JA Hotel and its precursor Storkällaren existing since the late 18th century
JA Hotel in Karlskrona
JA Hotel is located on a site where hotels have been operating for over a hundred years. In the 1920s it was called Hotel Storkällaren, later changing its name to Hotel Savoy and now it's JA Hotel. But Storkällaren has an even older history. It opened as a tavern and entertainment palace back in 1786, when theatre director Johan von Blanche bought the house from Rear Admiral C. G. Grubbe and set it up as a tavern under the name Storkällaren. This was a milestone not only for the entertainment scene in Karlskrona but for the whole of Sweden! Karlskrona was Sweden's second largest city at the time.
Von Blanche understood that the Karlskrona citizens, starved of real entertainment and continental flair, needed more than theatre. When Storkällaren opened its doors in 1786, it quickly became the place to be for the upper class. Newspaper advertisements stated that "simple folk should not trouble themselves". In addition to the tavern itself, visitors of Storkällaren were greeted by a billiard hall, a dance and masquerade ball, and an "indoor bowling alley"! Von Blanche had previously organised masquerade balls in the city's newly built theatre building, but now he moved these to Storkällaren as well. This did not happen without protests. Concerns were raised in the local press as to whether it might be appropriate for posh ladies to attend masquerades in a cellar. But von Blanche calmed the critics, saying that he was only doing this because in winter it was warmer in the Great Cellar than in the large, cold theatre building. The city's high-class ladies were reassured and arrived as guests.
In the devastating town fire that engulfed Karlskrona in June 1790, the entire Storkällaren burned down. The new two-storey wooden building erected after the town fire is built on the old stone foundations. The tavern business resumes. It is probably in connection with the changeover to a hotel in the 1920s that the façade facing Borgmästaregatan is repaired and given the appearance it has today.
In 1988, the property is merged with the Wachtmeister Galleria and more hotel rooms are added. The entrance is then via the retained older and stately stair hall with entrance from the popular pedestrian street Borgmästaregatan. Since the reception, bar and restaurant moved down to the ground floor where 3 shops were located before, the main entrance is inside the Galleria itself. Thanks to the hotel being under the same roof as the Galleria, all guests have easy access to Karlskrona's largest shopping centre.
JA Hotel has 109 rooms, restaurant, bar and conference facilities. In spring 2021 all bathrooms were completely renovated and in autumn/spring 2021/2022, 21 new hotel rooms, a new reception, lobby, bar & restaurant and two larger conference rooms were built. In addition to this the hotel gained direct access to the garage. Every time you step into JA Hotel, you find yourself in a place that has attracted comfort and well-being - ever since 1786!