A childhood dream
Just before you reach Harads, 60 km south of the Arctic Circle on the road from Boden to Jokkmokk, there is a sign advertising Treehotel on the right. If you book a room there and arrive by car you’ll soon feel like you’ve ended up in a time-travelling adventure. You’re welcomed at the Treehotel Guesthouse, a century-old building that has certainly preserved its 1950s charm but is still nothing like the pictures you’ve seen in designer magazines featuring a cool hotel among the treetops. Don’t worry. You’re in the right place.
– As kids Britta and I dreamed of building tree huts, says Kent Lindvall who owns and operates Treehotel together with Britta, and continues:
– But we never thought it could end up being this good, or this beautiful when we were renovating the guesthouse.
The year was 2008. Kent and Britta were running Brittas Pensionat in Harads, what is now Treehotel Guesthouse. Kent joined some of Sweden’s most well-known architects on a fishing trip where they discussed a documentary they had just seen on Swedish television. The film, The Tree Lover by Jonas Selberg Augustsén, is about a young man who wants to escape the summer in the city and build a tree house by the Lule River instead. Around the campfire that evening they had an idea: they would all design one tree hut each, and those huts would be the framework of a new hotel. And that’s what happened. When Kent returned home he bought the land around his guest house, and construction could begin. The old guest house actually adds to the experience. As you travel the road through the forest, from a classic guest house to a cool tree house, a change takes place.
– There were actually lots of people who said we should tear it down and make everything modern. But looking back I’m glad we didn’t, Kent says.
– Instead of just complementing each other, the different houses and styles add to each other.
Also readLooking for the northern lights
Once the idea had been put out there at the campfire and began to take shape, the investment in Treehotel was about design, first and foremost. Some of the most famous architectural firms in Sweden designed the first five rooms among the beautiful pine trees in Harads: SandellSandberg, Cyrén & Cyrén and Tham & Vidgård. Bertil Harström at Inredningsgruppen also designed two rooms, as well as the facilities needed to make it an exciting hotel. Because we all know that no modern hotel in the north comes without a sauna and a spa. The Finnish architect Sami Rintala, from the agency Rintala Eggertsson, designed the sixth room called Dragonfly before Jenny Osuldsen at Snøhetta designed the latest addition: the 7th room – a room that takes the hotel to new heights, as the seventh room is suspended ten meters up in the air. Among the canopies, almost at the height of the strongest northern lights in winter or the eternal midnight light in summer, new and returning guests are welcomed.
A price winner
Snøhetta, a well-known Norwegian design and architectural firm, has added even greater fame to Treehotel. Among other things the Norwegian agency has redesigned the famous museum SFMoMA in San Francisco, designed the modern version of the classic library in Alexandria as well as the contemporary landmark the Opera House in Norway’s capital Oslo. The design is probably the main reason why Treehotel has won so many awards over the years: design, location and ambience.
The treehouse was named one of the world’s best travel destinations by Time Magazine 2018 and was awarded first place in National Geographic Traveller’s Design Den category a few years prior to that. The hotel has also received Mr & Mrs Smith’s award as “Best Family Hotel”. The latter might not be so strange. The 7th room can easily sleep five people ten metres above ground, and also: what child wouldn’t want to sleep in a UFO or a bird’s nest? Those two rooms were designed by architect Bertil Harström, who quickly decided he wanted to build a bird’s nest, just because it’s something you’d expect to find in the forest.
– But I also wanted to make something you wouldn’t expect. And yes, I do believe a UFO is the last thing someone would expect to find in the forest, says Bertil.
Treehotel is located in Harads, near the Lule River, about 100 kilometres from Luleå airport. The village has a population of about 600 and features a restaurant, shop and guest house. When you arrive at Treehotel, you check in at Treehotel Guesthouse. Then it’s just a short stroll through the beautiful nature to your tree room. Find out more by visiting treehotel.se.
Also readA night among the trees
The 7th Room faces an open area and provides you with the perfect space to just sit back and relax, enjoying the heat from an open fire at the same time as the northern lights swirl and crackle just outside. The balcony of the Cabin used to have the highest view, ten metres above ground. But the floor of the 7th Room is at ten metres’ height, so here you really live among the treetops.
– Yes, in summer you can actually sleep on the balcony under the open sky, says Kent Lindvall as he shows us around on a sneak peek.
– You know, mosquitoes don’t fly 10 metres up in the air.
The balcony is more like a dense net than a balcony. It gives you a feeling of climbing among the trees. In many ways that’s exactly what you’re after when you’re staying at one of the coolest hotels in the world. Being among the trees with a magnificent view.