Jacy’z Hotel & Resort is a shiny new destination in Gothenburg
After spending a few days there, it feels more like having been on a tall, luxurious cruise ship than in a typical, big-box hotel. The underlying concept is to provide guests with so many options and venues, that there won’t be any reason to leave the hotel. Especially in January. This is also why they have the all-encompassing word “resort” attached to the name.
The spectacular spa Pachanga is arguably the main attraction at Jacy’z. And because it’s apparently become so immensely popular among locals as well as out-of-town folk, I was somewhat taken aback by having to share the experience with what was at least a hundred other guests.
I thought it was like being at a busy beach club, but in the sky – perfect for a few hours of well-deserved winter escapism where lounging, pool wading and cocktail sipping was omnipresent. Keep in mind that unless you’ve bought a resort package in advance, you will need to book and pay for a time-slot to enjoy the full Pachanga experience.
Gogogaga is the cozy, top-level bar and restaurant, just below the aforementioned spa.This is where you should eat dinner. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ground-floor restaurant called Archie’s. On contraire. But since you’ll likely be taking in the hotel’s superb breakfast at Archie’s, Gogogaga is a great alternative for supper – providing you intend to dine in-house. Oh, and the view from Gogogaga is breathtaking.
During my visit, Jayc’z heartbeat was pounding away rhythmically down in the expansive lobby lounge.This is where you can enjoy a drink, listen to great live music, play pool, table tennis or, just chill by a fireplace. There were plenty of digital nomads like myself sitting in the lobby’s many voluptuous sofas and armchairs, typing, coding, designing and editing on gleaming laptops, wirelessly connected to the hotel’s exemplary speedy Internet.
Just above the lobby is a fully equipped gym where an on-site personal trainer can help guide you towards that distant “Summer Beach Body 2023″.
Much of Jacy’z aesthetic is inspired by 1930s Art Deco panache. It’s a dreamy tribute that works perfectly. While the hotel’s many cozy lounge areas with warm, earthy hues and cushy comfort might not be in everyones taste, the living room vibe is undeniably welcoming, which in turn encourages indulgence like few other hotels I’ve guested that weren’t in Las Vegas, Monaco or Macau. The plush decor reminded me of scenes from the Oscar-winning film Moulin Rouge (2001) which so brilliantly depicted the famous burlesque venue in Paris. Seductive, tastefully decadent and difficult to depart from once you’ve allowed yourself to get sucked in.
Speaking of seduction, a few more thoughts about Jacy’z beach club, Pachanga. After an hour there, I felt like I’d been swirling around in this wondrous cocktail with ingredients from Scorsese’s Casino, a Roman bathhouse and a dash of the legendary hedonistic London club Stringfellows.
Guests at Pachanga are uniformly clad in mustard yellow, teddy bathrobes and there was plenty of shameless cuddling and caressing taking place on the seemingly endless rows of chaise lounge chairs and around the fireplace’s velvety, half-moon shaped sofas. Yes, love is certainly in the air at Pachanga. Though hopefully not in any of the spa’s two pools.
Growing Pains or Fast Lane Syndrome?
One would like to think that after so many years, the well-documented success of Jacy’z’s mothership, ESS Group, would have brought a wealth of experience to help the company avoid much of the typical growing pains that come with opening up a new destination.
Interestingly, this does not seem to be the case even after two months since their grand opening in November 2022. The hotel’s elevator and keycard system failed us miserably 7 or 8 times during our four-night stay – forcing us to return to the always busy reception counter to have new keycards registered. Obviously, this is not guest-time well spent.
Our room, 1626, was a small double room which I was told represents about half of the hotel’s total room inventory, measured a mere 14.5sqm/156sqft. To put it bluntly, it was claustrophobically tiny. They could also call these rooms Houdini Class. Fact is, our room was so small, that passing between the foot-end of our bed and the wall made it almost impossible to not knock the room’s flatscreen tv completely off its wall-mount. I’m relatively slim and nimble, but what if I wasn’t? And what if I was clinically claustrophobic?
What was the architect thinking and how did the owners allow such small guest rooms? Charging a premium for a cell-like space with a view of a busy highway and a towering office building is just plain wrong, no matter how you slice it. Hello! It’s Gothenburg, not Manhattan.
Then again, the minuscule rooms do jell quite well with how the hotel has chosen to name the building’s various areas. Just like at Folsom State Prison (made famous by the Johnny Cash song Folsom Prison Blues), Jacy’z has a Block A, Block B, Block C and a Block D. A depressing and uncreative naming scheme, to say the least.
On a considerably brighter note, the hotel provides a world-class breakfast buffet on par with some of the best I’ve had the privilege of enjoying on four continents. Dry bagels and the missing smoked salmon aside, I was absolutely delighted to see many classic favorites done right and a few tasty surprises displayed on the sprawling buffet spread. Don’t miss the delicious cupcakes and chewy jellybeans on the way out.
My overall impression of the team working at Jacy’z is mixed. Most of those I interacted with were very friendly if not always fully capable of adhering to requests or remedying concerns. As an example, dinner at Archie’s was promptly served, nicely presented and tasted great. But dessert took a whopping 70 minutes to arrive, which is confounding. I stay at roughly 35 different hotels every year. That was by far the longest wait between courses I can remember ever having. A one-off? I wonder.
The checkin process is sluggish at best. While the minimalistic, gilded elevators are high-tech and shuttle guests at near super sonic speeds, why is the checkin process so low-tech and anciently slow? Why not provide guests with a kiosk, a unique QR code or, at least allow the concierge to reduce the painfully long wait time and queues that are so long, they make it difficult to even enter the hotel?
Jacy’z Hotel & Resort has been in the limelight for a few months now. And from what I could tell, their marketing effort has paid off insofar that occupancy seemed high during my stay. And I am sincerely happy for them if this is the case. Whacko naming and petit, shoebox rooms aside, I feel confident the management will soon work out the technical issues and service glitches. As we noticed quite a few dissatisfied guests during our stay, until they do fix these issues, my heart goes out to the team working at the hotel and taking the heat for poor planning and sloppy implementation.
All told, I can still easily recommend Jacy’z as it quite possibly represents the bright future of the “urban resort experience”. But do choose a larger room facing downtown Gothenburg, even if this will unavoidably add extra cost. Trust me, this investment will definitely pay off immediately.
Jacy’z is owned and operated by a Swedish company called ESS Group. They’ve been around since 2007 and have an impressive portfolio of gorgeous boutique hotels, spa resorts and fine restaurants across Sweden as well as a couple of hotels in Norway and Denmark. While most of their destinations are acquisitions and makeovers of existing properties, as far as I know, Jacy’z is the first of their hospitality endeavors created from scratch.