Towards the end of 2014, I decided to explore more under-the-radar European cities. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel across Europe quite extensively and the ‘main cities’ have started to feel quite saturated. European cities are so beautiful and picturesque but the major cities tend to be quite formulaic with a well-trodden path between the must-visit attractions. How lovely would it be to actually explore a city and take it in rather than shuffle between sites.
Malmo in Sweden was right at the top of my list, rather than Stockholm or even Gothenburg. Sweden’s third largest city is a melting post of over 150 nationalities resulting in a dynamic mini-powerhouse of a city with Italian coffee shops sitting next to Danish half-timber houses. Known as the City of Parks, a quick search on Google Images reveals a city with beautiful parks and squares as well as a shimmering canal and medieval, cobbled streets. Perfect for a relaxing weekend getaway.
Although Malmo is a small city, location was important to me which is why I stayed at the superb Renaissance Malmo hotel. Situated seconds away from the vibrant Lilla Torg square as well as some of the city’s best restaurants and boutiques, the Renaissance enjoys being in Malmo’s equivalent of London’s Soho or New York’s Meatpacking District – you could not get a better location.
The hotel itself is on the corner of two unassuming, picturesque cobbled streets, one of which takes you to a corner of Lilla Torg. The hotel strikes the perfect balance of being essentially on the square, but far enough to be super quiet and peaceful even on raucous Friday and Saturday nights. The hotel is also a short walk from Malmo Central Station which has direct trains across to Copenhagen.
The hotel lobby is what you would imagine from a boutique Swedish hotel, clean lines and lots of white…with an art instillation adding a quirky touch along with the soft purple-lit front desk. The rooms were decorated equally beautifully, all dark wood floors, crisp white walls and linens perked up with raspberry and apple shades. Well-appointed with a desk (for my hair and make-up as opposed to actual working), a beautifully carved wardrobe and spacious bathroom, my room was a little haven. I was particularly taken with the beautiful chaise longue, which became my little nook writing, working out where to have dinner and pretty much everything in between.
The Renaissance is notorious for having the comfiest beds across the land and I can attest to their cosiness, thick mattresses crowned with a sumptuously soft mattress topper are my morning weakness. As hard as it was to leave my comfy nest each morning, the delicious breakfast spread is a huge incentive. Breakfast is served in the renowned Rosen Bar & Dining, one of the top restaurants in its own right; it is the in-house restaurant at the Renaissance. I opted for healthy granola with Greek yoghurt with berries and green tea for breakfast but there’s a huge option of proper cooked breakfast fare as well as continental cheeses and meats.
Although the Renaissance Malmo has a very boutique feel with a chic, modern design aesthetic, it’s owned by the Marriott Group which explains the impeccable service and general high standards. My experience staying at the Renaissance was faultless, from the super helpful staff to the pristine room and delicious breakfast.