A perfectly designed destination
When searching the Internet for interesting design ideas or inspiring mood images you may have come across a photo of a floating mirror cube in the midst of a forest. I’ve always been so intrigued by this one image – thinking and hoping that one day I’d actually get to visit (and stay) in a place just like it. Even when looking at it on a computer screen, you can feel the remoteness and pure stillness, the fresh air and the serenity.
So I added it to my “must do” list and cast it aside. Then, by chance, a good friend from back home (Sweden) invited my family and I to join him in a stay at his friend’s hotel – a hotel perched in the treetops. The concept in itself sounded a bit absurd, yet intriguing; only seven rooms to chose from, all with their own unique design – the Bird’s Nest, UFO, Dragonfly, Blue Cone, Cabin, 7th Room and the one I’d admired from afar, the Mirrorcube.
The “Treehotel” is run by the wonderful Kent and Britta, who decided to expand their lovely, but modest, guesthouse by adding tree houses to their selection of rooms. Not phased by the challenges of planning permission or fighting against the sometimes-hostile weather conditions of the area, they put their dreams into action and started a competition where they asked a bunch of architect friends to enter designs for the new accommodation. The result is a selection of brave and distinctive high-end designs that push the boundary of what a hotel room is and what it can be. And each room, set in a tall pine forest, gives guests their own unique and amazing experience.
The concept is very much to be at one with nature – nothing feels over complicated nor does the design take over in any form. It feels paired back and not as luxurious as other types of boutique hotel, but that’s what makes it stand apart, allowing you to embrace the surrounding environment. There’s even a limited amount of water and composting toilets – for me, this made it feel very “real” and non-hotel like. I stayed in the cabin that’s the most recent addition, the 7th Room (next time it will be the Mirrorcube!). It was designed by Snøhetta, the Norwegian architect firm responsible for Oslo’s opera house.
Of course, being located in Sweden, light plays a big part in the whole experience: from the midnight sun in summer to the view of the Northern Lights in the winter. The artificial lighting is very, very minimal – it’s a deliberate design decision as it’s meant to feel as simple as possible, letting the natural light or lack of natural light (and the starry sky/ northern lights) stand out.
I was there at the beginning of May and although the sun does set at this time of year (which means you’re not experiencing true midnight sun), it’s only set for a few hours, so for anyone sensitive (like me), an eye mask is definitely required. The northern lights are seen mainly in the cold winter months and most of the cabins are designed with large windows for guests to get the best possible views. Regardless of the time of year though, there’s always the guarantee of glorious outlooks, amazing design, top local food and the friendliest of people.