Insights from a first-time Treehotel visitor
Like a child about to meet Santa, I'm not quite sure if I’d like to have my expectations turn into a reality with little room for more revelation. I worry as I watch Swedish Lapland’s lanky pine trees merge into a lo-fi forestscape. The Treehotel had been on my bucket list for a while. Now, just a few km from the iconic boutique hotel I'm unsure if curiousity spoiled the surprise.
I had seen milestones like the Seventh Room nestle into its final position, a ladder emerge from the bottom of the Spaceship at the push of a button, and the Mirror Cube reflect the Aurora Borealis in its deceptive exterior.
Luckily, I wasn’t about to be disappointed, the hotel still had quite a few surprises up its sleeve for me.
Psst, if you, too, don’t like spoilers head to this summary of the Treehotel instead.
The reception and dining area
In my mind, a design hotel celebrating Nordic chic and nature-inspired concept design would only ever be complete with a minimalist reception area. I had pictured abstract nature decor against a futuristic backdrop. Surprisingly, the hotel reception is located in a redecorated pensioner’s home. As a listed building the 1940’s era interior features Sweden’s root vegetables on a painted poster, the price of cooking ingredients on a chart, old pots and other haberdashery I struggle to name. Only a map crowded with pin needles documenting the hometown of each visitor reminds of the international audience frequenting the buffet serving local food. Arriving at reception, it is somewhat reassuring to see that the design hotels celebrates, rather than disregards, historic concepts of homeliness.
Extravagant exterior calm interior
With no limits to imaginative playfulness, and a strong focus on the wow-factor exterior, the interior often comes as a second thought. On my visit, I felt that the interior is the silent show-stealer. Granted, the extravagant exterior featuring a supersize bird’s nest, a dragonfly made from bronze-coloured steel, and a treetop spaceship tease for a living. For guests, actually staying at the Treehotel, it is, however, the interior that takes the lion share of the experience-a notion that is shared by the hotel. Our guide explains that architects want to encourage guests to become introspective. To focus on the hideaway experience, and find out what developing a connection to the design concept means to them.
The balance between quirky features and unnecessary distraction is a delicate one which is managed by adding thoughtful details that align with the room’s theme. In the Spaceship galaxy-themed beddings, and space games in invite guests to imagine life as a galactic explorer. The elegant blonde wood and panoramic forest view windows of the Bird’s Nest provide a small glimpse into the life of a Lappish bird.
Forest bathing does not fall into the traditional notion of a shower, and initially I had thought that cleansing would be merely a figurative affair. The Seventh Room, the hotel’s largest complex, and the Dragonfly, however, boast shower facilities. All rooms have bathrooms, toilets, and clever designs to ensure running water is available, albeit in a somewhat loose sense. Showers and extensive sauna sessions can be enjoyed at the two-level barrel-shaped sauna, which also offer forest views anything but short of stunning.
Growing with the trees
One of my favourite curiosities about treetop accommodation evolves around the fact that the rooms are attached to living, and thereby growing trees. Perhaps naively, I had thought that each year the rooms would move skywards if only for a few centimeters. Since only the treetops are grow the rooms stay, perhaps reassuringly, at the same level. Still, the rooms need to adapt to the increasing width of its wooden host without damaging it. A flexible belt wrapped around each tree ensures stability and ongoing comfort.
Rooms attached to trees
It’s hard to fathom the amount of the thought that would have been needed to come from pipedream to project finish. Only actually seeing the Bird’s Nest room attached to a single tree hit home just how challenging the leap from idea to implementation would have been.
The Treehotel’s proximity to the Arctic Bath
Architectural genius is at home in the woods surrounding Harads. Rumour has it that is something in the water, as the latest boutique stay, a floating spa bath is just a stone-throw from the Treehotel. Within five minutes driving distance the Arctic Bath beckons with a spectacular opening at its center, traditional bathing, sauna and shower facilities, and a Sami-run restaurant serving locally sourced food.
Please note that day-time tours to the hotel need to be booked in advance. We'd always recommend staying for a night or two, and if possible combine the stay with a visit to the ICEHOTEL, the Arctic Bath, or a Glamping on Ice experience.
Images: Picture courtesy of the Treehotel. Header: Per Lundstrom