Boat Hotels in Stockholm

Boat Hotels in Stockholm

Lola A. Åkerström introduces you to boat hotels in Stockholm.

Boats in Stockholm. Photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

Photo by author

Popular across Europe are boat hotels – or “botels” – refurbished remnants of the continent’s nautical past now used as modern-day lodgings. Here are some docked boat hotels in Stockholm.

Red Boat Mälaren

Boats in Stockholm. Photography by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

Photo by author

Red Boat Mälaren was hard to miss as I walked from Stockholm’s historic Gamla stan (old town) across Centralbron (Central Bridge) to Stockholm’s edgier neighborhood – Södermalm. She sat like a red cherry atop glazed white icing that was frozen Lake Mälaren on that chilly winter day.

Painted in Falu red and docked alongside Söder Mälarstrand, the ambient fishing boat turned hostel emitted much needed warmth – from aging wood-paneled walls refurbished and decorated with nautical lamps and clocks to hanging lanterns and worn-out lifesavers making patrons feel like they’d literally stepped back in time.

Red Boat Mälaren guests can choose from hostel bunk rooms as well as three different quarters: Admirals, Captains, or Officers quarters, which look onto Gamla stan across Lake Mälaren. There are also two landside quarters – Mates and Navigators’ quarters – that face Södermalm.

LogInn Hotel & M/S Kronprinsesse Märtha

Photo: Loginn

Photo: Loginn

Built in 1928, M/S Kronprinsesse Märtha is a an elegant boat hotel, restaurant and conference ship located along Södermälarstrand.

Starting out as a steamship built for transporting passengers and postal traffic between Oslo and Bergen in Norway, it was originally named after the Swedish Crown Princess Martha who had married Norwegian Prince Olav.

In 1939, “Martha” ran aground during bad weather conditions at sea.

Almost everyone was rescued except two passengers who drowned in their cabins. Since then, “Martha’s” history has been filled with more memorable events from being hit by a tornado, running aground two more times, being used as a blockade ship during the second world war and as a floating casino in the Netherlands.

Read more about the ship’s fascinating history here.

af Chapman & Skeppsholmen

Photo: af Chapman

Photo: af Chapman

Built in 1888 as a trading ship, visually impressive af Chapman with its tall flagged masts was re-purposed into a hostel centrally located on the island of Skeppsholmen. The ship is within walking distance of many city sights and most of its cabins retain their original style.

A true intrepid, af Chapman has sailed all over the world. Built in 1888 in England, it was a trade ship for her first 25 years before being moved to Gothenburg in 1915, where it became used as a private training ship. In 1923, the Swedish Navy took ownership, giving the ship the name “af Chapman” and it was kept as a training ship until 1934 when it sailed for the last time.

In 1937, the ship was towed to Stockholm and permanently docked at Skeppsholmen as naval accommodations. After WWII, the Swedish Navy sold her to the city of Stockholm for only 5,000 SEK – which today can be likened to  the cost of a roundtrip plane ticket. The Swedish Touring Club took over af Chapman with plans to turn it into youth hostel. The club paid for her reconstruction and renovation.

af Chapman was officially opened as a hostel in 1949.

M/S Rygerfjord

Photo: Rygerfjord

Photo: Rygerfjord

Rygerfjord was built in 1950 at Mjellem & Karl’s shipyard in Bergen, Norway and she ran the shipping routes between Bergen-Rosendal and Bergen-Sunndal in Norway. Constant engine problems forced the ship to spend more time in the shipyard undergoing repairs.

Over the years, it transported both passengers and export goods, but in July 1989, the boat was stranded en route from Bergen to Nordkap. Her captain died of a heart attack. All its passengers were rescued safely.

Two years later, the ship was taken out of service and used as a missionary ship until June 1995 when it was permanently docked at Söder Mälarstrand. After its renovation, the boat now offers up 130 beds in 45 cabins.

Its sister ship, Rygerfjord II arrived in 2001. It was built in 1986 in Poland as a hotel ship and together, both ships offer up 55 cabins that cam accommodate 150 guests.

Mälardrottningen Yacht Hotel

Photo: Mälardrottningen

Photo: Mälardrottningen

Docked at Riddarholmen in Stockholm’s harbor with gorgeous views of Gamla stan (Old town), Mälardrottningen Yacht Hotel offers up a taste of the city’s maritime flair. Built in 1924 and converted into a floating boat hotel (“botel”), travelers can cozy up in one of 61 cabins spanning its three-level deck – from modest-sized sailor cabins to a sprawling owner’s cabin, complete with dark mahogany polished wooden accents and nautical artwork adorning its walls.

Built in 1924 by American millionaire C.K.G Billings, Mälardrottningen was the largest diesel driven yacht at that time. It was later given to Barbara Hutton – heiress of the Woolworth Empire – as a gift from her father for her 18th birthday. She in turn gifted the ship to the Royal English Navy. During WWII, the ship was temporarily anchored in Panama before being moved to Norway to be used as a training ship.

Reconstruction began on the ship in 1980 to convert it into a hotel and it was completed two years later in 1982.

Mälardrottningen was then permanently anchored by Riddarfjärden in Gamla Stan.

Gustaf af Klint Hotel & Hostel

Located at Slussen is the former ocean-mapping ship Gustaf af Klint docked at Stadsgårdskajen. The ship was named after Gustaf af Klint, a Swedish naval officer and cartographer, who was born in 1771 in Karlskrona and who died in 1840. The ship is now converted into a hotel and hostel which is open all year round with a restaurant onboard and deck for relaxing. The ship was initally suppsed to be docked along Norrmälarstrand, but it has since moved back to its old location at Stadsgårdskajen at Slussen.

In its youth hostel section, there are four-bed and two-bed cabins and a dormitory with 24 beds, and the hotel/youth hostel is located close to the underground – about 250 meters from Slussen station.

Ånedin Hostel

Located onboard a traditional cruiseliner is Ånedin Hostel and the ship, M/S Birger Jarl, was named after a Swedish statesman who played a pivotal role in consolidation of Sweden. Built in 1953 in Sweden, the ship was a cruiseliner that regularly shuttled passengers between  Stockholm, Sweden and Mariehamn on Åland Islands, Finland for over 60 years.

In May 2010, M/S Birger Jarl was officially declared an historically important landmark (“K-marked”) by the Swedish State Maritime Museum. In June 2013, it stopped working as a cruiseliner and was turned into a floating hostel. Ånedin Hostel has 156 rooms  with traditional maritime designs across six decks.

Ånedin Hostel is now situated between Fotografiska and Birka Cruises along Lake Mälaren.

Here are more details about the ship from its official site:

Birger Jarl is a passenger ship owned by Ånedinlinjen. M/S Birger Jarl is 92,40 meters long 14,25 meters wide, the draft is 4,90 meters and the weight is 2798 tons. In 2010 M/S Birger Jarl was included in Sweden’s registry for historically and culturally important ships by Swedish National Maritime Museum.

M/S Birger Jarl was laid down in 1951 at Finnboda shipyard in Nacka, Stockholm. It was built for the shipping company Rederi AB Svea and was given the name S/S Birger Jarl after a Swedish statesman who played a pivotal role in consolidation of Sweden.

M/S Birger Jarl is one of so called Olympia ships as she together with her sister ships (S/S Aallotar and S/S Bore III) were built for the Helsinki 1952 Summer Olympics. However, she entered into service a year after the Olympic games and her maiden voyage was in June of 1953 from Stockholm to Helsinki, Finland.

Since 1979 the classic liner Birger Jarl owned by Ånedinlinjen operated on a cruise service between Stockholm, Sweden and Mariehamn on Åland Islands, Finland.

Built in 1953, the ship managed to preserve the original wooden interiors and has been awarded the Swedish ‘K mark’, listing it as culturally important in 2010. Any kind of reconstruction that spoils the historical interior is not allowed.

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Author: Lola A. Åkerström

Lola Akinmade Åkerström is an award-winning writer, photographer, and travel blogger, and is also the Founder/Editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm. Her photography is represented by National Geographic Creative. She tweets at @LolaAkinmade.

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