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Enjoyable feature: all guests are given a stylish yukata which they wear during their stay – even to dinner

my opinion, yes. It’s a place to truly relax and to take a moment to reset your mind. Perhaps your first thoughts are that a Japanese spa would be totally out of place in Sweden. But throughout my stay, I became aware of how many customs the countries share. Both have a deep respect for nature that extends from visual appreciation to full immersion. Both have a classic and strong design identity based on a minimalist feel, high quality finishes and natural materials… and both have a prominent culture of bathing (onsen and sauna). As we stroll up a stone path lined with wooden pillars and cherry trees in full blossom the arrival is classically Japanese, but totally fitting for Sweden. Yasuragi exudes the lagom approach of Sweden where everything is just right, unassuming and certainly not extravagant and this provides the opportunity to slow down, appreciate your surroundings and have gratitude for the simple things in life. My wife and I received a warm welcome and a quick, efficient check-in. Yasuragi

COVID-19 has not curbed the nation’s appetite for wellness is a pet-friendly hotel so we took our dog and enjoyed many of the woodland trails. Our standard guestroom (issued to people with pets) was typically Japanese with futon-style beds and simple furnishings, but at 20sq m felt a little small. I would recommend the ryokan (top suite) – complete with two bedrooms, extensive stone bathing area and enormous outdoor terrace with whirlpool – for the full experience. Communication was one of the weakest parts of my stay. Although spa protocols and facilities were explained, there were no details of my treatment at arrival or in my room. Returning to reception, I was presented with a handwritten note simply saying ‘5pm’ and the only confirmation I got was from speaking to a member of

staff. Similarly spa activities were posted around the hotel, but not in the room.

The spa experience One of the enjoyable features at Yasuragi is that guests are dressed in the same patterned yukata (Japanese robe) and slippers. You’re given these well-designed, comfortable clothes and swimsuits to wear (the latter to keep) throughout your stay, even at dinner, and it’s relaxing to know everyone is the same. As a side note, the robes are also cleverly designed with a pocket inside the sleeve for key cards and numbered hangers help you to locate them when in the spa. The baths can be reached via a glazed passage with views over a simple issue 2 2021 69