The quasi-symmetrical Diplomat hotel stands proudly on Strandvägen, the Swedish, British and American flags standing to attention from the first floor balcony. The entrance is discreetly hidden at the bottom right-hand corner of the façade, just next door to an upmarket men's clothes store. The elegant entrance hall one comes into at the top of several carpeted steps is more worthy of the apartment block this used to be than of the world-class hotel it is today, not in terms of features but due to its small size. An old-fashioned elevator which glides up through the middle of the winding staircase is calling out to be ridden while the fireplace set-up with flowers, gilded mirror and pair of armchairs looks ready for a photo-shoot. To the left is the reception area where the politest of staff will check you in at one of two iMacs behind a light wood welcome desk adorned with a blossoming flower arrangement. Also greeting you is the chatter and clinking from the hotel's restaurant and bar (see 'Food and Drink') which is just behind the reception and which plunges you straight into the hotel's refined vibe. The only element which we found to be awry was the light pop music in the background which does not really become the surroundings.
Although we love atmospheric lobbies where guests can hang out at any time of the day and watch the comings and goings of guests and visitors, we are also big fans of alternative public spaces and the Diplomat has a couple of gems. The first of these is the library, accessible 24 hours a day and the ideal place for guests to come and unwind in a scholarly setting. Wood-panelled walls, parts of the Malmström's private art collection and of course a selection of books await flaneurs looking to escape the hubbub of the outside world. If you are more arty than literary then head to the lounge area, a mini gallery hosting temporary art and photography exhibitions where you can also relax by the electric fireplace.
And the artwork continues along the hotel's elegant corridors where more contemporary pieces by Swedish artists are displayed between the guestrooms doors. If you choose to take the staircase to your rooms (there are also elevators) then you will notice the pretty stained glass windows and the intricately carved gilded arched structures placed before them.
While the Diplomat does not offer a full-service spa, it does have a comprehensive fitness room as well as a space known at the retreat. The former is found in a brick-walled space and contains plenty of top quality machines (both cardio and muscular) although no natural light. A stretching room is also at the disposal of guests. The retreat, which comprises a sauna and jacuzzi, is fitted out with marble and teak and offers various drinks, fruit and towels to the users. There are also bathroom facilities including a huge walk-in shower.
As you might expect, great care and attention is taken with the hotel's appearance. We found it to be spotless and extremely well maintained throughout. The passage from check-in to the guestrooms is pretty simple although we did not see any room number directions to help with finding the rooms once on the right floor.