Concertgoers’ perfect budget choice outside the city center
Motel L is one of the most popular hotels in Stockholm – regardless of the price points. That says something. Here, you get a modern, playful design and beds to not just dream in but dream of after your stay. And you’ll pay far less than you would expect. This hotel offers supreme high-value for money, as long as the location right outside the city center works for you.
All opinions are my own. I paid for this stay in full and had checked out before revealing that I wanted to review it. If you book your stay through a link in this review, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Motel L Hammarby Sjöstad at a glance
One place stands out in Tripadvisor’s list of the most popular accommodations in Stockholm. After you scroll past a few of the expected famous luxury hotels, Motel L pops up on ninth place. This piqued my curiosity. What does a budget hotel do among these top-of-the-class hotels? How could it trump hotels known for superior customer service, stylish rooms, and superb location?
Motel L has a simple, yet crowd-pleasing concept. How about budget rooms with a trendy design, close to a couple of the most popular events and concert venues in Stockholm? And it will fit in a lot of the concertgoers, with its 226 rooms. “Motel” comes from neither having a phone in the room nor room service.
So, the colorful print design in orange and hot pink by Maria Bengtsson isn’t what I’d want at home. But it is a refreshing contrast to the standard anonymous hotel look.
Location – outside the city center but with convenient public transport
It took me 18 minutes to travel to Motel L from T-Centralen, including seven minutes of waiting (outside rush hour). Take the tube (Green line) to Gullmarsplan and change to the overground train towards Sickla (one stop, to Mårtensdal). The overground stop couldn’t be closer – it is right outside the entrance of Motel L.
Are you going to an event or concert at Globen or Tele2 Arena? Then this is could be the ideal accommodation for you. Globen is but two stops away with the overground train towards Solna.
Another option that will take you into the city is the boat M/S Emelie. Please note that this is an independent operator, so you won’t be able to use an SL travel card but need another ticket. The price is 60 SEK single/100 SEK return, less for children, and you can buy tickets in the hotel’s lobby. The pier Lumabryggan is a ten-minute walk away from the hotel, or twelve minutes if you take the scenic route along the water. M/S Emelie stops at various places. The most exciting stops for visitors is likely Djurgården (Gröna Lund, Skansen and the Vasa Museum). If you go to the end stop, Nybroviken, you are close to the heart of the city center.
The Reception – friendly and personal
The staff was great at getting a sense of people. In the evening when my tired self checked in, they were friendly and efficient. In the morning when I felt refreshed, we enjoyed a great banter.
The reception is part of a large lounge area where you’ll find the breakfast buffet in the morning. At other times, you can fetch yourself a complimentary tea or coffee, or buy something from the shop or bar. Check in was from 15:00 and check out before 12:00.
The Room – maximal design on a minimal budget
I booked a standard single bedroom (nr 128) for 725 SEK, breakfast 90 SEK, staying 28-29th of June 2018. The room’s 15 square meters fit in two 90 centimeter beds put together, a desk and chair with a TV above, and an armchair. And yes, it was as designed as the rest of the hotel. The cleanliness and general freshness of the room were excellent. When it comes to attention to the room, the single negative remark is that one of the headlights by the bed didn’t work.
Motel L prides itself with having beds from Carpe Diem. That didn’t say much to me until I lied down. It was comfortable far beyond what I would have expected from a hotel at this price level.
The windows faced the green roof of a low parking house. With the building opposite so far away, the room felt private despite windows covering an entire wall. The quiet street made for little external noise, so at most I would hear the odd plane flying above.
The room had three built-in shelves as well as a narrow open wardrobe with hangers and a shelf for shoes. If you’re staying for several days or have a lot of luggage, you might find this inadequate. However, you can use the wooden pegs in the hallway if you need more space.
The bathroom featured a waterfall shower with an impressive wall print. Even the packaging of the bar of soap had the same colorful prints as the room.
The Facilities – bonus points for the gym
I wouldn’t have expected a budget hotel to have a gym, but this one did. A chest press, a leg curl, a lat pulldown, an elliptical machine, a stationary bike, two exercise balls, and a mat. And yes, there was a TV. While this setup wasn’t particularly fancy, it should be enough for you to work up a sweat.
The hotel took care to make it a fresh experience. Paper towels and cleaning bottles for wiping down equipment. Cups and a water basin for staying hydrated. A button for adjusting the volume of the music. Budget, but caring. The gym was empty when I tried it out, but if others have the same idea, it could feel crowded.
But you can not just burn calories, but add new ones, as Motel L has a pub next doors. Judging from the menu, it serves typical pub food but more than just hamburgers.
Next to the hotel, you’ll find a pharmacy and a supermarket. This is, after all, a quite residential neighborhood.
The Breakfast – continental and mostly organic buffet
The continental breakfast buffet costs 90 SEK for adults and 50 SEK for children. Breakfast is free if you book through the hotel’s site. You’ll find the breakfast in the lounge area on the ground floor. Hours vary; during the summer, it was 07 00 – 10 00 during weekdays.
The buffet offered a lot of organic or local options of high quality. For a continental breakfast, there was nothing I missed. Clear allergy-signs and convenient plates and cups for children gave a thoughtful impression.
The selection and quality of the buffet makes it a good deal. Also, maybe I was blind but I didn’t see other breakfast options in the immediate vicinity of the hotel.
Who should stay at Motel L Hammarby Sjöstad?
Are you attending an event at Globen or Tele2 Arena, or do you not mind a 15-minute ride to get into central Stockholm? Then this hotel offers high value-for-money. Considering the different rooms available and little touches such as the children’s plates at the breakfast buffet, I’d say the hotel is well suitable for families, too. The area Hammarby Sjöstad is pleasant for a walk along the waterside in the summer. You’ll be able to find a few good cafés, ice cream places, and restaurants or pubs.
But, if you’re only in Stockholm for a limited time, intend to spend a lot of time in town, want to be in an area with a bit of a buzz, or know that you want to get back to your room to refresh, this might be too far outside the center. Then another budget option like Generator, Scandic No 53 or Hotel Hornsgatan might be better suited for you.