LOCATION - Nordic Sea Hotel is the absolute best location you can have for riding the Arlanda Express train to the airport. It is right next to it, just a few steps away. However, if you are not riding Arlanda Express, it may not be the right location for you. For example, if you're riding the Bus and not Arlanda Express train, then Kungsbron Hotel is probably a better choice, though this is still quite convenient. If you are riding the Regional Train (SJ), then Hotel Terminus or one of the Radisson Hotels is a better choice, because this is at the opposite end of the very large train station from the central station. Nordic Light Hotel is literally across the street, so that too is a good choice for location to Arlanda Express. We chose this hotel because of its proximity to Arlanda Express (we had an early morning train to the airport the next day) and in that it did not disappoint. Very convenient.
HOTEL - The hotel is a modern-styled Swedish "Design Hotel". There is a big aquarium in the lobby which is a nice touch. It is a middle-of-the-road type hotel with no bell service, simple furnishings (IKEA-style), with few amenities, but does have a restaurant and a bar. The bar keeps short hours though, so you may need to go around the corner to The Bishop's Arms pub for a drink after about 10:30 PM. I'd say imagine a Holiday Inn Express with a restaurant.
ROOMS - The rooms have three sizes - small, really small, and microscopic. The microscopic ones are the express rooms with single beds, these are for the budget traveler to sleep a few hours and get on the train the next morning. Some do not have windows, which is brutal in the summer because there is no Air Conditioning in the rooms. The smallest rooms are about 10 sq m (107 SF), with single beds or bunkbeds. The standard size is 18 sq m (193 SF), while the superior rooms can be between 22 and 30 sq m (236 SF to 322 SF). The superior rooms are recommended for more than one person, as the 18 sq m standard room we stayed in was really pretty claustrophobic for 2 people and a bunch of luggage.
The rooms do not have Air Conditioning, which in summertime makes it extremely humid and difficult to sleep. All but the smallest rooms have one window that opens, which is a must if it's warm or humid, but then you open it and you have the city noises keeping you up instead. The furnishings are typical Swedish business-class wood, with a small desk and an old-style CRT 20" television. The bed was hard and springy, the pillows were lumpy, and without any air flow or ventilation except the open window and its associated noise, sleep did not come easy. We would probably opt for a hotel with A/C if we were staying in the summertime again, though these are not easy to come by for less than $300 USD a night. Our standard room was $216 per night, an outrageous price for a room of this quality, but that's Sweden.
FOOD - We did not try the restaurant, and the breakfast starts serving at 7:00 AM, the time our train left so we didn't get to have the breakfast we paid for either. They offered a "box breakfast" which we accepted, but consisted of a banana and a tiny stale sandwich that was not edible.
BAR - The bar keeps strange hours, very short and even shorter than advertised. They literally kicked out everyone out of a full bar a half hour before closing.
In addition to the regular lobby bar, there is the Ice Bar, a popular tourist attraction. The Ice Bar is modeled after the one at the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, but is a pale comparison. For a whopping 190 SEK ($30.00) per person, you get admission to the ice bar, one small drink, and a cloak that semi-covers you so that you can be in the cold room. The ice bar itself is just a meat locker with nowhere to sit but a couple of small ice-benches, a small ice bar to stand at, and a couple ice sculptures. Enough room for only about 20 people to be in at a time comfortably, standing.
You will need to reserve a space in the ice bar, as it is frequented by tour groups and walk-ins are sometimes difficult. Supposedly you get a 40 SEK discount if you're a hotel guest, but that was not offered to us, and then when we found out they told us too bad, it's too late now, so make sure to point that out when you arrive. Once inside, you are quite cold, even with the cloak they give you, so average stay inside is about 10 minutes. They will kick you out after about a half-hour or so to make room for the next group. Essentially you go in, drink your drink quickly, take a few photos and leave within about 10 minutes. If you've ever been to the real ice hotel you'll want to save your money, there is nothing here for you, the real one is leagues more impressive and fun. However, if you've never seen an ice bar, and probably never will see another one, it might be worth it for a quick photo op. Quite a scam, $60 for 10 minutes and 2 drinks, but oh well. If we had it to do over again, we wouldn't have bothered. Don't let that deter you from the real Ice Hotel though, the real one is quite cool, and well worth the visit. Nobody who goes to the Ice Bar ever goes back, I think, it's a 1-photo-op-wonder only.
BUSINESS - There are conference rooms here, and free wi-fi in the rooms worked well. The desk is fine for one person to work at, but nowhere for a second person. Easy access to Arlanda Express, taxis, etc to go to business meetings. A better hotel if you're by yourself I think.
Overall, we had a pretty poor experience at Nordic Sea, a bad night's sleep in a tiny room with no A/C, no breakfast, ripped off at the Ice Bar, and kicked out of the lobby bar a half hour early. For this, we paid a premium price of over $200 a night at what felt like not much more than a hostel. But, it was convenient to the train, so if none of this sounds like a problem, and a quick overnight before Arlanda Express is what you need, this is a good bet. If you're looking for a location to sightsee around Stockholm for a few days in the summertime, keep looking, or at least do a Superior Room.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel C Stockholm offers you the key to Stockholm. You'll find us in the city centre, right by the Central Station and Arlanda Airport Express train. The city's major attractions are within walking distance. We offer 367 rooms with a modern design inspired by the waters of Stockholm, providing you with all the service you expect, plus that little bit extra. Stockholm's coolest bar: ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL Stockholm is also located at Hotel C Stockholm. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Nordic Sea
- Nordic Sea Stockholm
- Nordic Sea Hotel