Birger Jarl

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 2003, 12:00am

Where? In Stockholm's Little Asia district - a smart area awash with Eastern eateries.

Is the hotel ethnic, too? On the contrary - the Birger Jarl is a showcase for contemporary Swedish design: 12 of its 235 rooms have been decorated by prominent local designers, and the lobby doubles as an exhibition space for artists and craftsmen.

Wooden trolls are not a feature, then? Rooms created by the designer dozen include the sea-themed Jonas Bohlin suite; the Svenskt Tenn suite, which features a riot of folksy patterns; and the Miss Dottie suite, which is splattered with multi-coloured spots.

What are the standard rooms like? Still pretty stylish. Some have wall-to-wall carpeting and an archipelago landscape painted on one of the walls, while others are utterly minimalist save for the fern-green and arctic-white colour scheme.

Ikea with a twist? Indeed. Blond-wood furniture is a strong feature, while Swedish poems printed on to fabric panels provide a decorative complement.

Who goes there? Musos such as Moby, who appreciate the glass-fronted mini-bar, Bang & Olufsen stereo system and television that revolves away from you after it's been switched off.

Is the service as cool as the aesthetic? Far from it. Staff are warm, friendly and eminently approachable.

Anything else we should know? Still derided thanks to its Abba/Volvo associations, Stockholm is now one of the fashionable places on the planet - a cosmopolitan city that has been described as the 'Barcelona of the north'.

Standard single Kr 940-1,760 (HK$844-$1,580); standard double Kr 1,150-1,835; Single design room Kr 1,745-2,250; double design room Kr 1,745-2,450; single business room Kr 1,295-1,995; double business room Kr 1,395-2,185; Design room junior suite Kr 2,750; Design room executive suite Kr 4,500 a night. Box 190 16, Tulegatan 8, 104 32 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel: [46 8] 674 1800;