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Black Tomato Swedish Lapland Tour

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, December 02 02:57 PM

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Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh? It's not just the stuff of Christmas carols. On the hip travel company Black Tomato's new Swedish Lapland tour, it's your mode of transportation.

After a food tour of Stockholm, you'll kick it Santa-style under the Northern Lights, sleep in a mod tree house in an enchanted forest, and fly (literally) over the icy wilderness of Lulea in a hovercraft. Reindeer meatballs are on the menu, but having a nibble of Santa's little helpers could land you on the naughty list. Consider yourself warned.

Photo: Courtesy of Black Tomato

Scandic Grand Central, Stockholm, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, October 20 10:31 AM

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Ikea, meatballs, herring--of all the amazing things Sweden exports, it's the music that gets our heart beating. And Stockholm's new 391-room Scandic Grand Central serves it up five times a week with free live shows in the lobby.

Located near the train station in the city center's shopping district, the hotel occupies the fully renovated quarters of the 1885 Lundberg Palace. The modern Scandinavian decor earns pop-rock cred with song lyrics scrawled on guest room walls and portraits of local celebs (rapper Adam Tensta, Lady Gaga video director Jonas Åkerlund) in the lobby. Book a suite, and you'll have your own record player to jam to. Or, just blaze up Spotify on your laptop; Wi-Fi, like the certified organic breakfast, is free. Starting with ABBA's "Thank You for the Music" sounds about right.

Photo: Åke E:son Lindman AB

Hotel J, Stockholm, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, September 20 12:02 PM

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Americans don't always have the best reputation in Europe (who among us hasn't considered renouncing our citizenship when queried about exports like Snooki?). But there's one place that's unabashedly rolling out the red, white, and blue welcome mat with style: Stockholm's newly expanded Hotel J.

Set on the water's edge at Nacka Strand, Sweden's answer to Newport, Rhode Island, the hotel has 158 guest rooms--113 of them a Nordic homage to nautical New England, with stars-and-stripes bedding, blond wood furniture, and whitewashed moldings. The sweeping views of the Royal Djurgården, the leafy island of Lidingö, and the boats on Saltsjön bay are pure Sweden. But the friendly service extends to those of us as American as apple pie (which is served ā la mode in the hotel restaurant).

Photo: Courtesy of Design Hotels

Villa Godthem, Stockholm, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, July 15 10:17 AM

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Most refurbs don't get the royal seal of approval, but when Villa Godthem in Stockholm revealed a makeover that breathed fresh life and new flavors into a once-fading 114-year-old landmark, the Swedish king and queen came a-calling.

Built in 1894, the ornate wooden structure was originally an opera singer's residence but was converted into a restaurant 23 years later. The Michelin-starred folks behind Grill and Kungsholmen have masterminded the most recent redo. Now the veranda is enclosed in windows and acts as a main dining room, with outdoor dining on an expansive and leafy patio that fronts Djurgården's idyllic Brunnsviken bay.

Signature dishes include steak or Baltic seafood served up on a wooden plank, while the rest of the menu leans toward Swedish traditional tweaked for contemporary palates: lighter, healthier, and of course, locally sourced and organic. Even if you aren't a king, you deserve to eat like one.

Photo: Courtesy of Stefan Anderson

Avalon Hotel, Göteborg, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, June 01 07:00 AM

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Design exhibitions can be a bit frustrating, especially when the works on show--say, an Eames lounge chair just pleading to be sat on--are behind glass. But now that the fashion-, design-, and decorative arts-focused Röhsska Museum has paired up with Sweden's Avalon Hotel, you can look, touch, and swivel with verve.

In conjunction with the museum's Past-Present-Future exhibition (through September 30), design covetables from the collection have been replicated in the hotel's public areas and key guest rooms. Our faves include a tangerine Verner Panton Cone chair, a classic of late 1950s Scandinavian modernism; the full-size Horse lamp and Pig tray tables, quirks of design stars Moooi; and a DVD of Swedish FRONT design group's Blow Away Vase, showing in the elevators. Free workshops and design tours are offered for the truly obsessed. How novel: design that's actually within reach--at least for a night.

Photo: Courtesy of the Avalon Hotel

See! Colour! Jarna, Sweden

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, May 05 12:31 PM

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Sweden is tripping the light fantastic this year with a contemporary art exhibit called See! Colour! (May 15 through October 2). Set near a fjord south of Stockholm in the town of Järna, the indoor/outdoor exhibition explores ideas of light, color, and space in bold installations and art works spread over the Kulturforum campus. Featured are the noted American artist James Turrell and, representing Europe, the late Hilma af Klint and Rudolf Steiner.

Viewers tap into Technicolor experiences via interactive exhibits such as Turrell's Skyspace, a room open to the air whose light sources morph colors in conversation with the sky. Or you can sit inside Turrell's one-person spherical chamber for a color-and-light show, your own personal rainbow connection.

Photo: Bridget's Bardo, (Ganzfeld Piece), James Turrell

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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