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Stockholm hotel offers free haven for creative souls

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Stockholm hotel offers free haven for creative souls
09:30 CEST+02:00
Anyone planning a trip to the Swedish capital might be a bit aghast at cost of a place to lay their head at night, but Creators Inn by Elvine - the world's first hotel-in-hotel - might just sport the most shocking price tag of all.

What's so overwhelming is that it is free. That's right: free! As in no charge, complimentary, gratis. Creators Inn, in partnership with the Scandic Malmen Hotel, will offer visiting creatives free short-term accommodation in Stockholm this summer between August 1st and September 13th.

"People simply cannot understand that this is free," says Jesper Larsson, CEO of Next Century Modern, the design firm behind the initiative.

The Creators Inn concept was initially born in Gothenburg when Larsson came up with the idea of offering visiting creatives a place to stay free of charge as part of a marketing campaign for Elvine, a Swedish streetwear label. The hotel-in-hotel concept at Scandic Malmen is the latest incarnation of Creators Inn.

The concept is similar to the shop-in-shop concept in the retail business. One of the rooms at the Scandic Malmen hotel will be redesigned and transformed into a special space optimised for visiting creators and available free of charge.

The initiative is an exercise in creative branding, which Larsson believes represents the future of marketing. This simple, yet visionary setup allows Elvine to establish itself as an innovative fashion brand while fostering creative collaborations and good will.

Elvine, which bills itself as "sophisticated clothes for unsophisticated behavior," was founded in 2001 by Daniel Mänd, a graffiti artist on the streets of Gothenburg. He named the brand after his grandmother Elvine, an Estonian seamstress who escaped to Sweden during WWII. The idea of promoting hospitality also related well to one of the brand mottos: "Elvine is your friend."

Of this crossover, Larsson explains, "It's a great branding move: Elvine connects to its history in creative graffiti culture, its target group, and also gives back to both the creators and the city as a whole. We call it 'Creative Social Responsibility'."

Creators Inn works first and foremost with local independent organisers, offering their guests a place to stay, but anyone with a creative purpose is welcome - though priority is given to foreign visitors.

"By offering visiting creators free accommodation, we hope to remind people of a lovely little thing called hospitality," says Larsson.

The first Creators Inn by Elvine is a "capsule hotel" in Gothenburg, in collaboration with LAT, a creative collective located at Lindholmen. Besides a single room for either an individual or a couple, guests have access to a shared bathroom and shower, a common work space, kitchen, dining area, a music studio and a workshop in the basement. Visitors are also offered clean sheets, a bathrobe, slippers, free wifi and consumables.

Those who have stayed at Creators Inn in Gothenburg have been pleasantly surprised. American writer and filmmaker Kevin Doyle stayed at Creators Inn when he was there on a film shoot. At the suggestion of one of the Swedish bands he works with, he emailed Larsson "without actually believing" the claim. To his great surprise, Doyle received an immediate response back and was even picked up personally at Central Station and escorted back to LAT.

He said that in addition to the high quality of accommodation, what was most important about the experience was the connection with other creative individuals at LAT and the artistic environment. Of the other residents, Doyle said “they appreciated me and supported me without any requirements or stipulations.”

The Creators Inn deal is hard to beat. Their website even guarantees guests the best rate in town: "Feel confident knowing that you will always get the best available rate at Creators Inn by Elvine. If you find a rate lower than zero, simply submit a Best Rate Guarantee Claim by emailing us and we will honor that lower rate."

The Creators Inn by Elvine at the Scandic Malmen hotel in Stockholm will be open between August 1st and September 13th. People who are interested in free accommodation in Stockholm during this period are welcome to register to stay right away. Foreign guests and creators from Gothenburg are prioritised.

Charlotte West is a freelance writer and blogger who is Curious by Design. Like the Creators Inn, she enjoys giving stuff away.

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