The furnishings and interior design at Hotel Gästis doesn’t follow any trends. Instead this unique style has slowly been assembled and constructed over the last 30 years or so. Book by book, rug by rug, object by object…
“Oh, this is so cosy” is what our guests usually say.
When Elisabeth Hallin strolls through the hotel, she’s got her personal search light activated. The eye ruthlessly notices every single detail that isn’t quite right. A bed has been made, but the mangled pleat on the sheet isn’t perfectly vertical, a tie-back around a curtain is a tad too high up, a fingerprint on a wall.
Everything is corrected, quickly and efficiently.
“It’s wonderful that our guests feel like home, that’s exactly what we want to achieve! But at the same time we need hotel standard to be first class. Most people probably have slightly messy or hastily made beds back home”, she says with a smile.
Oriental carpets and toilet cistern pulls
Lasse Diding bought Hotel Gästis in 1987.
And from day one, Elisabeth Hallin has been his right hand when it comes to creating the atmosphere that is now the most prominent hallmark of the hotel.
Lasse is the one purchasing furniture, rugs, lights, books and curios. Not to mention weird & wonderful collections (such as the toilet cistern pull collection, the bottle top collection and the collection of apothecary jars) that are all on show in glazed display cabinets here and there in the various corridors.
Elisabeth and Lasse go everything together and decide where the various bits & pieces can be done justice. This is because even though they’ve taken nearly three decades to develop this hotel into what it is today, there’s always room for tiny improvements and additions.
And space is no object; Gästis is located in an old 18th century building, which consists of winding corridors, stairwells, unexpected nooks and crannies, tucked away corners for reading and chatting and hotel rooms that have had to be adapted to suit the characteristics of the building.
Don’t judge the book by its cover!
The result is the warm, personal and pleasant surroundings, with a touch of the olden days, that they both strived to achieve.
“Did you never have the idea of making this place light and airy?”
“Oh no, no, no!” Elisabeth laughs.
“But in the beginning we were a bit stingy with the paintings. There was one or two in each room, a reproduction or a poster from a museum, like is generally the case at hotels.”
“Then we thought of all books that were being donated to Gästis and many of them had such lovely covers. Even if the book itself was rubbish, the cover could be a work of art.”
Elisabeth started copying the covers and make striking collages. The next step was to blow them up to poster size. So far Elisabeth has framed thousands of pictures that hang decoratively at both Gästis and its sister hotel Havanna.
“Now I can even find that this area looks rather empty”, she says and points at a 40cm x 40cm “hole” on the wall.
“There’s always room for one more picture!”
As a guest you are immediately embraced by the cosy atmosphere at Gästis. The oriental carpets, the antique ceiling lights, the books, the posters, the oil paintings, the tiled stoves and the eclectic mix of things. All these put together make for a very special overall concept.
But there is actually a connective thought that pervades the hotel – a blue theme.
“The colour blue is a theme of ours”, Elisabeth reveals.
“It’s quite evident, if you know about it actually. The tiles of the bathrooms for instance, the splashes of blue in the carpets and the cobalt blue Lenin Spa, the bedspreads and little touches here and there.
“Because I’m blue”, she says and points at her blue skirt and blue top.
She also confesses that one (1) of the collections at the hotel is actually hers, namely the hippos on display in the relaxation lounge of the Lenin Spa.
“I started collecting hippopotami when I was around 20 years old and felt really rather cumbersome. Now they have a new home here!”
Gästis visitors’ books – the best medicine ever!
The reward for all this care & attention, love and time that have been spent on Hotel Gästis interior design is the comments from the guests.
The most common one is that they feel it’s so homely and cosy, like a home away from home.
The one that’s almost as common is the guests praising the staff, because it is so easy-going and a real pleasure to deal with.
The third comment is that the hotel hasn’t merely been a hotel visit, but an experience.
And Elisabeth sums it up in:
“All this response, it’s fabulous. If you ever feel downhearted or a bit fed up at work, you should just take a moment to read our visitors’ books – that always does the trick!”