Grand Hotel (Stockholm; tel. 08/679-35-00; www.grandhotel.se): Opposite the Royal Palace, this is the most prestigious hotel in Sweden; many well-known people have stayed here, including Nobel Prize winners. Set on the waterfront, it dates from 1874 but is continuously renovated to keep it in state-of-the-art condition. The rooms have been luxuriously redecorated, and the bathrooms are made of Italian marble with under-floor heating. In 2006, the Grand was vastly improved and enlarged with 72 additional bedrooms and a luxurious new penthouse.
Nordic Hotel (Stockholm; tel. 800/337-4685 or 08/505-630-00; www.nordichotel.se): Unique for the Swedish capital, this hotel is as modern and dramatic as the 21st century itself. Turning to the cold Arctic waters of the north and the northern lights for its architectural inspiration, the hotel creates an "only in Sweden" aura that definitely makes you feel like you're in the far north of Europe.
Victory Hotel (Stockholm; tel. 08/506-400-00; www.victory-hotel.se): In the Old Town, this small but stylish hotel ranks among the top in Sweden. Originally built in 1642, the hotel is famous for treasure once buried here (part of which can be seen at the Stockholm City Museum). The well-furnished bedrooms, with modern beds, typically have exposed beams and pine floors. On a small rooftop terrace, tables are arranged around a fountain.
Radisson SAS Scandinavia Hotel (Gothenburg; tel. 800/333-3333 in the U.S., or 031/758-50-00; www.radissonsas.com): Since its opening in 1950, Gothenburg's premier hotel has hosted everybody who's anybody, including the Beatles. Located on Gothenburg's attractive main boulevard, near the cultural center, it's a cosmopolitan hotel with a fresh and contemporary ambience. The best double rooms are quite spacious and decorated in a semimodern, sleek style; about a quarter of the guest rooms are equipped with balconies.
Elite Plaza (Gothenburg; tel. 031/720-40-00; www.elite.se): This is not only the newest but also one of the very best hotels to open in Gothenburg in recent years. A 19th-century insurance company was gutted and recycled into a superior first-class hotel with many of its original architectural features intact. The building got a new lease on life, and visitors to Gothenburg today have a place to stay that's as good as some of the most superior lodgings in Stockholm.
Elite Hotel Marina Plaza (Helsingborg; tel. 042/19-21-00; www.marinaplaza.elite.se): This innovative hotel faces out from the port city of Helsingborg over the Öresund and toward the eastern coast of Denmark, across from "Hamlet's Castle." A nautical decor prevails, and large glass windows are typical of the sleek, contemporary architecture of Sweden. With its rock gardens, abundant flowers, and fountains, it is a lovely place to spend the night in grand comfort and style.
Stadshotell (Kalmar; tel. 0480/49-69-00; www.profilhotels.se): With very reasonably priced rooms (at times less than 900SEK/$180/£90 a night for a double), this is an exceptional choice for lodgings in this historic port city in southeastern Sweden. A landmark hotel -- constructed in 1906 but completely modernized in 1999 -- it still retains its look of romanticized architecture, with gables and a bell tower. Many Art Nouveau embellishments remain, including cut-glass chandeliers and an Edwardian-style library. Its bedrooms are the largest and most comfortable in town.
Halltorps Gästgiveri (Borgholm; tel. 0485/850-00; www.halltorpsgastgiveri.se): It has been a restaurant longer than it has been a hotel, but this inn on the Baltic Island of Öland still dates from 1850. Bedrooms are light and airy and frequently renovated, ensuring a good night's sleep in comfort and style. Its restaurant, Bakfickan, or "hip pocket" in English, is one of Öland's best.
Ronnums Herrgård (Vargön; tel. 0521/26-00-00): One of the most idyllic stopovers along the Göta Canal is in Vargön, which a poet once labeled "Little Paris." In this charming setting, you can enjoy life in a restored 18th-century manor house with yellow clapboards and a red roof, nestled amid its own parklike grounds. Even better, this taste of how life was lived in old Sweden comes at a very reasonable price.
Elite Stadshotellet Karlstad (Karlstad; tel. 054/29-30-00; www.elite.se): In the heart of the folkloric province of Värmland, this hotel, with its neo-baroque facade, is one of the most impressive of the 19th-century hotels remaining in Sweden. If you like old-fashioned style but modern comfort, this is for you. From its British-inspired pub to the gourmet restaurant, it's a winner.
The Ice Hotel (Jukkasjärvi; tel. 0980/668-00; www.icehotel.com): Surely there is no hotel in all of Europe as curious as this one deep in the heart of Swedish Lapland. Every winter, the hotel is carved out of the ice at a point 200km (124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. Come spring, the igloo-shaped hotel literally melts away. In its glacial setting, guests can check in for an icy night -- hopefully with a good bed partner. If you've ever dreamed of living like an Eskimo, here is your chance.
Scandic Hotel Kramer (Malmö; tel. 040/693-54-00; www.scandic-hotels.com/kramer): A wholesale redesign has given this old favorite a new lease on life for its postmillennium reincarnation. Increasingly, the Kramer is becoming the place to stay in Malmö for many discerning visitors, although the hotel competition is rough here.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.