Opening and development
How was the hotel founded and what has happened on the way?
The hotel consists of seven properties which were erected in 1769 as the city's Southern Custom Station. The station was facilitated with a custom chamber and private property for a customs officer named Bruzin. Gränna's city boundary was by the creek in the Southern Park just outside the hotel. Passing merchants who wanted to sell their goods at Gränna square first had to pay the customs fee to Bruzin to gain access to the village's commerce. Today, the customs chamber functions as the hotel's dining room.
In 1857, almost a century after the houses were built, Amalia, the mother of the famous red and white candy cane and reason of our hotel's name moved into the property. We will tell you more about her life story further down the page.
Another half a century later in 2001, Marianne and Bengt acquires the property. With 40 years of experience of the hotel industry where they have founded, developed and sold businesses, they realized the property's lodging potential. They found the historical significance, not just the property itself, but also the people that lived in the houses were fascinating and wanted to share it. The plan became a smaller intimate hotel with main focus on B&B.
The seven houses were all protected and listed as cultural heritage as they were of special architectural and historic interest. Only three out of seven were habitable and also in relatively poor condition. Other houses served as wood sheds and storerooms. The couple therefore devoted almost two years, in close cooperation with the County Museum, to carefully restore the houses to their former glory. Hotel Amalias House had adopted its first shape and with its six double rooms it received its first guests in August 2003.
In 2011, the couple's daughter Caroline and her husband Per took over the business and together they started a process of developing the hotel. Until then it had been a hotel where occupancy and visitor volumes were strongly linked and dependent on the tourist season in Gränna. The goal was to become a year-round hotel that was independent of the summer months and where guests came to Gränna to primarily visit Hotel Amalias Hus as the main destination.
To succeed, the couple identified the parts of the hotel's offer that required development: to significantly increase the quality of rooms in terms of convenience and its features, to develop the kitchen and dining room and to become a player on the regional and national conference market arena.
Hotel Amalias Hus is today a four-star boutique hotel with 20 rooms and suites. It has been awarded several titles by prestigious international tourism organisations and is ranked as one of the top 50 hotels in Sweden by the well-known culinary White Guide. In the beginning of 2019 the hotel has been awarded the title for Historic Luxury Boutique Hotel of Sweden by International Luxury Travel Guide and was 2018 ranked as one of the top five boutique hotels in Sweden on Tripadvisor.
Caroline and Per's goal has been and continues to be to create a hotel that they themselves would like to stay at and return to and to be the natural meeting place both for leisure and in business occasions.
Who was Amalia Eriksson?
About the woman who named our hotel.
Amalia, the daughter of farrier Jonas Lundström and his wife Catherine, was born in Jönköping on November 18, 1824. When Amalia was only 10 years old, she lost both her parents and her five siblings as a result of a cholera epidemic. Being the only survivor and a young girl all alone she shortly thereafter started working as a maid for a sister couple named Röding. Her journey to becoming a very successful woman began. A road that would later prove to be long and difficult.
In 1855, Amalia now 31 years old, moves into Brahegatan 2 (today Hotel Amalias Hus) in Gränna. The Röding sisters have previously had the property as a summer residence, but have decided to move to Gränna permanantly and Amalia as their maid accompanies them their new home.
Shortly after the move to Gränna, Amalia meets her future husband, tailor Anders Eriksson and they fall in love with each other. Anders often writes love letters to Amalia when he is away in his work and after two years they marry. Amalia soon becomes pregnant and the couple is expecting twins.
It is said that this time is one of the few where Amalia was truly happy. Her happiness, however, will once again prove to be short. At birth, one baby is stillborn but they do get a daughter whom they name Ida. Only four days after the birth Anders also dies of sickness and Amalia, alone with her newborn daughter, is now without support and can no longer continue her work as a maid. Amalia has a great interest in baking both bread and confectionery, and despite all tragedy it still seems that an idea of how she and her newborn daughter is going survive slowly begins to form in her mind.
Amalia applies to the Magistrate in Grenna to start her own business, something for a woman is very unusual for this time. However, due to her social circumstances on January 10, 1859 she gets her permit from the Magistrate to start up a bakery shop.
Amalia moves into what is today the hotel's main building and in rent she pays 12 Swedish krona per year to the Röding sisters. She starts her production of bread and confectionery and the first candy cane or "Polkagris" sees the light of day in 1859 in what today is the hotel's restaurant kitchen.
Amalia Eriksson never remarries and remains a successful entrepreneur throughout her life. She dies on January 25th, 1923. She is then 99 years old and one of Gränna's most wealthy and influential women. Amalia's candy canes are today seen all over the world. During Christmas times in our Christmas trees, in Disney's Mickey Mouse and chipmunk films. It is today an industry that has put Gränna on the world map. Each year, more than 10 million traditional red and white candy canes are baked by hand by the village's 15 candy bakeries. The bakers never rest, they work in three-part shifts, 24hrs a day, all year round. Other forms of candy canes such as puffs and lollipops are created mechanically and almost most of it goes on international exports all over the world where the US is the largest importer.
Imagine if Amalia knew that her confectionaries would become world famous. That it would benefit Gränna's tourism industry with 1 million visitors each year who come to see and taste her traditional food craft and what has become one of Sweden's foremost souvenirs.
Amalia's daughter Ida continued to bake candy canes until 1945. She is buried next to her mother at Gränna Cemetery.