sweden - treehotel.
[spotlight series. kent lindvall]
[treehotel soundtrack. crazy little thing called love]
It’s hard to put into words what we recently experienced at the Treehotel in Harads, Northern Sweden, just 60km south of the Arctic Circle.
The sweetest of Swedish hospitality, uniquely beautiful in design, and backed by breathtaking nature and 24 hour sunshine – the Treehotel is like no other hotel experience we have enjoyed.
Our special journey started with a 13 hour night train north from Stockholm, bound for Luleå. After pulling into Boden however (one stop before Luleå), there was a knock on our cabin door and we were greeted by a man introducing himself as Kent. It was 6am, we were a little dazed and confused. Who was this Kent character? Was he one of the train guards? But he shared the same name as the co-founder of the Treehotel? If so, why was he on our train? And weren’t we still one stop away from arriving at our destination? It was all very confusing. It turned out it was in fact Kent Lindvall – co-founder of the Treehotel – who had my train itinerary on email. Kent knew it would be quicker for me to get off in Boden, so he drove to the station, boarded the train, and got me off. He then drove me to Harads. The first, of a number of examples, where Kent (and his wonderful wife Britta) would go above and beyond their duty as hosts to deliver the kindest, most warm and generous hospitality we have ever experienced anywhere.
Harads is a tiny village of just 600 people, approx. 40mins from Boden. On arrival into Harads, you approach Britta’s Pensionat which sits on the main road into town. Britta has run this 30s style Swedish guesthouse for 20+ years. The guesthouse is run in association with the Treehotel, and is where all of the meals for both the guesthouse and Treehotel are served. From the guesthouse, it is a 500m walk through a stunning meadow to get to the Treehotel. On approach, as these amazing hanging structures become visible through the trees, you are immediately transported to some sort of fantasy land. What all childhood dreams are made of. The Cabin (which Kent tells us is the most favoured treehouse by guests) is the first treehouse you see, and also our favourite. With spectacular views of the Lule River valley, and miles of forests, these uniquely sustainable treehouses provide a striking contrast to their surrounding environment. With six treehouses in total, after The Cabin, you come across the Dragon Fly, then the Bird’s Nest, the Blue Cone, the Mirror Cube, and the UFO. Each wonderful canopy room designed by a different leading architect of Sweden. The story of how these treehouses came about is at once amazing and inspiring – the ever entrepreneurial and creative spirit of Kent Lindvall shining through.
It was a great privilege to sit down with Kent one-on-one to hear the full story, and we are excited to share it with you here.
Kent, who has an incredible knowledge and passion for the local region, has spent his whole life here in Harads. Kent and Britta both grew up here, on different sides of the river. A beautiful love story (we will let Kent tell you the details!), Kent was just 15, and Britta 16, when they first met. They became a couple five years later. Three daughters, and their family was complete. Passionate for the environment, their village and their family – these two are a dynamic and impressive team – incredibly special people.
At the Treehotel, guests can do as little or as much as they like. The spectacular natural environment (together with the sauna house) is one that obviously encourages rest and relaxation. Grab a book, hang in the trees, or relax in the sauna.
It is definitely worth getting out to explore the local area as well. In summer, Kent can arrange fly-fishing tours, kayaking tours, the onsite zipline, sightseeing tours and more. In winter, the most popular activity for guests is dog-sledding (we are definitely coming back for this). Northern lights tours are popular, as are ice-fishing…when the river freezes over and you dig holes in the ice, lie on moose skin and drop your fishing line down the hole.
As well as this, the oldest fishery in Sweden is only 20mins away. Kent took me here for a visit. With roots back to the 1300s, the original village is still set up here, and it’s a beautiful and peaceful spot for a picnic and to read up on the history of the area. Jokkmokk is also not far, and less than one hour away, lies Storforsen - a rapid in the Pite River, with an average flow of 250 m3/s (some of the biggest in Europe ). The energy here is amazing.
While at the Treehotel, you will be spoiled with traditional Swedish home-style cooking, using local produce to showcase dishes typical of the Swedish Lapland region. Britta, together with a small team (including Kent and Britta’s daughter Sophia) run the kitchen. An abundant breakfast offering, a huge lunch, and then a 3-course dinner as well - you certainly wont go hungry. Over our two night stay we tried everything from smoked reindeer (sorry Rudolph!), moose balls, and palt (balls of potato filled with pork). We were even lucky enough to try some of Kent’s homebrew – his very own birch-flavored schnapps, vodka infused with local birch from the surrounding forest.
A visit to the Treehotel is the perfect answer for anyone wanting to escape to a remote fantasy location. An incredibly special hotel, where not only design is key, but sustainability as well. There are very few other places we know that have been so thoughtfully built on nature’s terms.If you get a chance, at least once in your lifetime, please consider a visit here. Kent, Britta and their beautiful treehouses will remain close to our hearts forever.