Mayfair Hotel Tunneln
An historical building with a medieval air In 1307 the arched cellar was built by the Danish Knight Jens Uffesen Neb. In 1349 the property was divided between his two sons-in-law, Knight Niels Hack, and Squire Jens Lauridsen Panther. The Malmö portion of the divided property included the main estate, a barn and ten shops which were primarily concentrated on the adjacent square. All that remains of the original complex in the current Mayfair Hotel Tunneln – which from now on will be referred to as Tunneln – are five of the original shops. These shops were probably hired by merchants who used them for commerce, storage and as residences.
In 1519 Mayor Jacob Nickelsen built the tall, late-Gothic, step gable house on top of the Tunneln complex`s old cellar. The beginning of the 16th Century can be characterized as a transition period between the old and the new, between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and it was a time filled with religious and political conflicts. Malmö`s powerful Mayor, Jörgen Kock, bravely tried to take advantage of the political situation for the benefit of the city, which brought Malmö in conflict with royal and noble interests. At the end of the 16th century Jacob Fechtil successfully gathered the Tunneln complex back in the hands of one owner, himself, and he introduced the operation of an inn in the cellar under the old arches.
For Malmö the 17th century was a period of long drawn out conflicts between Denmark and Sweden regarding the Skåne region. In 1658 peace was declared in Roskilde, and Denmark was forced to give up, in addition to other land, Skåne to Sweden. Participating in the Swedish delegation was the Danish nobleman Corfitz Ulfeld, who was married to Princess Eleonora Christine, daughter to King Christian IV of Denmark. For his outstanding service to the Swedish Crown he was appointed Swedish governor of Skåne that same year. Coritz Ulfeld bought Tunneln and had the buildings furnished as his residence in princely splendor. The Danish state viewed his exploits in Roskilde rather differently, and he was sentenced in abstensia to death for high treason. In 1659 he was arrested for participation in the so called Malmö Conspiracy and again sentenced to death and forfeit of all his properties, this time by the Swedish King. He managed, however, to escape from Malmö and died in 1664 as a refugee in a boat on the Rhine river. Tunnlen was confiscated by the Swedish Crown and turned into the residence of the County Governor of Skåne, which it remained until the 1733. Outside Tunneln, at the corner of Kansligatan and Adelgatan, Karl the 11th had a milestone placed so that all distances in the region would be measured from the Governor`s residence in Malmö.
In the beginning of the 18th century several prominent Lords resided at Tunneln. The most famous was King Gustav IV and the warrior Magnus Stenbock who, with his victory at Helsingborg in 1710, saved Skåne for the Swedish Crown. In the Tunneln complex 30 rooms were at the governor’s disposal for the extensive government activities his position entailed. After the County Governor moved to Stortorget, Tunneln was no longer used as a residence and came into the ownership of Frans Suells. Frans Suells, a native German, is best known for taking the initiative in developing the harbour. At the end of the 18th Century Jacob Nickelsen`s step gable house was renovated for use in sugar production. These operations expanded and became, during the last years of the 18th Century, a successful refinery.
In 1850 the Tunneln was owned by businessman P.G. Barkman who had the buildings modernized. He replaced the 17th century main building, which faced the street, with the current building with its framed columns above the entrance. In 1866 the old cellar was turned into an inn which was frequented by people from the theater and entertainment industry. The restaurant was also a popular eatery for the citizens of Malmö in general. Restaurant Tunneln was named after the elongated, medieval, arched cellar rooms in which the restaurant was housed. Later this name came to designate the entire complex. In 1908 mayor Jacob Nickelsens renovated the step gable house into a hotel. On the second and third floors rooms were renovated for use by travelers, while the main Malmö newspaper’s old editorial offices on the main floor were renovated into a restaurant. The western portion of Tunneln`s main floor was used by Malmö City Library. Since then many a beer mug has been drained, uncounted shoes have danced across the creaking parquet dance floor and many a guest has had a good night`s sleep in this distinguished building.