Stockholm In his illuminating book on the Nordic countries, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Michael Booth quotes the Swedish ethnologist Ake Daun on his compatriots’ desire to “avoid people”. Greta Garbo’s wanting to be alone, it turns out, “was no shtick. She meant it.” Indeed, when Garbo stayed at Stockholm’s Grand Hotel she was, according to its in-house historian, so reluctant to see anyone that she would hide in the bathroom when room service delivered meals to her suite.
It remains to be seen, then, whether the hotel will find a market for the communal dining table, or matbordet, that it is introducing at Matsalen, its Michelin two-star restaurant. Built around a cooking station, where the celebrated (and loquacious) Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren will play host as he cooks, its aim is “to promote educationally rich conversation between guests”. Whenever possible, “an additional expert such as a producer, ideologue or scientific specialist” will join a table of 10 guests. To encourage diners to talk to people they don’t know, bookings are restricted to parties of no more than four. grandhotel.se
London The Hyatt Regency’s Churchill hotel on Portman Square has unveiled its latest collaboration with the Saatchi Gallery. The Saatchi Suite (from £960 a night) houses collages by Hormazd Narielwalla, paintings by Tully Satre and is furnished by the modish Scandinavian design company, Republic of Fritz Hansen, with a four-piece furniture collection by Danish designer Poul Kjaerholm inspired by Piet Mondrian’s 1935 painting “Composition C (No III)”. The hotel’s lobby, reception area and restaurant will play host to a selling exhibition of work by emerging artists Gabriella Boyd, Tahnee Lonsdale and Timothy Hon Hung Lee, represented by Saatchi’s online commercial gallery, Saatchi Art. london.churchill.hyatt.com
Vienna The Sigmund Freud Museum is marking the 75th anniversary of his death with a temporary exhibition dedicated not to his writing and research, but his travels. As the curators Daniela Finzi and Simone Faxa point out: “His holidays and childhood travels influenced the formation of his theories and constitute an important factor in the development of psychoanalysis.” Family vacations tended to be spent in the Alps, but Freud also made many trips to ancient sites in Greece and Italy, as well as travelling to England, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia and, in 1909, the US. “Freud’s Travels” runs until October 5, freud-museum.at
Venice The soon-to-open 100 sq m of private outdoor space that comes with the two-bedroom San Giorgio Terrace Suite at the Luna Hotel Baglioni may not quite rival the expansive terrace (with plunge pool) of the Redentore Terrazza Suite at the Gritti Palace, but, in terms of view it should run a close second: a sublime outlook across the San Marco Basin to San Giorgio Maggiore and beyond. From €4,500 a night. baglionihotels.com
Indonesia In an effort to alert the world that there is more for tourists than Balinese resorts, orang-utan safaris and the temple at Borobudur, Indonesia’s tourism ministry has announced plans to develop 561 “tourism villages”. These are not as it sounds, contrived communities of, or for, tourists. Rather, the initiative, which spans 19 provinces, will offer grants to villages to help them develop cultural attractions. In Yogyakarta on Java, for instance, there will be a focus on gamelan music and the local batik industry. Too bad, then, that Indonesian airline Garuda has postponed this year’s launch of the first direct flight from London to Jakarta from May until September. tourism-indonesia.co.uk