hotel

Checking in to Stockholm's Coziest Hotel - Downtown Camper by Scandic

At the beginning of October, I celebrated my one year anniversary of moving to Sweden… and, about a week or so before that, I FINALLY got my Swedish personal number!

If you or anyone you know has ever relocated and registered to live in Sweden, you know it can be a real doozy… (and if ya don’t know, now ya know). When the long, complicated process of getting settled in and legitimized was finally done, we decided to do something special. To celebrate the momentous (long-awaited) occasion we took a long weekend trip up to Stockholm!

Given I’ve lived here for a year, I’m not sure how this was my first time going there… especially since round-trip train tickets from Malmo only cost us about US$70… but I CAN tell ya that it definitely won’t be the last! Stockholm did not disappoint… and neither did the hotel where we set up camp!

If you’re planning a trip to Sweden’s capital and aren’t sure where to stay, check out Downtown Camper by Scandic - Stockholm’s coziest hotel hideaway!

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Disclosure: I was a guest of Downtown Camper for one night (and paid a discounted media rate on a second)… but, as always, the following thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Great Outdoors… Indoors

Since I started travel writing a few years ago, I have stayed at my fair share of hotels. In that time, I haven’t seen it all… but I have seen a lot - the good, the bad, the dingy, the luxe, and the downright disgusting. I am by no means a “hotelier,” but all this checking in and checking out does make me at least somewhat of an expert on the subject of cool hotels… and I can say with 100% honesty that Downtown Camper has one of the most unique concepts I’ve ever seen in a hotel… hands down… especially for a hotel that is a part of such a huge regional chain.

Though it is one of many Scandic hotels in Stockholm, Downtown Camper has none of the cookie cutter decor or stuffy atmosphere that you’d expect from a typical corporate hotel property. It does, however, have a whole lot of personality… and so do the people who keep things running smoothly around here.

According to the folks over at Downtown Camper, this is a space where nature meets metropolis, where Stockholm locals meet visitors, and (according to me) where guests can expect to do a whole lot more than just catching some zzz’s.

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setting up camp

When you enter the bedroom, the first thing you’ll notice is the crackling fire greeting you on the TV. These cozy campfire vibes are complimented by the room’s neutral earthy tones and rustic decor… and contrasted by the modern Scandi-design of the white and black bathroom.

On our first night, we stayed in a Classic Double, and, after we returned from our cruise to Helsinki, we spent another night in a Spacious Double. Both rooms were super cozy and equipped with everything we needed, including a super cozy daybed by the window… aka the PERFECT spot to sip on a cup of morning coffee and map out our plans for the day.

The main difference between the Classic and Spacious Double rooms is as the name suggests - The size. The latter also had a bathtub and windows covering two of the room’s four walls. I don’t mind a small hotel room when travelling (as I rarely spend much time there anyway), but windows and natural light are a must for me… so I was very happy with our bright and airy upgrade to the Spacious Double.

If you prefer more of a cave like atmosphere, you can book a windowless “Sleep” room… (which I’d imagine would be a great option for business travellers or anyone suffering from jet-lag). Travelling as a family or with a large group? Downtown Camper also offers suites and co-living spaces that can accommodate up to a dozen people!

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around the site

To put it simply, the whole Downtown Camper property is pretty amazing. I’ve never stayed in a hotel that was so impressively designed AND had so much going on.

From the bustling lobby and meeting spaces to the restaurants, bars, and rooftop wellness area, there’s a lot going on at Downtown Camper. No attention to detail was spared when it came to decorating this cozy, urban oasis… and, unlike at other hotels, the cozy look isn’t just for show.

There are loads of creative common areas for people to meet, work, and lounge. My personal favorites were the Game Room (complete with shuffle board and swing seats), and The Net hanging over the lobby just past the reception desk.

Throughout the week, hotel guests can enjoy a sound therapy session and full body scans up in the net. After the session, the net stays open for a bit for those who want to just chill here. It’s a super cozy spot that I kinda wish had been open more consistently. I can totally see myself enjoying a book or getting some writing done up here!

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As you’d expect from a hotel in the middle of a major city, Downtown Camper can get pretty busy. Whether you’ve had a long day of work, exploring, or just need to escape the hustle and bustle of Stockholm (and the rest of the hotel), a trip upstairs to The Nest is a must.

Located on the top floor, the Nest is a wellness area exclusively for guests age 16 and up. Start your day with yoga on the rooftop terrace, relax in the nest shaped sauna, or take a dip in the heated infinity pool.

The whole space offers magical views of the city and was the perfect place to rest and recharge on our final evening in Stockholm. For obvious courtesy reasons, I didn’t take many pictures up here… but I did get this shot before putting away my cameras, grabbing a glass of champagne, and watching the sun go down over the city from the rooftop pool.

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food + drinks

There are a few different options for food and drinks around the hotel, but the most popular is the Camper Grill and Bar. Breakfast is served super early here (which is both a blessing and a curse). This will make you get an early start on your day, though you’ll probably have trouble tearing yourself away from these super comfy beds. I can promise you that the spread waiting for you at the breakfast buffet is totally worth waking up early for.

Andrew and I missed breakfast our first morning here (because of the aforementioned comfy beds), so on our second morning we made sure to set our alarms and were among the first to hit the buffet. There were of course the standard waffles, pancakes, sausages, and eggs that you can expect from most hotel breakfasts… but there were lots of healthy vegan and vegetarian friendly options offered, too. They even had fresh pressed juices! We both agreed it was the best hotel brekky we’ve ever had.

Unfortunately, I didn’t dine at Camper Grill and Bar for any other meals, however, I did catch a whiff of whatever they were serving up for lunch and dinner… and the smells alone had my mouth watering. This is a popular spot for locals, too, and there was always a huge lineup at lunch time, so I’d recommend booking your table in advance! For bookings contact restaurant.downtowncamper@scandichotels.com.

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Alongside the Camper Grill, you’ll find one of the hotel’s two bars.

It’s open for both hotel guests and locals seven days a week, and, like the rest of the property, there’s a really cozy rustic vibe. Grab one of their delicious cocktails and have a seat on one of the swings. Seriously - Swings for seats! So cute.

The bar is open from noon to midnight weekly, and stays open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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The Nest Cocktail Lounge is another great spot to grab a drink at Downtown Camper. This rooftop lounge serves up light bar snacks, gorgeous cocktails, and incredible views of Stockholm. They also have DJs at their weekly afterwork events here.

The bar is open 4pm-11pm from Tuesday to Thursday and 2pm-1am on Fridays and Saturdays. It is closed on Sunday and Monday, but, as far as I know, guests can still visit the lounge and enjoy the space even when the bar isn’t open.

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For a healthy bite to eat, head to the Downtown Camper Café.

This new cafe is located by the hotel’s second entrance on Drottninggatan, one of Stockholm’s most popular walking streets. The 100% vegetarian menu offers a wide variety of delicious, plant-based foods.

Beside the cafe area, there is another space with couches and tables where you can get some work done, relax, or meet with friends and colleagues - (I’m honestly surprised I was able to get a shot of it empty because the next time I came through here it was PACKED).

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events + activities

Downtown Camper has lots of free onsite activities and events that guests can participate in throughout the week like yoga classes, afterwork events, and weekend films.

As tempting as it’ll be to stick around the hotel, you have to get out and explore the city, too. Join one of the walking, biking, running, or photo tours led by a local Downtown Camper guide, and, if none of that strikes your fancy, head over to the lifestyle concierge for the inside scoop on what to do in Stockholm. You can even rent a bike, skateboard, longboard, or kayak to explore the city on your own!

For more information about their weekly activities and events, visit Downtown Camper’s website or Facebook page.

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location, location, location!

…and (on top of everything else this hotel has goin’ for it) the location is something else I loved about Downtown Camper! It’s literally smack dab in the middle of Stockholm, and right around the corner from the Central Station, so getting around is super easy and convenient. While you’re at it, you have to check out the city’s incredible underground art.

For more info on the best stations to visit and when, check out the photo guide below!


booking

To check current rates or book your stay at Downtown Camper, use the search box below.


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Checking in to London’s Greenest Boutique Hotel - Qbic Hotel

Last November, Andrew and I set off on a four week, seven country adventure to visit and capture Europe’s Christmas markets with Urban Adventures. London was our last stop, and, for a couple of reasons, it was the destination I was most excited about.

My mom is from England, so, I’ve visited London a couple of times before with family, but, on both occasions, I was barely a teenager. I was old enough to like the city… but I wasn’t really old enough to appreciate it.

This time around, things were really different. I was excited about revisiting London, but was also looking forward to visiting my family there. It was the first time in my life I’d be visiting them by myself, and also the first time I’d be entering the UK on a British passport!

I was also pumped for our London trip because we were going to be staying a couple of nights in one of the coolest areas… at the city’s most eco-friendly (and cutest) boutique hotel - Qbic Hotel London.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

About QBIC Hotel London

The Vibe + mission

In one word, Qbic Hotel is super cozy. Picture your typical, stuffy, corporate chain hotel… and then think the exact opposite. I was a big fan of their trendy decor, art filled walls, and the staff’s laid back and welcoming attitude.

Qbic says, “We use local, innovative designers to create refreshingly different interior design that is authentically unique and holds an inspiring story.”

They are dedicated to reducing their environmental impact and support eco-friendly charities in the local community. One of these is Cafe Art, London based initiative that aims to reconnect people affected by homelessness with society through Art. Qbic showcases some of the artists work in their hotel and has even given Cafe Art a space to run the charity in the hotel’s basement.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

From the solar panels on the roof to their use of chemical free cleaning products, at Qbic Hotel, being “green” is more than just empty words or a marketing slogan.

They provide guests with organic toiletries and natural, organic beds made from sustainable and renewable resources. They also offer free bike rental and encourage guests staying two or more nights to conserve water and energy, by skipping room cleaning (in exchange for a free drink at the bar). Qbic Hotel believes this incentive will encourage guests to make greener decisions.

Though their aren’t in-room coffee makers, each floor is equipped with a free coffee and tea area. You won’t find any plastic water bottles here. Instead, guests are provided with free filtered water in their room’s refillable glass bottle. Qbic hotel also uses sustainable, re-usable metal straws instead of single-use plastic straws.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

The rooms

Compared to other hotels in, our room at Qbic smaller. We didn’t have all of the bells and whistles you might find in other hotel rooms, but, we found that we did have everything we needed.

I was pleasantly surprised by the sleek, modern, clutter free design of the room, and impressed by the rooms defining wall art and highly efficient reusable pod that stood center-stage.

The “Qbi pods” in each room are sustainably built, aluminium pods that contain everything you need in a fully functioning hotel room… and I mean everything from the bed, tv, lights, outlets, and USB ports to the toilet, sink, and waterfall shower. It’s such a genius and innovative concept.

Guests have the choice of a smart room, cosy room, or a fun room. So, what’s the difference?

If you’re looking for a crashpad where you can get a solid nights sleep, go for a window-less smart room. If you want a bit of daylight, go for a cosy room like we did. If you’re travelling with two or three people and want a bit more space, go for one of their larger fun rooms (complete with a couch).

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

Motley Bar + Restaurant

Motley, Qbic’s in house restaurant and bar, is popular amongst travellers and locals alike.

They offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner throughout that week and several delicious options for sharing (…or keeping to yourself). Their menu has lots of healthy, vegetarian friendly dishes made from seasonal, sustainable, and locally sourced produce.

The restaurant and bar was always pretty quiet during lunch (and at 5am when I took the photos below), but it got really busy after working hours. We stayed here during the week, so it was a great spot to grab a bite to eat and get some work done, but it’s probably much busier for brunches on the weekend!

Hours

BREAKFAST: Mon-Fri 7:00-10:30 Sat-Sun 8:00-11:00

BRUNCH: Sat-Sun 11:30-15:00

LUNCH & DINNER: Mon-Fri 12:00-22:30 Sat-Sun 15:30 - 22:30

BAR: Sun-Wed 16:00 - 00:00 Thu-Sat 16:00-2:00

Click here to view Motley’s various menus.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

Rates + Booking

To check current rates or to book your room at Qbic Hotel London, use the search bar below!

Booking.com

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London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - 25hours beim MuseumsQuartier

Last November, Andrew and I set off on a one month, eight country journey around some of Europe’s most beautiful Christmas Markets.

Our first stop was Vienna, where we had the pleasure of staying at the quirkiest, coziest, and most conveniently located hotel in the city - 25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld


ABOUT 25HOURS VIENNA

Located at the heart of Vienna’s 7th District, the 25 Hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier was a great home base for our three day stint in Austria. It also might be the most insta-worthy hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

From the lobby and guest rooms to the corridors and rooftop bar, you’ll find the entire hotel filled with colorful, circus themed wallpaper and vibrant vintage finds. The design team paid so much attention to detail when bringing this unique, dreamy hotel to life.

From what I could see, 25hours attracts a wide variety of guests ranging from young couples like Andrew and I to businesses travellers and families. Like their slogan suggests, we likely had one thing in common… We’re all mad here.

The property and design let off a cozy vibe, the staff was welcoming, the location was prime, and the food was delicious… All in all, I was a huge fan.

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WHAT’S IN THE BUILDING?

INSTA-FRIENDLY LOBBY

If you don’t take at least ONE photo of this lobby… why’d ya even come?

A Polaroid camera wall greets you in the entranceway, and, through the doors, the lobby is filled with a retro photobooth and loads of other vintage finds. As you can see in the photo below, we didn’t quite get the hang of the photobooth… but we did get three hilarious candids and one caught off guard butt shot out of it.

It’s almost worth coming here a bit before check in just so you have an excuse to chill in the cozy lobby for a bit. Unfortunately, we arrived so late that we were eager to drop our bags in our room and head straight for food.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
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25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld

1500 Foodmakers

In our quest for food, we didn’t make it very far… because just through the lobby is an equally charming culinary hotspot.

When we walked in, we were greeted by a waiter who asked if we had a reservation - (yes, it’s that popular, and no…we didn’t). Thankfully they were able to squeeze us in, because we were absolutely famished.

With eyes bigger than our bellies we went for the Chefs special for two… a 4 course meal that is totally worth it if you’re willing to splurge a bit.

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See that three gelato dessert spread in the photo above? Well we each got one and it was phenomenal… especially the flavor in the middle.

I can’t remember exactly what it was - but it had hints of lime and mint and something else, and, in one word, it was HEAVENLY. So good, in fact, that Andrew attempted to steal mine, and then almost ordered a second.

1500 FoodMakers is also where 25Hours serves up its delicious buffet breakfast. We came here each morning during our stay to get our fill of coffee and grub before heading out to explore.

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Dachboden

If you’re looking for a good bar in Vienna, again, you won’t have to go far. Dachboden is 25Hour’s famous, in-house rooftop bar. Not pictured - the ridiculous amount of people here!

On the first night we tried to come here for a drink, it was full… on the second, it was booked for a company Christmas party… and on the third (and final) night, there, again, was nowhere to sit.

Though I unfortunately can’t personally speak about the quality of their cocktails, as I never got to try them myself… my friends who visited a couple of weeks later said they really enjoyed theirs. They must be doing something right to attract such a crowd.

I can only imagine how nice it is in the summer when the weather is warm and you can enjoy your cocktail on the terrace.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld

Mermaid’s Cave

Downstairs in 25Hours you’ll find the mermaid’s cave - a cutesy lounge/gym area. It’s the perfect spot for a quick workout or to relax after a day of exploring the city… if you’ve got the time… which we unfortunately didn’t.

I didn’t get any photos in the gym (because there were always people on it and I didn’t want to be a creep) but there was loads of equipment where you can get your sweat on.

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GET A ROOM

The lobby, restaurant, and rooftop bar can be enjoyed by anyone… but if you’re only in Vienna for a short amount of time, I’d highly recommend checking in and staying awhile.

We stayed in 25Hours M+ Room and were really impressed with the space, amenities, comfy ass bed, and incredible view of the Museums Quarter.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
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25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
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25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld

Other room options include the M Room, L Room, XL Room, Suite, and Panoramic Suite (which has an outdoor terrace and bathtub feature that I’m dying to soak in next time around).

Each of these options is decorated in its own unique way. Check out the 25Hours website to see which you prefer!

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

ADVENTURES ON FILM

Watch: Christmas Markets of Vienna

BOOKING

The bed was comfy, the vibes were good, the food was delicious, and the staff was great!

They loaned us umbrellas to take around town and extended our checkout when I got a last minute class booking… which was KEY - (fun fact: hotel rooms can double as classrooms).

Sold yet? ‘Cause ya should be. I honestly cannot recommend this place enough.

To book your stay click here or use the search box below.

Booking.com

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Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - Hotel Highlights HallAroundtheWorld
Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - Hotel Highlights HallAroundtheWorld
Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - Hotel Highlights HallAroundtheWorld