Believe it or not, the Collector’s Hotels, a trio of family-run hotels honoring British Admiral Lord Nelson, can be found in the heart of... Stockholm, Sweden’s “Old Town.”
In 1973, Majlis Bengtsson and her husband, Gunnar, purchased the old Hotel Ignatius in Gamla Stan. For centuries, Gamla Stan (“Old Town”) was Stockholm. When the Bengtsson’s bought their hotel, there was no hot water and only one bathroom in the building.
Today, each Collector’s Hotel features a naval motif relating to the life and times of Horatio Nelson and his exploits. Each property possesses characteristics that give it its own individuality.
The Lord Nelson, Lady Hamilton and Victory hotels feature naval memorabilia in every room as well as the corridors and common areas.
As the smallest, the Lord Nelson Hotel is the most intimate of the three properties. Each room displays an antique model ship from which the room derives its name. Floors are named after parts of a ship; Gun Deck, Middle Deck, Poop Deck and so on. Every floor has its own grandfather clock that must be wound by hand every day.
Located at nearby Storkyrkobrinken 5, the Lady Hamilton Hotel was once three houses that were connected into a single building. Archaeologists date the street to about 1470, when it served as the northern entrance to the center of town.
Nelson’s flagship was the HMS Victory, so it is only natural for the flagship hotel to be the Victory. With 45 rooms, the Victory is the largest and newest of the Bengtsson properties (it opened in 1985).
The building dates from 1640, but in 1937 five workers discovered a treasure in a corner that later became the hotel bar. The largest silver treasure in Swedish history, it contained more than 18,000 coins and several artifacts valued at more than 100 million Swedish krona (about $117,656).
During construction of the Victory, the base of the Lion-tower, which formed part of Stockholm’s original city walls in the 14th century was uncovered; it’s preserved in what is now the hotel restaurant. The wall is the only known remaining fragment of the city’s medieval defense system.
The Collector’s Hotels are proof positive that sea-ing is believing.
Bob Taylor of Charlotte leads group tours and organized the Magellan Club.