it was never the swankiest establishment, but an easily accessible and affordable choice. in the early 2000's my friends and i had the habit of hopping on the boat just to see a band and with people's differing financial statuses it was easiest to book rooms where everyone could afford one. even though i otherwise prefer small, design savvy hotels, it would be fair to say malmen had other perks.
as long as i can remember, the corridors and elevators of malmen have provided encounters worthy of namedropping to the point of nausea. the place enjoys a surprising status as the official rock cradle and bands from all over the world have chosen it as their temporary resting place.
warning: an abundance of indie-infused namedroplets about to follow.
i have shared the elevator with the members of interpol. not once, but twice. i slept on the sofas by the entrance with some members of the strokes. i waited to check out behind block party's kele followed by the singer from the secret machines. i hugged beth ditto outside one summery night and tried to lure her to mcdonald's with me only to witness her being adviced otherwise by css's lovefoxx. i had breakfast with erlend øye who just happened to walk in (although i did know him from before). there were others that i vaguely recognized and many that i didn't.
whoa, that was ostentatious.
if we ever considered not staying at malmen when visiting sweden for a gig, it was never voiced out loud. it was the place to be if you had a drop of indie stalker in ya.
a bit over a week ago i stayed there again. this time courtesy of visit sweden, i had the opportunity to meet the hotel manager and hear about her work in creating the new malmen. after my last visit the place had seriously changed and i was eager to find out where they were headed.
they had renovated the rooms and the public areas. what used to be a basic hotel restaurant was turned into a colorful hub for people to meet and party. as the most thrilling surprise i realized that they had taken their popularity with music people seriously, and opened den lilla hotelbaren, a small venue for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talent.
|detail from the restaurant. both photos courtesy of scandic malmen.|
they had done something right: our room was cosy and the hotel was full of life until the wee hours. it truly seemed a regular stockholmer would consider opting for a hotel for a night out – something that i've only seen happen in nyc before this.
what remains are the affordable prices and the perfect location. the only thing i miss are the large sofas by the reception desk – there are never too many places for great naps. with the strokes.