Grand Hotel
Preparations at the Grand Hotel ahead of the right-wing populist "European Freedom Awards" gala. Credit: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Luxury hotel regrets hosting Sweden Democrats’ gala

The CEO of Stockholm's Grand Hotel has said she regrets having booked an event for European far-right leaders which took place last Friday.

The “European Freedom Awards” event was hosted by the Sweden Democrat party and was partly financed by a Eurosceptic European Parliament group that counts both the Sweden Democrats and Britain's UKIP as members.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage was one of the speakers.

The Grand Hotel received an onslaught of negative reviews on its Facebook page after it was announced the hotel had accepted the booking. CEO Pia Djupmark told TT news agency that the hotel was unaware of the client’s identity when it received the booking request.

"It wasn’t the Sweden Democrats who booked it, it was in a different name,” Djupmark said. 

Djupmark added that the downtown luxury hotel had tried to cancel the booking, but that the client refused. She said that with hindsight, the hotel ought to have torn up the contract and dealt with the consequences.

“We understood that it would create concern among our guests and perhaps among staff and business partners. We don’t think the hosts (of this event) share the same set of values as those of the Grand Hotel,” Djupmark said.

The Sweden Democrats’ parliamentary group leader Mattias Karlsson called the hotel’s response “hypocritical,” demanding it take back its statement.

“Or else we’ll encourage our sympathisers not to support the Grand Hotel in any way in the future,” Karlsson told Aftonbladet.

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