By Diane Small
It doesn’t sound very ‘luxurious’: shared showers; meals taken in a hotel restaurant inside the nearby village, as opposed to the hotel; no room service, all in the middle of nowhere, Sweden. But given the proliferation of boring, corporate hotels today, the chance to sleep in a real treehouse, surrounded by serenity and birdsong in a pristine forest is definitely a luxury.
The Treehotel, in Boden, Sweden, boasts rooms that are suspended 4-6 metres above the ground and are accessible by ramp, bridge, or electric stairs. The rooms vary in size between 15-30 m ², with the largest accommodating up to four people. The daily operations as well as the construction of the rooms are environmentally friendly, aiming to have a minimal impact on nature.
The hotel has become a bit of an interiors-groupie favourite, as each room was designed by a renowned local architect, and specifically, its Mirror Cube room has been featured in design magazines around the world. Although there are only five rooms now, more are planned for 2014.
As the name suggests, the popular Mirror Cube is just that–all four walls are covered in large glass mirrors, making the room ‘disappear’ into the surrounding trees. But there are other places to stay too: the UFO room, that looks like a spaceship right out of a 1950s movie set; the Cabin, with its large windows; the Bird’s Nest, which makes you feel a bit like a prehistoric chick, and the Blue Cone (which is actually red). Amicable hosts Brita and Kent allow guests to choose which room they’d prefer to stay in, and as each cabin is so distinctive, it would be a great idea to experience the ambiance of 2-3 different ones if you book in for a few nights here.
We stayed in the Mirror Cube, which was simply decorated in Scandinavian style, and had great views over the treetops. In winter, guests stay here just to see the Northern Lights, which I can imagine would be quite a romantic experience. In the long days of summer, however, this multi-windowed room lets in a bit too much light, which is virtually impossible to block as there are no blinds, so bring a sleeping mask.
The room comes equipped with a fridge, a kettle and selection of tea, coffee, milk and sugar, with a bottle of water for washing up and making tea. This went pretty quickly, so if you tend to use a lot of water to brush your teeth or just like drinking a lot of tea, I would recommend bringing an extra litre or so. The toilet is waterless and uses a burner system, which we found simple to use. Showers, however, have to be taken in the communal lodge, which was a bit of a pain–worse in winter, I’d imagine!
As with most food in Sweden, meals here were heavy on the fish and meat–not ideal for vegans, to say the least. Breakfast is included in the rather high room price, and featured cereal and breads, meats and cheeses, boiled eggs, pancakes and maple syrup, tea coffee and juice–a bit low on the fresh fruits and a bit high in calories. Other meals are taken in the lodge near the hotel, and again, vegetarians and vegans may not be happy with what is served (there is no selection–you eat what’s available that evening).
Activities include long walks, hot saunas and in winter, dog sledding, kick sledding, snowshoeing and sled rides. Of course, you can use the WiFi in your room to watch films or check emails, though we found the signal to be a bit unreliable.
Overall, this was a unique and quirky stay for an evening, but that’s all this glamour girl could take. After a peaceful night spent cuddling under a duvet, gazing at scenery enjoyed by mankind since the dawn of time, I was ready to return to the comfort and convenience of modern life. I was grateful, though, for the Treehotel for giving me a glimpse into how simple and quiet life must have been for our great grandparents, and the nature we have all but lost.
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