Akademihotellet has during the 20th century had rich prehistory before it became a hotel. When the hotel building was built in 1930, it was a milestone in Uppsala University’s history. The house was built by the Uppsala Student Union and came to accommodate the city’s first student dormitories. As only male students were welcome as tenants, the house was quickly nicknamed “Gubbhyllan”, meaning “old man´s loft.” The location of the student housing was strategic, in the middle of Uppsala’s cultural-historical center near the University House, the Cathedral, Uppsala Castle and the library Carolina Rediviva.
Many students have over the years lived at Gubbhyllan, occasionally to this day the hotel receives visits from former students who stay at the hotel to reclaim memories from their student years. In this way, history is always present at the Akademihotellet.
– For us who work here, it is inspiring to meet guests who possess so much knowledge and can tell us about older times. It contributes to the homely atmosphere that we have in the hotel, says the Hotel Manager Helena Hammarberg of Akademihotellet.
In the 1960s, SIDA (Swedish Development Cooperation Agency) established training of their staff going abroad in the house. Then, today’s five conference rooms were set up as training venues for SIDA’s aid staff. Even the prestigious neighboring house Clason house has since that time been used as a conference and teaching hall. The international element that was established through the SIDA training has in no small extent lived on to today thanks to visits from visiting researchers and international conference guests. After SIDA’s activities ceased in 1996, Uppsala University took over. Now under the name Internationalla Kursgården (International Training Center).
When Internationella Kursgården got more and more focus on hotel and conference, the name was changed to Akademihotellet in 2002.
– It was a unique project to establish a new hotel in collaboration with the university. For example, we had contact with a hotel in Edinburgh for inspiration. We wanted to create a hotel that attracts visitors who enjoy the cultural Uppsala, which appreciates our fantastic location and gladly visit a charming hotel. Here, we are close to everything that you as a tourist in Uppsala want to see. Everything from the Cathedral to museums to the Botanical Garden, the University House, and Uppsala Castle. At the same time, we are close to many university institutions, says Staffan Ström, former CEO of Akademihotellet.
You should feel at home here at Akademihotellet
A crucial part of Akademihotellet is the cozy and family-like atmosphere.
– I’ve always thought that you should almost feel at home here. We also notice the positive response we get from guests that they agree, that they appreciate our openness and the small hotel charm, says Staffan.
Part of the openness of the hotel has been the tradition of the Kulturnatten (Culture Night is a tradition where all Uppsala cultural venues open up for one day). For 15 years, the hotel has opened all conference rooms for artists and artisans on a September evening in the autumn.
– It is a precious tradition where we welcome visitors and artisans. Some show off their art and others sell their craft. For us, it fits well in that we operate in the middle of Uppsala’s cultural-historical center. Everything from being located a stone’s throw away from where Karin Boye lived, or for example a hill up from Ingemar Bergman’s cinema. Not to mention that Queen Christina in the 17th century acted from Uppsala Castle just a few hundred meters away, Helena Hammarberg says.
The next change for the hotel came in 2009 when it was decided that the hotel would be a unit independent from the university.
During the years from 2002 until today, the hotel has been renovated in stages. The last year we have started work to update all hotel rooms.
– We have great freedom as a small and independent hotel. Then we also have an advantage with a long-term owner in Uppsala Akademiförvaltning (which is part of Uppsala University). Now we have a clear plan for the future, where we will highlight more of Uppsala’s history in our hotel rooms. Without telling too much, we can promise that you will learn more about Uppsala and the city’s historical profiles through a visit with us, says Helena Hammarberg.
An essential part of the hotel’s activities has always been conferences, courses, and meetings. Today, Akademihotellet has five conference rooms, of which the largest is located in the Clason House. A house built in 1762 as a post office for Uppsala city. At that time, Carl von Linnaeus and other historical Uppsala profiles came to submit their post there.
– With its unique view of the castle and the Carolinabacken, you can confer in the middle of historical surroundings. After we have updated the technology in all our conference rooms, we now have better conditions for receiving everything from small to medium-sized conference party. In the Clasonsalen we can have 30 in school seating or 50 people in theatre seating, says Helena Hammarberg, Hotel Manager at Akademihotellet.
Today, Akademihotellet has 41 hotel rooms, two apartments, and five conference rooms. In the middle of Uppsala’s cultural-historical center on Övre Slottsgatan, the hotel welcomes guests from all over the world.