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The Villa Pauli Club - a Home Away from Home

Date Added: September 29, 2011 12:52:19 AM

The Villa Pauli Club, one of the most exclusive member clubs in northern Europe, aspires to be a “home away from home” for the expatriate community in Stockholm and the Nordics.

It began over a hundred years ago when the most sumptuous private residence in northern Europe was completed in 1907. The villa, designed by famous architect Ragnar Östberg, was richly decorated with works by the painter Georg Pauli and sculptor Carl Eldh.

With its convenient location on Strandvägen in Djursholm - only fifteen minutes from the City of Stockholm, by the Askrike Bay of the Baltic Sea - and its first-class cuisine, the Villa Pauli Club has everything that is required for private, business and official events.

Owner with a passion for networking

The owner Arnfinn Röste, is the kind person that seems to live and breathe international relations. Brief encounters and small talk could lead to fruitful collaborations if they occur in the right context.
- The priority for the Villa Pauli Club, when receiving members and their guests, is to deliver a great and unforgettable experience. I was an expatriate in Asia for 25 years, and from my personal experience, I realised that business deals were made in venues that could offer confidentiality and discretion. I wanted to create an international club, as a home away from home, where international business people could meet in a luxurious but comfortable surrounding.

A hundred years of wealth

The villa was built by Anna Pauli, the daughter of Johan Wilhelm Smitt, the wealthiest man in Sweden in the 19th century. He made a fortune in Latin America in the 1850ies, co-founded the Enskilda Bank and founded Handelsbanken. He then funded Alfred Nobel’s Nitroglycerine Corporation and became its Chairman 1864-1904. Together with his young relative Ragnar Sohlman, he became instrumental in establishing the Nobel Foundation and the Nobel Prize based on Alfred’s testament. He also financed the establishment of the University of Stockholm. Villa Pauli was a private residence until 1968, when it was acquired by the Catholic Church for the purpose of visiting Cardinals and used as a Convent. Pope John Paul has stayed there.

In 1985, the wealthy real estate magnate Birger Gustavsson, at great expense converted the mansion listed as a state monument, into a luxurious and comfortable Club, with all imaginable facilities and amenities. The Villa Pauli Club was inaugurated in September 1986 for corporate members only. Arnfinn Röste bought the Villa Pauli Club in 1998 and upgraded and redecorated everything, including the interior decoration featuring antiques, original art and sculptures. Many companies use the Villa Pauli Club as a forum for an event, fashion show or product launch, and some spend many days in the beautiful villa, working at day, networking at night. 
- I had a feeling that Stockholm lacked a venue for international business relations, he says in one of the beautiful meeting rooms, with handpicked antiques and top modern conference technology like HD videoconference equipment battling for attention.
- Such venues are very rare, and I did not want it to be an introverted gentleman’s club. An attractive point for the expatriate community, is that our monthly membership fees are much lower than at most of our international counterparts, and we don’t require any membership deposits, so far.

A broad mixture for dynamic networking

The Villa Pauli Club is well established as a venue for corporations, entrepreneurs and families from the wealthy neighbourhood of Djursholm, as well as expatriate families. Arnfinn Röste is now focusing his attention to attracting a new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs in their 30’s and 40’s. Diplomats, embassies and international organisations are also a focus of attention and are offered special rates. The mixture of personal experiences and backgrounds creates a unique venue for networking and business, as well as social contacts.
- The Villa Pauli Club is a one-stop-shop, he says. You can have a breakfast seminar, lunch meeting, two-day conference, or wine tasting in one of our chambres separée. Seeing is believing, and you have to see the facilities, as well as the surroundings, for yourself - foreign guests can’t believe that we are only fifteen minutes away from the City of Stockholm.

Arnfinn Röste describes himself in terms of “internationalist”, “pioneer” and “explorer”. He claims to have spent over 20 years of his life in hotel rooms all over the world.
- Business people get tired of seeing the same hotels, restaurants and conference centers every single day. They may have left their families, friends and hobbies back home and need somewhere to meet new people in the same situation. We want the Villa Pauli Club to feel like a home away from home, and we have succeeded according to our members.


The Villa Pauli Club in brief

There are 17 luxury hotel rooms, out of which five are suites. The establishment is open for corporations, entrepreneurs, families and individuals as members. Membership fees are low by international standards, starting at 800 SEK/month for individuals, 1000 SEK/month for families and 2.500 SEK/month for corporations. There is a wellness and spa facility with sauna, gym with personal training, and massage as well as other treatments. The outdoors tennis court is complemented with a membership in the Djursholm Tennis Club, which has the best indoor courts in Sweden. There are foursomes reserved at the Djursholm Golf Club every week. The champagne and wine cellar is one of the best in Norhern Europe and the restaurant is of high international standards. The meeting rooms are for corporate members only, on the Director’s Floor, but Villa Pauli is open for arranging sumptuous weddings, receptions, birthday parties etc. Call for information, and you can find the events calendar and much more on the home page

Arnfinn Röste as entrepreneur

Originally from the province of Jämtland, he owns three beautiful houses in the world renowned ski resort Åre, which can be rented through the Villa Pauli home page. A physicist educated at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Röste has spent well over 30 years working with establishing mobile telephone network infrastructure, in Asia for Ericsson from 1979 until 1993, introducing the first mobile telephony networks in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Tunisia, among others. Since 1994 he has worked with his own companies, co-founding the billing service bureau Revenco in Guangzhou, China, which is still one the major in the global markets. After that he introduced the North American CDMA2000 3G-standard in the 450 MHz band to Europe, which now is being used in over 90 countries. He is co-founder of the leading antenna manufacturer CellMax Technologies. Founded mobile telephony operating companies in six European countries, like, Wirefree Communications Ltd. and Nordisk Mobiltelefon International AB. Röste is also, since 1995, one of two owners of the second oldest glassworks in Sweden, Reijmyre Glasbruk, located less than two hours drive from Stockholm along the E4 to the south.