June 10, 2023

It’s a family affair. Opened last spring, the Villa Dagmar hotel in Stockholm’s upscale Östermalm district is an homage to the Malmström ownership family’s larger-than-life, early family member Dagmar Bergsten and was inspired by the art-filled villa that she and her husband Karl owned on Sweden’s southwest Scania coast.

On the short, but nicely pedestrianized and commercially vibrant Nybrogatan street, Villa Dagmar belongs to the same family already known for their long-time operation of the stately Hotel Diplomat on the nearby Strandvägen harbor front.

The Dagmar is made up of several culturally-protected buildings from different periods and in different styles, all of which took some work by the Tengbom architecture firm to make gel into a whole. One unit once housed a silversmith atelier, while another was a caramel factory whose clinging sweetness in the air long-time neighborhood denizens still remember.

A blue historic plaque outside informs that a writer and physician to the royal house, Axel Munthe, once lived here in one of the Nybrogatan houses, and that it was used as a counter-espionage office during WWII.

Most striking is the Dagmar’s enormous soaring glass ceiling inspired by the British Museum that links the buildings and creates a courtyard which serves as the heart of the ensemble. It’s called the Garden, but with a touch of Italy to it the space is socially a piazza, as the buzz of the cocktail crowd around the wine bar attests. Last month, wine bar Dagges opened in the former boutique space where on Fridays and Saturdays DJs spin.

Reached via the Garden, the restaurant is the latest creation of chefs Daniel Höglander and Niclas Jönsson who are already known for their celebrated Michelin restaurant Aloë. From small shared plates to two-person tasting menus worth lingering over, the Dagmar cuisine trends toward Mediterranean meets Nordic.

While the caramel maker is long gone, an in-house bakery now wafts delectable patisserie scents. As you move throughout the property’s interior, you can’t also miss picking up diffused scents that were inspired from the island of Capri which played a big role in Dagmar’s life.

With interiors by the Per Öberg Arkitekt hospitality design firm, Dagmar’s 70 rooms and suites feature gorgeous chinoiserie toile wallpaper. The marble bathrooms carry skin care products that are Villa Dagmar’s own.

The Gazebo shop carries select design objects and books that reflect the property’s taste and vibe, including that custom line of organic hand and body washes and lotions in orange blossom, honey and cedar scents. Dagmar Spirit & Retreat, where dermatologists and therapists are at the ready, uses them as well.

Currently, the public spaces such as the Restaurant and Garden are hosting the photography, painting and drawing exhibit “Existing Systems” (until June 15, 2022). Featuring contemporary Swedish and Sweden-active artists, the works on display will have a selection available for sale. The restaurant as well has a photo exhibition by Martin Sundström, known for his rich botanical images.

You aren’t the only one in your family welcome at the Villa Dagmar. So too is your dog, should Fido be under eighteen pounds, who will be treated with a basket and toys.

The Villa Dagmar opens into another historic structure that just reopened this spring after a major renovation. The late-19th-century Östermalms Saluhall, or Market Hall, is a gorgeous red brick structure housing dozens of fine food and drink purveyors and a number of bistros, restaurants and wine bars. Even if you were to remove all the delicacies for sale, its cast-iron interior alone should have you drooling over its elegance.

A few doors away, the French-and Italian-inflected Brasserie Astoria recently opened in a former 1920s cinema, whose multiple spaces and dining rooms scattered all about are linked by a central spiral staircase. From vibrant bar scene to intimate nooks, there’s a decidedly hip buzz to it all.

Travel Notes: Getting to Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) from JFK and Los Angeles just got easier with new Finnair service on Airbus A350-900s. A cool 200-million Euro investment in Business Class cabins in the entire long-haul fleet of A330s and A350s includes the addition of the new Collins Aerospace AirLounge, which features a high-backed shell that makes for a private nest, a super smooth seat mechanism, and ample storage space. New in-seat and cabin mood lighting designed with Hamburg-based company Jetlite combats jet lag. Finnish firm Iittala contributes new lightweight chinaware from designer Harri Koskinen, while pillows and a duvet come from fashion house Marimekko. Flights between JFK and ARN are daily, with three weekly between ARN and LAX.

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