The family-owned hotel Diplomat moving with the times
24 March 2021
Situated at one of Stockholm’s finest addresses, with views over the city’s waterfront, lies Hotel Diplomat. Owned and run by the fourth generation Malmström, the hotel is named after its history as a home to many ambassadors and is rated one of the best hotels in Northern Europe. In this feature, Anna Cappelen, Chairman and Partner at SCC member Hotel Diplomat lets us in on the secret behind the hotel’s success.
Hotel Diplomat is an elegant luxury hotel located by the Nybroviken harbour in central Stockholm. The building, which was originally built as a residential palace, was converted into a luxury hotel in 1966. All rooms remain individual and unique to this day, and so do elements from the time when the building served as state apartments. “The building’s classic ‘Art Nouveau’ style has been preserved and is today combined with sophisticated deco and clear, Scandinavian design,” Anna explains. “The Malmström family has a long-standing interest in art, design and culture which is manifested throughout the hotel. The hotel rooms are furnished in a contemporary sophisticated style, and works by notable Swedish artists adorn the walls of the hotel’s corridors.”
A home away from home
The hotel is rated one of the best hotels in Northern Europe and has over the years been awarded an array of awards, including several of the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. Anna sees several factors behind the hotel’s success and its ability to stay relevant 55 years after the opening. “Our long experience in the hospitality business makes us confident in what we offer. We are passionate about delivering exceptional and personalised guest experiences. It should be their home away from home when visiting Stockholm. We also travel a lot and pick up trends quickly, we follow developments and lead it from time to time.”
The fact that the hotel has been owned and run by the same family since its opening has had a big impact on the hotel’s DNA according to Anna. “Our fantastic staff is the reason for our success. We care about our staff as much as we care about our guests. We have people that have worked here over 40 years and it says a lot about the company.”
The hotel’s ability to retain staff applies also to the hotel clientele. Over the last few decades, the typical hotel guest has remained fairly the same – travellers who place high demands on service, quality and are looking for luxury hotel experiences as well as something unique. “We always want to stay relevant which makes us a popular choice for the savvy leisure guest as well as the well-travelled businesswoman.”
Desire to travel changed – not disappeared
Due to both national and international travelling restrictions in place to reduce the spread and mitigate the effects of the virus, the hospitality industry is among the industries that have been hit hardest since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Anna explains that the idea of travelling has changed but definitely not disappeared. “People are discovering that they can have travel experiences in their own city by staying at a hotel and enjoying its restaurants, cafés and other facilities. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, most people are now booking last minute compared to before when the majority booked several months ahead, so we need to offer flexible cancellation policies.
Meeting face to face still crucial
With Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out, and people’s longing for travelling at an all-time high, Anna is optimistic about the future. “We foresee an increase in leisure travel as people are longing to travel and to experience new cities and cultures. This goes for corporate travelling as well. There has been a huge leap in new technology which is having a positive impact on how we communicate, but meeting face to face is still a crucial part of doing business. The pandemic has also led to an even greater focus on sustainability and this is also something that we are really focused on. In spring 2021 we will open our new sister hotel, Villa Dagmar which is very exciting.”