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Inside Sweden's new floating hotel

A good vacation is an escape from the everyday and this upcoming resort in the Swedish Lapland, couldn't be further f...

Posted: Jan. 29, 2018 3:12 PM
Updated: Jan. 29, 2018 3:12 PM

A good vacation is an escape from the everyday and this upcoming resort in the Swedish Lapland, couldn't be further from normal life -- it's literally floating on a river in the middle of nowhere.

ArcticBath is a new hotel adrift on the Lule River in the Scandinavian north -- a glacial haven of snow-tipped forests, world-class fishing, amazing wildlife and the Northern Lights.

The resort is from the team behind the region's acclaimed Treehotel -- the quirky brainchild of owners Britta and Kent Lindvall, situated amongst the forest canopy.

ArcticBath will offer a similar mix of luxury and nature -- inspired by the wild, stunning Swedish surroundings.

Homegrown ethos

The unusual design of ArcticBath has a homegrown history.

"You don't have to copy things made elsewhere, it's not interesting," says ArcticBath articitect Bertil Harstr-m -- who worked on the project alongside Johan Kauppi. "I think the interesting things come from your own history and your background."

Bertil Harstr-m tells CNN Travel that the zany design is inspired by Swedish log-shipping traditions.

Until the mid-20th century, logs were transporting along Swedish waterways. En route, the timber would often get stuck on the rapids and form clusters of floating logs.

The architect recalled this image from his childhood -- and it became his main inspiration for the new design.

"It was a symbol for that era," Harstr-m says. "So I chose to build this idea around the connection to the forest in the north."

The resulting circular structure is a striking combination of man-made and natural influences.

"I don't call myself a sophisticated intellectual architect designer, I work with more conceptual structures," says Harstr-m.

Internal and external

The resort is home to six, 25-square-meter hotel rooms alongside saunas, a cold plunge pool, spa treatment rooms, a restaurant and bar and the central open-air bath.

Visitors will access the resort from a wooden walkway.

"You can say that the building is rather introvert, the focus is on the inside," says Harstr-m. "So if you see it from a distance, you will have some problems to guess what is inside."

During winter, the resort will be frozen into the ice. During the summer it'll be floating in the river.

The center of the bath will offer spectacular panoramas of the Swedish night sky above.

"It's not a traditional fa-ade in architecture," says Harstr-m, who also worked on one of the treehouses for the nearby TreeHotel. "I think TreeHotel prepared the world for ArcticBath as the next project."

Local community

Harstr-m says locals in the nearby village of Harads have been very encouraging about the project, especially after the success of TreeHotel:

"They are confident now [...] that it will be something good for society," says Harstr-m.

The designers and owners are also conscious of protecting the environment -- as well as providing an excellent tourist experience. Harstr-m says their ambitions are supported by the local government.

"They have been positive, and now we have all the papers that we need for starting up the building process," explains Harstr-m.

ArcticBath is due to open in the latter half of 2018.

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