Gothenburg's spectacular new hotel: Street style meets glamour at Draken

The historic Draken cinema is soon to be reborn in the form of a 115-metre-tall hotel, boasting two restaurants, a spa, and a truly breath-taking rooftop terrace. All this has been achieved while respecting the building's storied past. Join us for an exclusive sneak peek.

  • "Do you see? It's red up here. Both on the floor and the walls," says building engineer Olof Jörneman as we exit the lift to the top hotel rooms.

  • We've moved from a dark and enchanting reception area, through shades of blue, and now to red. The hues grow lighter and lighter as we ascend. It feels more uplifting, as if we're awakening.

  • "The rooms are designed to feel like a sunrise as you move upward through the hotel," explains Olof.

  • When Clarion Hotel® Draken opens its doors on 1st October 2023, every detail will have been thoughtfully considered, with great respect for preserving the building and with carefully considered design decisions.

  • The hotel, which houses the classic Draken cinema, drake being Swedish for dragon, a historic ballroom, and Folkets Hus, holds a special place in the hearts of true Gothenburg residents.

  • However, Olof is confident that the building at Järntorget will be well-received – and become a place where people gather once again to relax, laugh, and dance, and to enjoy fine dining and after-work drinks.

  • And, of course, get a good night's sleep.

  • "The Dragon is where street aesthetics meets glamour," says Olof.

  • And we can really feel the vibe.

New life in a formerly rough neighbourhood

Strawberry has been given a tour of the construction site. Olof assures us that they're actually slightly ahead of schedule – even though it's just weeks left until the hotel is set to fill its 474 guest rooms.

In addition to three suites, two restaurants, four bars, conference rooms, a spa, rooftop bar, and cinema, the hotel spans 34 floors and rises 115 metres above the ground, making Draken the city's tallest building. All in all, there are as many as 31,500 square metres to explore.

"Draken is being established in a neighbourhood that's been a bit rough, and the hotel helps make the area safer and livelier, even during evenings and nights. This is the first part of the urban development in the area," says the engineer.

We follow Olof through a myriad of doors, up lifts, and through hallways, always accompanied by an explanation for every detail. Each style of tiling, every small technical gadget. He greets everyone who is working and beams widely. You can see he's mentally noting messages and details continuously. He is totally present and highly engaged.

Strawberry is being guided by this 40-year-old man who has a partner, two plus two children, a villa in Hästevik in Gothenburg, a cat, and an inbox that would give the rest of us palpitations. Olof has been involved in numerous prestigious projects, including the Clarion Hotel® Karlatornet (a skyscraper with apartments, and the tallest building in the Nordics) and hotel renovations including Clarion Collection® Hotel Odin and Clarion Hotel® Stockholm. Just to name a few.

We started at the reception, but now we're working our way from the top down. "WOW!" exclaims our photographer Fredrik.

View of Gothenburg city from hotel Draken.

Atop Gothenburg

On the 33rd floor, we can enjoy stunning views of Gothenburg in all directions. The windows stretch from floor to ceiling, and even the bathrooms have panoramic windows. At the very top of Clarion Hotel® Draken, an innovative restaurant will feature two-person tables by the windows, followed by four-person tables, ensuring all guests have a view. After a delightful meal, simply head up one flight of stairs to the rooftop bar – complete with an open roof, 90 seats, and a DJ.

We make our way down, stopping by an exclusive conference room. It's bright and open, with the option for catering and a private bartender. This is the perfect space for booking your most important meetings. Next, we head to one of the hotel rooms. Olof explains that this is the first room they have completed, a room that can be shown and approved.

He enthusiastically talks us through the details:

"Everything from the bed linen to the interior design is of high quality, and all the rooms have a desk. It's also important that it's timeless. Famous figures from the cultural world will adorn the walls, although I'm not yet sure who they'll be. And this?" Olof points to a striking red chair in the corner, which truly pops against the otherwise muted and grey backdrop.

"This has the same red colour and style as the cinema seats. That's what I mean, concrete meets glamour all the way!"

And with that, it's only natural to continue downwards to the heart of the building: the Draken itself.

  • The dragon comes back to life

    Upon entering the listed cinema, you can feel the anticipation of the many people who have filled this room with its high ceiling over the years.

  • The original cinema seats hint at the long history of this hall – dating back to 1956, the year Elvis Presley made his first feature film. For decades, Draken was the centre for festivals, a venue for events, and a cinema.

  • "Look at the original curtains," says Olof, pointing to the drapery in the hall.

  • "They don't really make them like that anymore. Everything in this hall has been preserved."

  • In no time at all, it will once again host performances, comedy, jazz, and other concerts.

  • Restaurant Vågen

    Another room for which the public has high expectations is Vågen. For over 50 years, locals and visitors alike frequented the entertainment palace of Vågen.

  • "People used to dance here. There's an incredible amount of history in this room," says Olof, stretching out his arms.

  • When Vågen reopens to guests, it will be in the form of a restaurant. Here, breakfasts and lunches will be served, catering to families, business travellers, and couples opting for a "dinner and a movie" date night.

  • From Vågen, we move through what will become The Library. However, this will be no ordinary library.

  • This will be the hotel's hub, a place where guests can listen to analogue and digital tunes from music stored on the bookshelves. Here, one can work or simply relax and be inspired.

Dragon meat and dragon mountains

"Here, the walls will be filled with graffiti by local artists," says Olof as we move towards the lobby.

"We want the locals to be involved; it's extremely important that we're part of the urban environment. The culture and interaction should be preserved throughout, and that goes for everything that is produced locally."
As mentioned, we've gone in reverse, from sunrise down to the darker depths.

"Here, there will be copper plates and textures that look like dragon meat, and colours that almost resemble something bloody. You'll get the feeling of being in a cave. It'll be incredibly intense, contrasting with all the other materials," says Olof, pointing towards the reception.

This is the place where people will soon be dancing through the doors... checking in and being led to the cinema, spa, luxurious hotel rooms, inspiring meetings, entertainment and romantic dinners, and toasting with the whole of Gothenburg as a backdrop.

We find ourselves in the main entrance at Järntorget, ready to check out instead of in.

But on the 1st of October, we'll be there for the sunrise, as the story begins anew, and the dragon awakens.

You can already secure your room at Clarion Hotel® Draken.

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