at the Palace. About one year later Régis Cadier (who would later play the crucial role in the creation of the Grand Hôtel) managed to purchase the leasehold for the hotel. Calmly and methodically, he built up the business. Few things have been as significant to the development of Stockholm as the rail link to the capital that opened in November 1862. In one stroke the journey time from Gothenburg to Stockholm was cut to 14 hours. Stockholm was opened up to the outside world; never before had the Swedish capital seen so many travelers arrive. The expansion of the city gathered pace and soon even the wildest of fantasies seemed to be within reach. To show off this industrial and economic expansion, Stockholm organized Scandinavia's first exhibition of industry and art in 1866. The exhibition proved a success. Foreign newspapers published reports about a remarkable little city in the north. This proved of great significance to Stockholm, and it did not take long before even more foreign visitors found their way here. The issue of the increasing need for hotel rooms had now become the subject of serious discussions in Stockholm. Cadier was asked to come up with a solution. It was clear that a major new hotel was needed, but the question was whether it would be possible to find a suitable central location for it. Another matter, of course, was how to finance it. The consortium first looked for a site in the vicinity of Kungsträdgården, but soon turned their attention toward the harbor. Cadier had discovered three interesting properties on the southern side of Blasieholmen. After studying the Parisian hotels closely, Cadier knew what was required to make a large hotel profitable. The size of the hotel and the number of guest rooms were the crucial factors. It was also necessary to find a skilled and experienced architect. Cadier chose Axel Kumlien. The first official plans to be filed with the planning authorities are dated February 1872. They were approved by the Board of Public Building and Fritz von Dardel, whose journal from February 12, 1872 contains an interesting entry: "I too examined the plans for a large hotel, which Cadier intends to build on Blasieholmen. There will be more than 200 guest rooms. The façade is designed in the style of the French Renaissance. If the building is completed, Cadier intends to apply for permission to build a bridge straight across the harbor, by which means tourists from the Continent will be able to walk straight from the steamboats to the hotel". Work on building the Grand Hôtel began in March 1872. It would appear that the roof was completed before the end of the year but work on the interiors continued throughout 1873. One of the most enduring myths about how Cadier managed to finance a building project of this magnitude is that every day he filled a wheelbarrow with silver coins at the Hôtel Rydberg, which he then pushed all the way to Blasieholmen to pay his hard-working builders. The story is apocryphal, but it makes a good anecdote. There are today no accounts or other documents which show how Cadier arranged the financing, but it seems clear that he was personally liable for all loans until 1885, when he formed a joint-stock company and brought in two partners. What is clear, however, is that during the first eleven years Cadier borrowed money to finance the project and bore the full risk himself. A big risk, one might think, but in view of the great interest shown in the project by the city's authorities and the Swedish Government, it may be assumed that he had some sort of guarantees in case something went gone wrong. In spring 1874 the interiors were nearly finished, and the first guests would appear to have checked in at the hotel in early spring. It was at that time that the name of the new hotel was made public: the Grand Hôtel. The Grand Hôtel is a classic landmark in the center of Stockholm. The location is perfect and the view over the harbour, Old Town and Royal Palace is much appreciated, both by international and Swedish guests. The Grand Hôtel has a long and fascinating history. Ever since its opening in 1874, big personalities, well-known as well as not-so-well-known, have come to stay at the hotel. Today, the Grand Hôtel belongs to an exclusive group of purveyors of goods and services to the Royal Household. It is a distinction that the hotel is very proud of. The Grand Hôtel has a long and fascinating history. The hotel was built in 1874 by the Frenchman Régis Cadier and has since been a well-known landmark in Stockholm. The building and its long frontage may look imposing, but it is above all the beautiful rooms and restaurants on the inside that make the hotel that it is. History is written in the walls at the Grand Hôtel. Here, we will try to give you a small sample of everything that could be told about the hotel. For those who are interested in the history of the Grand Hôtel and of Stockholm, we recommend the book "Grand Hôtel Stockholm" by Lennart Jarnhammar, which was written for the 125th anniversary of the hotel in 1999 and is available for purchase in the Grand Gift Shop. Major events A lot of big events have of course taken place at the Grand Hôtel since it was built. What follows is an account of some of the events that have left their mark on the hotel and made it what it is today. The first of these was of course the inauguration of the Grand Hôtel in 1874. On June 14, 1874 King Oscar II of Sweden declared the hotel officially opened. Finally, Stockholm had a hotel that could measure up to the "big" hotels in the major European capitals. On the fateful evening of September 23, 1885 the immensely popular Swedish opera singer Christina Nilsson was giving a free performance for her admirers from a balcony in the Grand Hôtel. The concert turned out to be shorter than expected. Disappointed, the tightly packed crowd became agitated. Panic ensued, and many people were trampled to death or seriously injured. The total death toll was 18, and another 70 were wounded. It was a dark and sad episode in the history of the hotel as well as for Christina Nilsson personally. The first Nobel Prize banquet was held at the Grand Hôtel in 1901. The solemn awards ceremony took place at the Royal Academy of Music on the evening of Tuesday December 10, 1901. Svenska Dagbladet published an account of the event the following morning: "Immediately after the ceremony the Crown Prince and Prince Eugen, the Laureates and the French Ambassador, who had been specially invited, the Swedish minister of state von Otter, and the officials of the awarding institutions, a large number of other representatives from science and literature as well as the press proceeded to the banqueting rooms of the Grand Hôtel for the dinner. It is to be doubted whether such an illustrious crowd, especially from the field of science, this has at any previous time gathered in the hotel's charming ballroom (Spegelsalen)". On January 23, 1909 Wilhelmina Skogh, the hotel's legendary female manager, finally realized her dream, inspired by a dazzling festivity at the Grand Hôtel in Paris that she had attended as a young woman, with the opening of the Grand Hôtel Royal. Vinterträdgården, the "Winter Garden", caused a sensation, but unfortunately the building costs had been far too high. A crisis in the economy and paralyzing general strike further aggravated the situation. The Winter Garden seemed threateningly empty, but nobody could deny its beauty. The Nobel Prize banquet was held at the Grand Hôtel for the last time in 1929. The event had grown in size and larger premises were now needed, so the dinner was moved to the Stockholm City Hall. But the Laureates and their families still stay at the Grand Hôtel in connection with the awards ceremony in December each year. Jazz made its real breakthrough in the early 1930s. In Stockholm, the Grand Royal soon came to play an important role for the city's dance-lovers. A report in the magazine Scenen from March 1934 describes the atmosphere and the audience: "We have acquired a taste for entertainment. The following Wednesday you will see us in the winter garden of the Royal among fair maidens in trains and diadems and manly men in tails with brilliantined hair. An altogether super-smart, well-dressed and decidedly unmixed crowd. But it is true that the Swedes have a natural advantage when it comes to looking distinguished and elegant. The girls saunter across the paved paths with a casual and relaxed air, play about abstractedly with the water of the fountain as they pass and smile at people they recognize. Their partners follow close behind and escort them to the dance floor with dexterity and decorum. Say what you will of the young gentlemen of Stockholm, but they certainly can dance!" During the six hectic years of the war which broke out in September 1939 the press room at the Grand became the number one news center in Europe. It was a place where one piece of world-breaking news succeeded another and where fantastic rumors abounded. Yet, despite its central location, very few Stockholmers knew about the existence of the international press headquarters at the Grand Hôtel. The world was changing rapidly in the 1950s. The relatively small group of wealthy, fun-loving individuals who had had the resources to create a world of fun and laughter at the Grand in the inter-war years had largely disappeared after the war. They had been replaced by a much broader group of people, whose circumstances had improved markedly during the course of the decade. Large numbers of people flocked to the Grand and the still-popular Royal. It became more and more common for ordinary people to come and shake a leg on the regular dance evenings, Wednesdays and Fridays. The Royal was used for a variety of purposes. A ceremonious Foreign Ministry dinner could be held in the same room where, shortly beforehand, the Transport Workers' Union had celebrated its anniversary and sung the International. Or, as one contented tourist who was staying in one of the front rooms opposite the Royal Palace put it: "As far as I can see, the only difference between me and the King is that he lives on one side of the water and I on the other". In 1968 the Wallenberg family enters the history of the Grand Hôtel. Almost 40 years later, the family is still running the hotel. On Friday June 14, 1974 the Grand Hôtel turns 100, a jubilee that is marked by the opening of two permanent summer verandas by Prince Bertil, who was attended by Dr Marcus Wallenberg. There was an element of tradition here, since it was the prince's great grandfather, King Oscar II, who had inaugurated the hotel in 1874. In his speech Prince Bertil emphasized that the Grand Hôtel had always been a concern for the whole nation; that was why he had agreed to attend the opening of something as mundane as pair of verandas. In a throwback to past times, the tea dances in Vinterträdgården were relaunched on March 8, 1981. It was the general public's only chance to see this remarkable venue, which otherwise was only used for private functions. In April 1988 Franska Matsalen was awarded a long-cherished star in the prestigious Michelin Guide, Main Cities of Europe. The year before, the Cadier Bar was given a place among the top four bars in the world for atmosphere, location and professional bartenders in Newsweek's ranking of the world's best bars. In the 1990s the awards ceremony for the world-famous Polar Music Prize started to take place at the Grand Hôtel. Joni Mitchell (1996), Bruce Springsteen (1997), Ray Charles (1998) and Stevie Wonder (1999) are some of the many talented musicians who received the prize. In 1994 Grand Hôtel Holdings was formed. In addition to the Grand Hôtel, the Group now (2002) includes Berns Hotel. Régis Cadier There are many people who have meant a lot to the Grand Hôtel, and we cannot possibly mention them all, but there are a few who deserve some extra attention. The first is of course the hotel's founder who for many years also ran the hotel: Régis Cadier. "The sun suddenly cut through the gray clouds. A ship carrying a foreign flag appeared and glided slowly into Stockholm's harbor. The puffing of the steam engine and splashing of the paddle-wheels grew silent as the vessel prepared to berth. Through the rising fog the stately façades of Skeppsbron presented themselves in the roseate splendor of the afternoon sun. As the captain reversed the engines, edging the ship towards the berth by the statue of Gustavus III which stands below the Royal Palace, the contours of the large Russian paddle-steamer Prince Menshikov started to emerge. By the rail stood a thick-set black-haired man adorned with the sideburns and chin beard required by fashion. With a keen air, he surveyed the houses, the people and everything that passed on the quay as the ship was made fast. This was his first trip to Stockholm. He was a Frenchman and his name was Jean François Régis Cadier. Little did he suspect, this Friday November 3, 1852, that he would remain in Stockholm for good and that this northern city would be the site of his lifetime achievement: the Grand Hôtel". Régis Cadier came from a French family that had been running an inn in a little alpine village for over 100 years. He had at an early age been asked to help out at the inn. After working for a while in Grenoble, Régis moved to Paris, where he trained himself to become a master chef at the famous Frères Provençaux restaurant from 1848-1850. He then moved to St Petersburg, where he entered employment in the household of Count Dashkov. Not long thereafter Count Dashkov was appointed Russia's ambassador to Sweden, and Cadier followed his employer to the Swedish capital, where he took charge of running the embassy household. Régis Cadier had only served Count Dashkov for about a year when he was offered a prestigious position as a chef in the Royal Household. There, he used his times at the center of events to make some important contacts. At the end of 1845 Cadier started his own business. He opened a delicatessen, which rapidly established itself as the best in Stockholm. A piece of Paris had found its way to Stockholm. Three years later, Cadier opened Stockholm's first real French restaurant. He gave it the same name as the one in which he had learned his trade: Les Trois Frères Provençaux. The next significant step in his career came in 1859, when he acquired the leasehold for the Hôtel Rydberg, which at the time was the leading hotel in Stockholm. He took over a practically new hotel, but continued to make changes and improvements to the way it was run. Cadier had an eye for business, and the money just kept on rolling in. As the number of visitors to Stockholm grew and business continued to improve, Cadier started to look around for new challenges. There was a shortage of hotel rooms in Stockholm, which was getting worse for every year that passed. Cadier was asked to come up with a solution to the situation. This was the start of a process that would culminate in the building of the Grand Hôtel. Cadier declared at an early stage that he wanted to take charge of the project himself, and that is what happened. The hotel was completed in 1874, after two years of planning. Régis Cadier had finally realized his grand ambition. The success of the Grand Hôtel established Régis Cadier as the country's leading hotelier. King Oscar II was delighted at the new hotel, and showed his appreciation by conferring upon Cadier the Order of Vasa, an honor that Cadier valued very highly. Cadier was also popular with his staff, despite insisting on a strict discipline. He ran his hotels with military precision. Every member of staff knew exactly what was required of him or her. Régis Cadier was full of innovative ideas, but he also kept a tight rein on his finances. There are many stories about his various projects. The most celebrated decorative features were introduced in connection with the renovation of the hotel in 1884-85. One of these concerned the hullabaloo stirred up by two brown bear cubs, which an anonymous individual from St Petersburg had left in a wooden box as a present to Cadier. Being a great animal-lover, Cadier decided to create a small "bear corner" in one of the hotel's lightwells. Initially he even let the two furry youngsters romp and roll in the lobby, to the great delight of his guests. The cubs soon became the darlings of the whole hotel. The Grand Hôtel had become a great success, but Régis Cadier never became complacent, counting on the guests to come by themselves. From the very beginning he was hard at work promoting the hotel outside Sweden in order to try and attract more tourists. He advertised in British, French, American and German newspapers, and had contacts at leading travel agencies in the major European and American cities. Régis and his wife Caroline had four children together. In 1889 the family took up residence in Bolinderska Palatset immediately next to the Grand Hôtel. They moved into the flat that had previously been occupied by L.O. Smith, a Swedish liquor baron. Their apartment was a prime example of an upper bourgeoisie home during the reign of Oscar II. Only a year later, Régis Cadier died, but his wife stayed on in the apartment until 1897, when she decided to sell the Grand Hôtel and Bolinderska Palatset. Cadier had of course become a wealthy man by the time of his death. According to the estate inventory, the Grand Hôtel was valued at 1,200,000 kronor and Bolinder House at 400,000 kronor, but these figures did not in any way reflect the true market value of the properties. Wilhelmina Skogh On April 1, 1902 Wilhelmina Skogh was appointed president of the Grand Hôtel. Her career was already legendary. Born into a humble peasant family on the island of Fårö, Wilhelmina had through courage and hard work managed to become the proprietress of three large railway hotels, in Storvik, Bollnäs and Rättvik. Unfortunately, her years at the Grand Hôtel were not as successful. Wilhelmina Skogh had big ideas, tremendous energy and great organizational skills, but was somewhat lacking in her economic faculty. She initiated a series of building projects and repeatedly found herself at loggerheads with the hotel's directors about the cost of these works. Yet no one could deny that she had a terrific driving force and that a lot of what she did improved the hotel. Wilhelmina Skogh had a passion for the Royal Family and all things royal. During her years at the Grand she had the privilege of welcoming royal guests at the Grand on several occasions. One such eminent visitor was the aged former Empress Eugénie of France, the widow of Napoleon III, who had lost his imperial throne after being defeated by the Germans in the Franco-German War of 1871. The ex-Empress visited the hotel in 1907. Wilhelmina Skogh's great dream, which she had nurtured ever since attending a dazzling spectacle at the Grand Hôtel in Paris as a young woman, was finally realized on January 23, 1909, when the Hôtel Grand Royal was opened. Vinterträdgården, the "Winter Garden", was a sensation to many people, but the cost of Mrs Skogh's building projects had proved too high. Times were bad, and for a long time the country was paralyzed by a general strike. The Winter Garden looked threateningly empty, but nobody could deny its beauty. The large unexpected costs of building the Grand Royal eventually proved the downfall of Wilhelmina Skogh. There were great differences among the members of the Grand Hôtel's board, and on December 15, 1910 Mrs Skogh resigned from her position as president of the Grand Hôtel. Her financial situation took another downward plunge a few years later, when her own project, Foresta on Lidingö outside Stockholm, failed to generate a return. A few years before she died her old employer took pity on her plight and offered her the use of a small one-bedroom apartment in Bolinderska Palatset. That is where she lived for the last six years of her life. Her means were small, but she could still afford to travel, and also devoted a lot of time to various mechanical experiments, such as the construction of a calender and an electrical mangle, both intended for home use. She died suddenly and unexpectedly on the morning of Friday June 18, 1926. A brilliant and unique career ended in humble circumstances, albeit in one of Stockholm's most illustrious private palaces opposite the Royal Palace. Nils Trulsson Nils Trulsson was president of the Grand Hôtel during two periods - before and after Wilhelmina Skogh. He was appointed president for the first time in 1897. Trulsson was an hotelier of international repute with many years' experience from working in the major European capitals. Born in 1865 into a poor peasant family in the small village of Bara, Nils had started off as an errand-boy at a small hotel in Malmö. A few years later, he left for the Continent and eventually ended up in Berlin, where he took part in opening up the Hôtel Bristol. During his first stint as president of the Grand Hôtel Nils Trulsson oversaw a major refurbishment of the building. The new exterior, completed in 1899, bore testimony to the craze for turrets and towers at the time. The hotel's lobby was also redesigned, as were most of the hotel's communal areas and the guest rooms, but the biggest news was Spegelsalen, which had been inspired by its namesake in Versailles, the Galerie des Glaces. The second time Trulsson came to the Grand Hôtel was after Wilhelmina Skogh's departure. The Grand Hôtel needed an experienced and strong leader who could take the hotel out of its troubled situation, and Trulsson was considered perfect for the job. He did not disappoint. Slowly and carefully, he changed the way the hotel was run. He skillfully used his contacts in Germany and Switzerland, and established contacts with tourist agencies abroad to promote Sweden, and Stockholm, as a travel destination. Afternoon tea in the Grand Royal, another of his ideas, also became very popular, particularly among Stockholm's fashionable ladies, for whom the Grand Royal became a favorite meeting-place. And it was Trulsson who built the Grand's first summer veranda in 1913, an idea he picked up in Berlin and Paris. On October 1, 1923 Nils Trulsson resigned from his post as president of the Grand Hôtel. One of the reasons was surely that he had received a tempting offer to participate in the setting-up of a major new hotel on Kungsgatan, but the Government's extremely restrictive alcohol policy at the time, which must have seemed very strange to a continental hotelier like Trulsson, may also have a played a part. Torsten Segerstråle Torsten Segerstråle was only 35 years old when he took up the post as president of the Grand Hôtel in 1924. In an interview with a newspaper he would later say: "I came to the Grand with no knowledge of the business, knowing no more than an average guest. Perhaps that was also an advantage. As a layman, I was able to observe the business from different angles. I understood the guests and their requirements, and tried to provide for them". Segerstråle gave the hotel a new exterior and created several new guest rooms. A major refurbishment was carried out, but did not affect Spegelsalen, which was carefully restored to its original condition. An entirely new heating system was also installed. Segerstråle had commissioned Ivar Tengbom, who was one of Sweden's best architects at the time, to design the new building. In many ways, Segerstråle had saved the Grand Hôtel in the 1930s and put it back on a firm financial footing, but when the war broke out its existence was again put on the line. The tourists vanished virtually overnight, and Segerstråle's finances were not such as to allow him to continue to pump money into the business indefinitely. On March 15, 1942 the Grand Hôtel was sold. Paul Meier In 1942 the Grand Hôtel was taken over by Paul Meier and his associate Emil Janson. Meier himself took up the post as president. He had had an extraordinary career, ever since that day in 1911 when Nils Trulsson had tempted him to leave the Hôtel Impérial in Paris to come and run the Grand Hôtel, initially as assistant manager. Paul Meier was born on November 15, 1884 in the little town of Bad Langensalza in Germany. In 1909, after a period of apprenticeship at hotels in France and Germany, he was appointed manager of the Kurhaus Kaiserhof in Heringsdorf, a spa town in northern Germany, and the following year of the Hôtel Impérial on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. In 1911 Nils Trulsson, who had worked with Meier at Kaiserhof, persuaded him to come to Stockholm. In 1923 Meier left the Grand Hôtel. Until 1942 he worked at a series of different hotels and restaurants in Stockholm, including the Hôtel Regina, Oxtorgskällaren and Hotell Kronprinsen. When he returned to the Grand Hôtel, this time as president, the war was raging. It was of course a difficult period. Meier and his associate Emil Janson bided their time. Sooner or later, the war would come to an end. The war ended in 1945, and it became possible to hope for a brighter future again. Four years later Paul Meier resigned as president of the Grand Hôtel and passed on the reins to his son Wilhelm Meier. Marcus Wallenberg After the war, when the number of travelers started to swell again, the bank director Marcus Wallenberg acquired an interest in the hotel industry, partly because he liked the business but also because he thought it could be a good investment. He acquired half the share capital of the Carlton Hotel and became its new chairman. But Wallenberg had even greater ambitions. His next target was the Grand, the best that Stockholm had to offer. The opportunity he had been waiting for arrived in 1967, and on January 1, 1968 the Carlton Hotel took over the Grand. When the news broke it caused a minor sensation, but nerves settled when it emerged that Marcus Wallenberg was the man behind the deal. He became the new chairman of the Grand Hôtel, but also took a keen interest in the day-to-day running of the hotel and would often comment on particular details. As chairman of the board, Marcus Wallenberg hosted the Grand Hôtel's 100th anniversary celebrations in 1974, which coincided with the creation of a new main entrance and two permanent summer verandas, which were opened by Prince Bertil of Sweden. Giesela Wallenberg In 1964 Giesela Wallenberg was employed as a receptionist at the Grand Hôtel. In 1975 she was appointed hotel manager, and later became a vice president. Up until 1996 she was the "spider in the web" at the hotel. Her experience ranged from working closely with the Court, foreign ministry and security services on the security arrangements for visiting heads of State to receiving film and pop stars. Tord Smidt On December 1, 1984 Tord Smidt was appointed president of the Grand Hôtel. The hotel's 80-percent occupancy rate was impressive, but Smidt believed he could improve the results even more: "I have a model - the Pierre Hotel in New York. That is what I would like the Grand to be: an old hotel with class". Before coming to the Grand, Tord Smidt had worked for the Sheraton group, in Sweden, Brussels and, for most of the time, in North America. He initiated a major refurbishment of the building. The idea was to bring out and enhance the "turn-of-the-century feel" of the Grand Hôtel. The work was extensive, and when it was completed in 1988 the hotel had undergone one of its greatest transformations ever. Tord Smidt left the Grand Hôtel in the early 1990s. The economy had deteriorated, and the hotel was in a difficult situation, but at the Grand staff could take solace in the knowledge that it was still regarded as one of the world's best hotels; according to the British magazine Euromoney, one of the six best hotels in the world. Peter Wallenberg Jr Peter Wallenberg Jr became president of the Grand Hôtel in 1992. His task was to see the hotel through the economic downturn. Wallenberg Jr's interest in the hospitality industry had been kindled at an early age, initially more or less by chance. While still at school in the early 1970s he got an internship as a busboy at the Grand Hôtel, and he has been stuck ever since. After four years of studies in the United States, Peter Wallenberg Jr started working at SAS Hotel's head office in Oslo. He then worked for three years at Skansen in Båstad and for almost four years at the Grand Hôtel in Saltsjöbaden before taking over the Grand Hôtel in 1992. In 1994 he also took over the leadership of Grand Hôtel Holdings, which now (2002) also includes Berns Hotel. In the 1990s Peter Wallenberg Jr carried out a series of changes and improvements at the Grand Hôtel, which made the hotel more modern while preserving its historic interiors and period charm. The two top floors were refurbished in 1993-95, and it was in connection with this work that the old, semi-derelict flag loft was put to use. In this space two new suites, the Nobel Suite and the Flag Suite - the new crown jewels of the hotel - were created. In 2002 Peter Wallenberg Jr has handed over the presidency of the hotel to Katalin Paldeak, in order to be able to concentrate on his work as chief executive of Grand Hôtel Holdings. In 2004 Peter Wallenberg is back in the seat of the General Manager.

August Strindberg, Henry Ford, Knut Hamsun, Sven Hedin, Roald Amundsen and Gustaf Mannerheim, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Moore, Orson Welles, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper, Esther Williams, Danny Kay, Sophia Loren, Joséphine Baker and Maurice Chevalier, Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly, Pat Boone, Henry Fonda, Nat King Cole, Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, Marlene Dietrich, Igor Stravinsky, Helena Rubenstein, Liz Taylor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Nikita Khrushchev, Yuri Gagarin, Bykovsky, Charlie Chaplin, Henry Kissinger, Nancy Reagan, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale and Jimmy Carter, Sir Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Beach Boys, Bee Gees, Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson An article from 1883 gives an account of a visit by a world celebrity: "Sarah Bernhardt arrived in the capital on the morning of May 24 by the regular night train from Malmö and will during her stay here be residing at the Grand Hôtel, along with her suite, which numbers 22 people. The great artiste herself will be occupying rooms no. 40-43 on the mezzanine floor; comprising a dining room, drawing room, bath- and restroom, which were once used by the Emperor of Brazil". A few voices from the Grand's discrete staff can still be found in newspaper clippings from the period around 1930. When he was interviewed in 1930, the head porter had worked at the Grand for 23 years: "Perhaps the most interesting time I have experienced was during the Great War when, at the time of the revolution we were invaded by Russian aristocrats. Then there really was a luster about the place, and constant merrymaking. But we have no shortage of exotic guests even in normal times: Oriental princes, Japanese dignitaries, European business magnates. Not to mention all the foreign diplomats, Nobel Laureates and sports stars who come to stay here. I have spoken to Tagore and Anatole France, Albert Einstein, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford".

285 Rooms
21 Suites
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Grand Hotel Stockholm
Country: Sweden
City: Stockholm
Opening date: 1874

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General Manager

Nils Axing


Södra Blasieholmshamnen 8 BOX 16424
10327 Sweden, Stockholm

Tel: +46 8 679 35 00
Fax: +46 8 611 86 86

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