The long-awaited floating spa getaway opens in Swedish Lapland
Perched on the Lule River in a remote, but strikingly beautiful part of Swedish Lapland is Arctic Bath – a unique spa and wellness hotel. Wanting to offer a traditional ice bath and sauna experience with all the perks of a luxury, sustainable stay, the five founders collaborated with ground-breaking architect duo Bertil Harström (of Treehotel fame) and Johan Kauppi to create an extraordinary concept.
This collaboration resulted in Arctic Bath; a new floating spa hotel located near the tiny village of Harads. The designers were inspired by the old practice of transporting felled trees by river and created a building that looks like a beautifully placed log jam. They also wanted the structure to act as a symbol of the importance of sustainable forestry for future generations.
The striking building floats during the summer and freezes into ice during the winter. Inside you’ll find a giant ice bath encircled by three saunas, a spa treatment room, hot baths and the hotel’s restaurant and bar. The 12 bedrooms are in separate wood cabins – six are on the water’s edge and a further six are larger glass-fronted land cabins elevated in the trees on the shoreline, created by Swedish designer Ann Kathrin Lundqvist.
As well as using sustainable, locally sourced wood for the exterior build, the surroundings have enriched the interiors too. Pine clad walls, Baltic grey limestone floors, aged leather details and reindeer hides create the backdrop for modern Swedish designs, including furniture by Karl Andersson och Söner and bespoke lighting by Atelje Lyktan. Contemporary log burners crackling in the background complete the cosy picture.
The designers were inspired by the old practice of transporting felled trees by river and created a building that looks like a beautifully placed log jam
The restaurant continues the minimalist, but homely theme with crisp, white finishes, wooden ceilings and furniture from designer brands Stolab, Blå station and Norrgavel. Headed up by chef Kristoffer Åström, the dining ethos is ‘local, pure and sustainable’. A set menu changes every day based on local ingredients and Sami recipes. All of the meat and fish is caught locally in the wild, with most other ingredients sourced from local farms and forests less than 25 miles away.
Wellness is at the heart of Arctic Bath and the hotel focuses on ‘welcoming guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind.’ The spa is led by the traditional Swedish practice of cold baths in combination with sauna heat, alongside more conventional treatments using organic, Swedish products. Exercise and fresh air are greatly encouraged with forest yoga, meditation, dogsledding, snow shoe hiking, wildlife photography, moose calling and Northern Lights spotting just some of the things to do. The hotel also works with local Sami people to share the ancient culture with guests, including reindeer herding and Arctic foraging.
“The Arctic Bath really is a first – it’s a special spa experience,” says Ann Kathrin Lundqvist. “So much thought, engineering and ingenuity have come together to provide visitors with an experience they can’t find anywhere else.”