The history of First Hotel Reisen
First Hotel Reisen is located on Skeppsbron in Stockholm’s old town, offering breathtaking views of Saltsjön. The hotel is a time capsule - seven different buildings originating from the 17th century to the early 20th century have been combined into one. They included a warehouse, private residence, brothel and inn. You can see the traces of this in the thick brick walls, slanting floors and broad floorboards.
In the 1750s, there were eleven so-called coffee houses in Stockholm that were licensed to serve coffee. Three of them were run by the enterprising Dutchman Fredrik Reiss, and the name Reisen is thought to originate from this coffee house. Together with his wife Catharina, Fredrik ran several different coffee houses in the old town, including in the building that is now home to First Hotel Reisen.
Reiss’ coffee house was a very popular meeting place for sea captains, merchants and sailors. It is even mentioned in one of Carl Michael Bellman’s texts from the 18th century. Coffee houses were often also licensed to serve beer and wine.
Mr and Mrs Reiss had one daughter, Anna Helena, who began to let rooms to travellers in the early 19th century. The building was at that time owned by the Victuals Traders’ Society, the association for grocers of the time.
The vaults in the basement that now house the hotel’s spa was built as early as the 1690s, and they are part of the old city wall. Those who worked on its construction by carrying bricks were often women. One of these women left her footprint (around a size 37) in a stone in the wall of one of the vaults, which is now on public display.
In 1916, SARA (or Sveriges Allmänna Restaurang Aktiebolag) was founded, and in 1919 it took over operation of the hotel and also bought the building itself some years later. For a brief period during the early 1990s, following the merger of SARA and Reso AB, Hotel Reisen was a Reso hotel, but in 1993 it was bought together with five other SARA hotels by the newly formed First Hotels.