“I'm really happy, really proud,” Pontus Mannestig, manager of the Långholmen Hostel, told The Local.
Situated near a beach on an island of the same name, Långholmen Hostel is housed in the former Kronohäktet, a prison built in the 1840s which saw its last inmate leave in 1975.
In 1989, the prison opened for business as a hostel, featuring rooms fashioned from former prison cells, and since then has proven a popular destination with backpackers, budget travelers, and anyone looking for a unique lodging experience while visiting the Swedish capital.
Långholmen was honoured by STF out of Sweden's 320 hostels for being a one which is “close to nature, but also centrally located”.
“The hostel lives out its fantasy-inducing and multifaceted history, while also offering everything one could ask for in terms of modern services and freshness,” STF said of Långholmen.
While Mannestig agreed that the hostel's unique location likely contributed to the award, he emphasized the importance of the facility's staff in ensuring that visitors enjoy their stay.
“It doesn't matter what sort of rooms you have if you don't have personnel who are friendly and people-oriented,” he said.
“I'm really proud of my staff, whose hard work every day is what really makes this hostel a success.”
In addition to honouring Långholmen, STF also recognized several other hostels in a number of categories.
The Edsåsdalen hostel in Jämtland in northwestern Sweden, which joined the STF family of hostels this year, was chosen as the newcomer of the year for its “exciting alpine feeling”.
And further to the north, the Stora Fjäderägg hostel in Västerbotten, located in a lighthouse keeper's quarters on the island of Stora Fjäderägg in the Bothnian Sea, was honoured for offering the best natural or cultural experience.
STF also singled out the Tåtorp hostel near the banks of the Göta Canal in Västergötland in western Sweden as the Green Hostel of the Year for choosing local suppliers during the hostel's construction, and for a breakfast buffet which features eggs that can be traced back to hens on local farms.
Two more hostels, Stigbergsliden in Gothenburg and Visby Rävhagen on the Baltic Island of Gotland, were also recognized for their improved performance, with both demonstrating a significant rise in guest nights over the past year.