In the last half of the 19th century, Sweden’s railway network was growing quickly. Better communications and logistics brought increased trade to smaller town and cities throughout the country. Local inns and rooming houses could no longer accommodate all the travellers, and so hotels were built. The result was a Swedish institution - the Stadshotell.
A Stadshotell is the grandest hotel in a smaller town or city, centrally located and often one of the town’s best-known buildings, on a par with the town hall and the church. It’s where the finest dinner in town can be had (often with crisp linen napkins and polished silver) along with music and dancing on Saturday nights. It’s where big birthdays, weddings and christenings are celebrated, and where the local Rotary chapter and the bridge club hold their meetings.
Being one of a kind in its location, the hotel is often known by an abbreviated nickname, such as “Statt”, rather than by its actual name.
Statt in Vimmerby, a town of about 7000 in the south of Sweden, dates from the 1860s, and is located right on the central square. When it opened it had 26 guest rooms, several dining rooms, a café, a billiards room and several large salons for parties, balls, celebrations and other gatherings, and for the next 100 or so years, it was the centre of everything that went on in Vimmerby.
However, nothing lasts forever, and 150 years and several changes of ownership later, the hotel had lost much of its original charm and character to insensitive renovations and careless material choices.
Stylt’s mission was to restore one of Sweden’s oldest stadshotell to it former glory, and to its rightful role at the heart of Vimmerby life.
The new Vimmerby Stadshotell is suitably grand, but also warm and welcoming. The recurring squirrel theme - most strikingly evident in the huge oil painting above the fireplace in the drawing room - provides a playful touch (the Vimmerby town coat of arms features a squirrel, symbol of industry and hard work).