It created a sensation, not to say a scandal, in Sweden when the then just 29-year old restaurant entrepreneur Alessandro “Sandro” Catenacci bought the Nobis restaurant empire in 1987. At that time it consisted of three restaurants — Operakällaren (The Opera Cellar), with the Café Opera nightclub and other restaurant, bar and conference facilities, Stallmästaregården and Riche (the latter subsequently sold). These restaurants had become the most famous in Sweden in the 50s and 60s under the leadership of legendary master chef and restaurateur Tore Wretman, frequently referred to as the father of Swedish gastronomy. This empire was considered a crown jewel in Sweden’s culinary and entertaining culture. Many were outraged and shocked that this proud heritage was being taken over by such a young, unknown and unproven leader.
In 2000, a modest expansion started when the 49-room hotel was opened in Stallmästaregården, after a process of many years of negotiations with authorities. Finally, the Nobis Hospitality Group was entrusted with the honor of building in this precious historic site, a cultural treasure in Sweden. The group grew further when Hotel J was purchased in 2004, and later expanded in 2011.
In 2009, this expansion continued when Hotel Skeppsholmen was opened in historic premises on Skeppsholmen Island. 2010 was a landmark year for the Nobis Hospitality Group when the flagship 201-room contemporary luxury hotel Nobis Hotel Stockholm was inaugurated in Norrmalmstorg Square in central Stockholm, one of the Royal Capital’s most prestigious addresses, rich with history and tradition.
Since 2013, when Miss Clara Hotel in Sveavägen was added to the Nobis Hospitality Group, expansion has continued at a faster pace. In summer 2017, we will open our first hotel outside of Sweden, Nobis Hotel Copenhagen, in a historic landmark building in the Royal Danish Capital. Another three hotels are under development, one in Stockholm and two in Palma Mallorca.
“This expansion is not a plan that we’ve had but only something that has come about naturally through the years,” says Alessandro Catenacci. “In fact I never had a long-term strategy. I don’t believe in it. It has become something of a specialty for us to open hotels in historic landmark buildings and sites, but this too, is only what has come naturally as we are presented with new prospects as a consequence of our portfolio and what we have done previously.”
“My focus is always on today and tomorrow, doing the very best we can in every detail and taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves organically. We have a very humble philosophy that I think comes from our roots in the restaurant business. It’s all about maintaining the same high quality in thousands of details day after day, year after year, and, of course, if possible, trying to improve even further. I take a lot of my references from the world of sports. Many players can have a great game now and then but maintaining a consistent high level game after game after game, and also in practice — that’s what really separates the professional from the amateur.”