I arrived to Hotel Birger Jarl at nearly midnight, after a very long day of travel involving 2 buses, a low cost low comfort airline flight, and an Uber that somehow got lost.
I was tired and a bit slap-happy. Check in was mercifully quick and friendly, and after complete, I asked the receptionist how to pronounce the hotel name properly.
“Burger Jah-rul?” I phoneticized, guessing.
The receptionist laughed, not unkindly, and said something that sounded like “Bir-yher Yarl”. I tried to repeat it exactly as he said it, though it must have been wrong because it elicited politely stifled giggles from all the staff members behind the desk.
He repeated the name, and I (tried to) repeat it as well, again a total failure. I tried twice more before giving up.
“It’s hard,” the receptionist admitted.
“And I’m pretty tired,” I made an excuse for myself.
Confession: I’m bad with names, and with languages, and I never succeeded in pronouncing Birger Jarl correctly (not for lack of trying!)… but that had zero impact on my experience, aside from reminding me that I’ll probably never speak Swedish.
5 Types of Travelers that Hotel Birger Jarl is PERFECT for… even if you can’t pronounce the name
1. Health-conscious travelers
I’m trying to get back into a workout routine (I’ve even signed up for a half-marathon next year!), but the hardest part is always the break in routine while I’m traveling. Sometimes the hotel gym has wacky hours, or my favorite machine is broken down… or any other excuse I can come up with in order to spend time stuffing my face rather than puffing away on an elliptical.
Hotel Birger Jarl saved me from myself. The hotel gym is small but efficient, located on the top floor, and with all machines in perfect working order (including the elliptical I have a love/hate relationship with).
While I always allow myself to
overindulge after a strong gym sesh, Birger Jarl has a plethora of healthy breakfast options to help you stay on track, ranging from vegetables, to yogurt, to fresh fruit (and so much more). They’ve also got breakfast options for special diets, including dairy free and gluten free choices.
Beyond the gym, I stay in shape while traveling by walking as much as possible, and the location of Birger Jarl supports that goal. It’s just far enough from the main attractions to be a nice little walk (around 10-15 minutes), but it isn’t so far that you’d be able to justify taking a cab.
2. Relaxation seekers
While I still have a soft spot in my heart for zany, colorful design (think: if Phoebe from Friends was a room), I’m growing in appreciation for more minimalist spaces.
I really think that your physical environment has an impact on your mental sphere, and with less stuff crowding your physical space, you naturally have less burdening your mental space.
When I enter a room that is thoughtfully put-together, devoid of unnecessary distractions yet organized with harmony and style, I immediately feel calmer. Do you?
Hotel Birger Jarl has nailed the minimalist, zen aesthetic without sacrificing comfort or feeling cold. The entire guest space feels quiet, restful, and comfortable. It’s an ideal escape after a day of sensory overload.
The white robe, slippers, and super comfortable bed (I am a sucker for white bed linen) adds to the spa-like appeal of the room. Sometimes, less is more, especially when the less is the best.
3. Friends on a holiday getaway
While I was solo on my trip to Stockholm, I couldn’t help imagining how absolutely wonderful my room would be for a girl’s getaway with friends.
I love traveling with friends, but sometimes it can feel a bit cramped when you’re repeatedly staying in small spaces. Birger Jarl’s guest room feels so expansive, and the separation of the sleeping and sitting areas really helps. The cozy siting area actually feels like a stylish friend’s chic living room, more than a sterile hotel space.
Even if you’re already getting on your friend’s nerves (or vice versa), the ample room will ensure that you won’t be getting up in each other’s hair too much. There’s even two mirrors — perfect for 2 ladies who would otherwise be
fighting over sharing makeup application and hair styling space.
There are even 2 TVs, in case you and your bud(s) can’t agree on what to watch.
An added bonus: the vibe of the room isn’t too sexy. I’ve stayed in some hotels that feel like they cater only to couples: lots of reds or pinks, velvet and satin linens, indiscreet shower designs. Those rooms are great for traveling with your partner, but can feel a bit awkward or not quite fitting when traveling with friends. The rooms of the Hotel Birger Jarl could be romantic, but they don’t force that vibe on you.
4. Long term travelers and digital nomads
The digital nomad and location independence trend is on the rise, and I count myself amongst that army, as all of my work is currently online.
There are two aspects to any type of accommodation that a location independent/digital nomad absolutely needs: sufficient wifi and a place to work. Hotel Birger Jarl nails both. The wifi is super fast (you could even stream Netflix if you really wanted), and the provided desk even has a lamp to prevent straining your eyes for those late-night deadlines.
When it comes to nomadic amenities, the Hotel Birger Jarl goes above and beyond.
The hotel provides a coffee and tea station to fuel your mind while you power through that last bit of work, and a mini fridge. The fridge is great for when you’d rather grab something to go to eat at your desk in anticipation of a heavy workload, but also anyone who’s been on the road for a month or more knows what it’s like to be burned out on restaurant food and craving some salad and veggies. Or maybe that’s the health-food-nut vegetarian in me and no one else gets burned out on yummy restaurant food?
5. Literally, everybody
But seriously. Hotel Birger Jarl is full of amenities that would please each and every traveler: from families with kids, to hotshots on business trips, to Stockholm staycationers.
First and foremost, the amazing breakfast spread is something to write home about. Literally. I’m obsessed with the wide variety of options on offer, many of them healthy (or at least: healthy-ish. Vacation healthy. How about that?)
The rooms have HUGE windows. I’ve never understood hotels that shut up their rooms, leaving guests in a somewhat dark and closed-off
dungeon space. When I’m in a new place, I want to see and experience it as much as possible, for as long as possible, and that includes from my hotel room. I also like to people watch from my windows, so don’t take that from me! Hotel Birger Jarl gets this, but also provides thick, heavy drapes that block out all the light for getting a great rest — and for you vampires.
The rooms are androgynous, and almost masculine in their atmosphere (in a good way). As mentioned earlier, some hotels go too-sexy on the vibes, making it kinda weird to share the room with a platonic friend, or a family member… or to recommend it to your dad. Hotel Birger Jarl is totally safe recommendation-wise, and the rooms are still sleek and stylish. Also, sometimes it’s just nice to spend time in a space that isn’t in-your-face-feminine.
The friendly front desk staff has a great sense of humor while still being professional and kind. They didn’t mock me for my ridiculous name pronunciation fails, but they didn’t make me feel like a weirdo for having fun trying, either. Everyone I talked to was helpful with advice, recommendations, and explanations, and when I needed to check out but had a few things left to see, they held my luggage for a few hours.
My travel style is somewhat chameleonic, and I’ve developed some random preferences (white bed linens always and forever, please, and don’t forget my “Do Not Disturb” sign)… but Hotel Birger Jarl has nailed them all. In fact, of the 12 hotels I visited in September, Birger Jarl was my favorite.
Proving that sometimes, the most awesome things have the most unpronounceable names.
I don’t quite know how to pronounce these toiletries either, but I love these too!
(^^^I mean this from the bottom of my heart. I still don’t say my husband’s name entirely right. Regardless how he assures me otherwise, I’m reminded of my pronunciational failures every time we visit his home country and everyone says his name differently than I do. That’s a serious confession.)
**Side note: If you’re curious as a cat like me and wondering who Birger Jarl is (it sounds like a name, right?), here’s all you need to know.
Necessary Details for Staying at the Hotel Birger Jarl in Stockholm, Sweden
If you’re wondering what to do in Stockholm, I cannot recommend the Stockholm Pass enough. You get unlimited rides on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus, boat tours, museum admissions, and so much more for one low price.
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