What It’s Really Like to Stay in the IKEA Hotell in Sweden
Yep, everything there is by the retailer.
Published Apr 12, 2023 1:06 AM
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Around this time of year, some families hop a flight to Disney World. Others are off to Legoland, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or Sanrio Puroland. In February, I took my own pilgrimage to a brand-focused locale: IKEA’s headquarters in Almhult, Sweden, once home to the first IKEA store ever and now the only place in the world where you can (legally) sleep in a building filled to the brim with the company’s products. Welcome to the IKEA Hotell.
The IKEA Hotell isn’t just a tourist attraction—its opening in 1964 was, in true Scandinavian form, functional above all else. When IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad built the first store in Almhult in 1958, families would travel from all over the country to shop, so it only made sense that IKEA would offer them a place to eat and sleep, too.
Nowadays, the small town is also home to the company’s design center, iconic test lab (no photos allowed!), and photo studio, once the biggest in the world. And even though the O.G. store is no longer, it’s been replaced with a museum where you can peep vintage designs and buy Frakta bags in colors and patterns you won’t find anywhere else.
So if you’re making a trip to the museum, you’re staying at the hotel. Not just because getting to Almhult is a journey (it’s 1.5 hours by train from Copenhagen), but there’s not much of a city center outside of the campus. And one could argue, with a building entirely dedicated to you living your best IKEA life, what more does a person need? (The answer is toothpaste, which I had to walk 15 minutes into town to buy.)
When you walk inside the hotel lobby, a curtained wall lined with Burvik side tables and black Fröset chairs set the minimalist tone. This shouldn’t be a surprise, but I’ll mention it anyway: This is the IKEA Hotell; the Ritz Carlton it is not. You won’t find room service or housekeeping except upon request at this bare-bones retreat, but in the spirit of the brand, it’s democratically designed, and even more democratically priced, around $109 a night for a double room.
Bare bones, sure, but there’s not much more you really need: Each of the three floors has a common area (not unlike a dorm) that’s packed with IKEA furniture in soothing shades of light oak and white. Downstairs, there’s a laundry room for guests and—in the grand Scandinavian tradition—a sauna.
The 250 rooms come in a variety of family-friendly (and friend-friendly) types: double rooms, 13-square-foot cabin rooms, and even bunk bed rooms that sleep four. Everything, from the mattresses to the pillows to the scones, are IKEA designed—it’s like a showroom that you’re actually allowed to sleep in. One of my travel companions even noted that the mattresses there were more supportive than the ones we encountered at our high-end stay in Helsinki.
But the biggest treat of the IKEA Hotell isn’t the minimalist design or the fact that you can literally try out their products in real life: It’s the restaurant. I know. And I’m serious. Under the glow of 59-cent Finsmak tealight holders and with 365+ silverware in hand, you can order rich meatballs paired up with whipped mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce, obviously—more decadent than you would have at any IKEA store. The vegan burger ruled. And the breakfast, included with your stay, fuels you up with Swedish pancakes, scrambled eggs, and pastries.
Even when the fire alarm went off just as I was drifting off during the last night of my stay, the vibe outside in the below-freezing weather was cheerful—and maybe even involved a snowball fight, but I don’t want to get any Swedish strangers in trouble. It was the perfect ending to a stay that wasn’t luxurious, but thanks to IKEA’s friendly vibe and comforting designs, felt like home.