Entering IKEA can sometimes feel a bit like stepping through the looking glass into another world. The sprawling, maze-like stores are easy to get lost in, and those floor sample apartment layouts can look so much like the real thing that, after a long day of shopping, it’s tempting to plop down on a LANDSKRONA sofa, put your feet up, pour some vino into a long-stemmed HEDERLIG wine glass, help yourself to a smoked salmon plate, and later fall asleep on a king size gel infused memory foam FOLDÖY mattress. (And hey — it’s been done, allegedly!)
What you may not know is that IKEA actually does make it possible to spend the night — at one location in Älmhult, Sweden, at least!
Located in the heart of Älmhult, the IKEA Hotell was originally conceived as a solution to a problem. When Ingvar Kamprad opened the first IKEA store in the area in 1958, it became an instant sensation. Shoppers travelled from considerable distances to scoop up sleek, modern, and affordably-priced furniture and wares. Realizing that the store had become a shopping destination, and that consumers who had driven for hours to get there would readily avail of overnight accommodations, the company opened its own motel in 1964. Here guests could indulge in those signature Swedish meatballs after a long day of shopping or cool off in the motel pool. It became something of a social hub in the small locality.
Now, 55 years later, the original spirit of that motel still exists…but with plenty of modern upgrades. Welcome to the IKEA Hotell, a business hotel with a much larger capacity — and no shortage of the original motel’s charm.
Just like those IKEA model apartment floor plans, there’s a variety of options when it comes to guest rooms. The Grand Lit offers the most space, while the Grand Lit Standard will offer more vintage vibes in the older part of the hotel. The Family Room features several bunk beds to accommodate the kids, or even a group of friends who’d rather room together. And for those who just want a place to lay a head on a pillow, the Cabin Room provides four square metres of compact, organized space.
These rooms are designed for privacy, but the rest of the hotel is all about communal living. Multiple lounges provide space for watching movies, cozy reading nooks, and comfortable seating for long conversations with new friends.
Lovers of IKEA’s uniquely branded Swedish cuisine will love the breakfast buffet, served each morning (6:30–9 on weekdays, 7–10 on weekends). The DIY spirit that has become the brand’s signature trademark is also apparent throughout the hotel; for instance, there’s a stylish laundry room where guests can wash, dry, and iron as needed. Our favourite detail? The decoration cupboard in the lounge, filled with IKEA knickknacks. Guests are invited to peruse its contents and select items to help spruce up their private accommodations and make the space feel a little more personalized.
While Älmhult is small in population, there’s plenty to see and do in the surrounding area. It boasts a rich history of furniture production and glassmaking that pre-dates the opening of that first IKEA store; in fact, this pocket of the forested province of Småland is known as Glasriket, or the Kingdom of Glass, so named for a long tradition of handblown glassmaking that dates back to the mid-1700s. Design lovers will find plenty to sink their teeth into here, with multiple glassworks still in operation and adjacent museums that delve into the history of this unique art form. Also not to be missed is the Vandalorum, a contemporary art and design museum that showcases the works of local and international designers. The building itself is a sight worth checking out; designed by architect Renzo Piano, it was inspired by the massive drying barn that once stood on the land.
Cap off this museum tour with a visit to the museum in the area — the IKEA Museum, of course. The façade looks a great deal like one of the company’s massive shopping centres, but inside, there’s plenty of history to dig into, from IKEA’s very first shop to its ongoing global expansion. And yes, there are meatballs to be found in the cafeteria. (And do we need to say that there’s a gift shop? You know there’s a gift shop!)
For those who need a respite from shopping, there’s a whole smörgåsbord of adventures to be found in the wild. Canoeing, cycling, fishing, swimming, and hiking can all be done in this picturesque region.
Eager to check out this DIY hotel for yourself? Prices start at 495 SEK a night and reservations can be made here. As they say in Swedish: “Välkommen!”