Petter Anker Stordalen is a Norwegian hotel owner, investor, property developer, environmentalist and self-made businessman. He started out selling strawberries for his merchant father as a child, and is now CEO and owner of the investment holding company, Strawberry and owner of one of Northern Europe’s largest hotel chains, Nordic Choice Hotels. He recently opened At Six, a boutique hotel in Stockholm.
What was the best gift you’ve ever received, and who was it from?
The best gift I have ever received was a piece of advice that my father gave me when I was twelve. I was working as a strawberry salesman on the square of a small town in Norway, and would complain about how the other sellers had bigger stands, larger, redder, and sweeter berries than I. My father’s immediate response was: “Sell the strawberries you have, Petter, because they are the only ones you can sell." I thought that was absolutely genius. Later, my whole career has been based on the concept of focusing on the things you have, not what others control.
What are you most proud of?
My children and my world-saving wife, Gunhild. Through her EAT initiative she is taking huge leaps trying to get the world to eat in a way that is healthier for our bodies and the planet.
When traveling, what do you never leave home without?
A pair of running shoes. I love running and I have to do it every day. Even when passing through the Drake Passage off Cape Horn in a ship. I went on a research expedition to Antarctica, and everyone told me that hitting the treadmill in full storm and 40 feet waves would be nearly impossible. Turns out they were absolutely right, and after being thoroughly bruised from falling off, I had to give up.
Describe the perfect weekend in Stockholm.
The perfect weekend in Stockholm starts with checking into At Six before moving to Blanche & Hierta, the ground floor wine bar, for a high quality, perfectly tempered glass of French white wine. Then I’ll have dinner at nearby Nordic-Japanese fusion restaurant TAK, ran by star chef Frida Ronge. The rooftop restaurant has the best view in Stockholm, overlooking the Royal Palace, and is the perfect place to get an overview of the city before retiring for the evening.
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After a good night’s sleep, a run in Djurgården is the absolute best way to start the day. An island located by the sea, Djurgården is home to the Vasa Ship Museum, entertainment area Gröna Lund and Skansen, so a run here allows you to see many of Stockholm’s attractions in a short time. After this refreshing start, I will probably be hungry for food and company. No place is better to satisfy those needs than the Tipsy Tea brunch at At Six. The gin infused tea brunch is the hottest thing happening in Stockholm right now. After this, I would take a look at Moderna Museet, Stockholm’s highly interesting and well-stocked contemporary art museum. For dinner, I would go to the hugely popular Kitchen & Table at Clarion Hotel Amaranten on Kungsholmen, which is always buzzing with people. I would finish the evening with the best drinks in Stockholm at the adjoining Tap Room.
After a healthy, sustainable and hearty breakfast at the hotel, I would spend Sunday strolling through the beautiful medieval Old Town and past the Royal Palace of Stockholm. If there is time, bringing a bottle of wine and some food, and taking a boat out into the beautiful Stockholm shoreside for a picnic is the perfect ending to a great Stockholm weekend.
Alive, dead or fictional – who is your favorite local?
I admire people who work hard and excel at something they love. Five time Wimbledon Champion and six time French Open winner, Björn Borg is one of the greatest tennis champions in history, and you have got to respect that.
What is your favorite neighborhood (district, street or area)? And why?
Brunkeberg Square, where At Six, HOBO and TAK are located, is the hottest new area in Stockholm. The most fashionable place for socialites in the 1800s, Brunkeberg Square became a place for large offices and business life in the 20th century, and many people forgot about it. Now, in 2017 this area is being resurrected, and life is already blooming in the hottest, most exciting social scene in Stockholm in the time to come.
Tell us about your favorite restaurant, café or bar.
TAK, a cutting edge Nordic-Japanese restaurant over 1000 square meters. Above the city and below the sky, this place has a view over the Royal Palace and the rooftops of Stockholm city, its own park and the tastiest, most unique food cooked by star chef Frida Ronge.