On the island of Långholmen there is a beautifully renovated hotel that used to house prisoners, rather than guests.
In 1975, what is now Långholmen Hotell was a disused building. It had once been Långholmen Prison, the site of the last execution in Swedish history. Convicted murderer Johan Alfred Ander met his end under a guillotine and is the only person to have done so, as this method was only ever used in his case. Even before it had become a prison, the building had served as Långholmens spinnhus. This was a women’s prison, where thread was spun.
This history is far from pretty and some would wonder how such a place could be considered beautiful. However, while there is a tinge of spookiness to the atmosphere of the hotel, it is, on the whole, a comfortable and modern hotel.
Certain features of the old prison cells remain and the hotel makes no secret of the building’s past but the bunk beds are fitted with all of the comforts you would expect at any hotel. The decor is clean, modern, and attractive but underneath the bunk beds and on the walls, images of those who were once imprisoned there in the 19th-century point to the building’s history. The curve of the ceilings and the bars on the windows remind guests of the purpose for which it was all built and while the design is comfortable, it is not designed to be luxurious.
The island itself is known for its fauna, which is oddly exotic for Stockholm. It is supposed to have sprouted when seeds brought from abroad on ships fell from sacks and began growing. Långholmen is a brilliant place to visit, full of history, peculiar plants, and one very interesting hotel.