Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Opened in February 2008, the 558-room Clarion Sign pairs low room rates with high design—a fitting combination in the homeland of IKEA and H&M. (We picked it as one of the world's most notable design hotels of 2008.) The striking building of black granite is the work of Gert Wingårdh, one of Sweden's most famous architects; the interiors are like a checklist of classic Nordic design, with furnishings by Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen, among others. The standard rooms are quintessentially Scandinavian: white walls, white bed linens, wooden floors, and some modern furnishings to provide a splash of color. While the Clarion is primarily a business hotel, leisure travelers will do well here too, particularly given the excellent Selma CitySpa's heated rooftop pool. Unfortunately, the Aquavit Grill and Raw Bar (a Marcus Samuelsson spin-off) is skippable, but the hotel's town center location means you won't be stuck for alternatives. Rates can start as low as $125, and in July—when the Swedes take their national holiday and business travel grinds to a halt—room prices tend to fall.
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