Noisy yet charming hostel ship with striking City Hall view
Rygerfjord Hotel and Hostel spreads out over three ships on Södermalm, not far from Slussen. The bar with its stunning view caused enough noise that I asked to change cabins. Even so, I enjoyed the charm of the main ship M/S Rygerfjord. As long as you aren’t too sensitive to noise, this hostel offers cheap single and double room cabins.
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.
Rygerfjord Hotel and Hostel at a glance
Rygerfjord Hotel and Hostel has a total of 90 cabins of different sizes and standards, spread out over three ships. According to the hostel, the main ship M/S Rygerfjord has been here since 1995, and it comes with a history. M/S Rygerfjord was built in Norway and finished in 1950. After several machine failures, the ship retired from traffic after running aground on its way to Nordkap in 1989. The other two boats look far more modern and – dare I say it – practical.
During my stay, the clientele consisted of couples of all ages, young families, and groups of friends.
The Location – on the edge of Södermalm
So, you’ll see that the Slussen area is a mess during the major construction works. Despite this, Rygerfjord is but a few minutes away from Slussen subway station and Old Town. Söder Mälarstrand runs along the Northern edge of Södermalm. While the road has some traffic, the neighbors consist of other hostel ships. If you want to be in a livelier neighborhood, check out Hotel Hornsgatan instead.
The Reception – friendly and attentive
The check-in is next to the bar. Throughout the stay, the staff at Rygerfjord Hotel and Hostel gave a friendly and attentive impression. When I asked for another room, they stayed positive (although a bit eager to praise their cabins). I appreciated their list of Stockholm recommendations placed in the rooms – a simple but caring gesture. You can check in from 15:00 and check out before 11:00.
The Room – charming cabin after escaping the noise
To enjoy a ship stay you need to accept the constraints that come with it. Rooms will be cabins, and some noise is unavoidable. That said, there are limits to what is reasonable.
I booked an economy double room for one person, with a sea view, 693 SEK, bathroom and toilet in the corridor, staying 24th-25th of June, 2018. This room type has either two single beds or a double bed.
First room: no 137
To enter the room, you step through the doorway circa 20 centimeters above the floor. It is a cabin, so of course it is small, but it is well-presented and looks and feels clean. Despite the size, the room still fit in a desk and a wash basin. There was also a small space for hanging clothes between the bed and the wall.
I had requested a room with a double bed but got two separates, meaning a bunk bed. Okay – I was the only guest, anyway. I am happy we weren’t two, as I didn’t see steps for getting to the top bed, meaning you’d either have to climb or use the chair. There didn’t seem to be a safety railing either, but maybe I missed that.
Then, the ”sea-view” was interesting. Not that the term was untrue – I did see some water – but most of the view was over the bar area right outside. But unfortunately, the bar is above the room as well. Summertime and beautiful weather equals lots of guests enjoying the sun with a drink on the deck. I hear a constant stream of trampling customers, a Manu Chau-playlist on repeat and people rearranging furniture. It is noisy. Also, the door’s ventilation holes let me hear people outside in the corridor, including the toilet flushing. So room 137 wasn’t the best for peace and quiet. As the bar closes at 23:00, the noise should be gone by then, but if you need to sleep early or recover from jetlag, then this isn’t the room for you.
After trying to work at the desk for a while, I get cranky and decide to do something about the noise. The staff looks concerned when I ask if the hostel had any quieter room. After asking me more about why I didn’t like the cabin, they find me another one.
The showers and the toilets in the corridor are separate from each other and are of a basic standard but were clean and well-kept.
Second room: no 125
I made myself comfortable in room 125, which turns out to have a stunning view. This was the cabin I wanted and hoped for when I booked the stay. Although it is in the same price category in the other one, this feels far more luxurious. The room is clean and fresh, and although it lacks the first room’s sink, I still prefer this one.
However, what is it about Manu Cau? I still hear the speakers in the bar and reception area, albeit quieter. The music quietens during the night but starts mixing reggae with Amy Winehouse and Ella Fitzgerald at seven in the morning. Luckily, I was already awake. When I sit and work on the bed, it cranks whenever I move, and I immediately wish there won’t be any honeymooners occupying the nearby cabins. So, if you stay on the main ship, prepare for some noise regardless of your room’s location. You can hear a faint ripple from the waves, but I found that sound pleasant.
The glass pane in the cabin door lacks a curtain, and I could see people moving in the corridor, so I hang a towel over the curtain holders. Privacy.
The bathroom in the corridor was similar in size, style and standard as the bathroom next to the first room – basic but clean.
The Facilities – basic but convenient
Most of the facilities are located on the main ship M/S Rygerfjord. It has a lounge area with TV, some books and games. Even some guests’ intent of watching football games ad nauseam couldn’t take away the old-fashioned, inviting charm of this room. Leather sofas, old bookcases, marine art – suitable decor for an old ship.
On M/S Rygerfjord is also where you find the bar and restaurant, with plenty of outdoor seating on the deck and next to the ship. The beautiful view of the water and City Hall makes it understandable why so many people choose to enjoy a summer evening here.
You’ll find a guest kitchen onboard one of the more modern boats. It seemed to be well-equipped enough and drew a crowd of families with young kids when I was there.
The Breakfast – decent but unspectacular
The breakfast at Rygerfjord Hotel and Hostel costs 95 SEK. Breakfast is available in the reception and pub area in the main ship. Meaning, you’ll be able to enjoy the beloved City Hall view even as you munch.
The bread and the muesli were ordinary at best. It has been a long time since the orange juice was in a fruit – not because it necessarily was old but because it tasted like a cordial. Coffee was okay, but it didn’t pack a punch (even if I discount that I prefer mine on the strong side).
It is hard to put the finger on anything in particular that is missing, but the result isn’t overwhelming. And no, I don’t expect to feel bowled over all the time. The selection and quality make for an okay breakfast but don’t warrant a recommendation.
Is convenience or time is essential to you? Then it would be smart to eat at Rygerfjord after staying over (or bring food and make breakfast yourself in the guest kitchen). Otherwise, I’d rather skip it and take a ten-minute walk to any of the more exciting breakfast places on Södermalm. Some cafés can be quite expensive, but you’ll get something made with more effort and attention to quality. I didn’t see any gluten-free or lactose-free food, but when I later asked the staff told me they had a selection.
Who should stay at Rygerfjord Hotel and Hostel?
The second room was definitely worth the price, but I was less impressed by the first one because of the limited “sea view” and noise levels. However, there is no bar on the hostel’s other two ships, so staying in a cabin on them might be a quieter experience. If you’re okay with bringing earplugs, then you’ll find a pleasant hostel with friendly staff and an incredible view.
If M/S Rygerfjord doesn’t float your boat, you might want to check out one of the other budget hostels and hotels I’ve reviewed.