30 minute read

A Swedish Winter Wonderland


The area surrounding Icehotel. Photo: Asaf Kliger, for Icehotel

Photo: Kungsberget

Make up for lost time in a Swedish winter wonderland

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt over the past almost two years, it’s that nature goes a long way. The good news is that, as things start to look up – or at least a lot safer – we can enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer together with the people we’ve missed most throughout lockdowns and isolation spells. And better still: you get to experience it all in a different guise, in a different place.

Your bucket list may be filling up, but allow us to help with some insider’s tips. Sweden is full to the brim of aweinspiring winter activities, whether you’re looking for adventure and the most extreme of environments or all you want is to relax in front of an open fire after a luxurious massage. In fact, this long country up north has so much to offer visitors that it can be hard to choose – but we’ve got something for all likes and preferences.

Want to go skiing while keeping half an eye on emails, or head somewhere along with the kids as well as their friends? Perhaps you’d like to learn about the Sami heritage and meet a reindeer up close? Or how about a luxurious hotel with traditional fare and quiet treks through glistening landscapes? As a vast country with a varied landscape, Sweden offers all of the above and more.

During a trip to Sweden, you can be sure that you won’t just sleep soundly and get well fed, but you’ll be cared for with exceptional service and perfectly functional and beautiful design – all while surrounded by unspoiled nature and a well-maintained cultural heritage. From family-friendly destinations to hotspots for thrill-seekers and naturally stunning havens for peace and quiet, we list our favourite destinations in Sweden for a trip to remember next year.

For more information about top destinations, accommodation options and travel, please visit: www.visitsweden.com

Granö Beckasin. Photo: Bea Holmberg

The 32nd reincarnation of the magnificent Icehotel

The world’s first hotel built out of snow and ice opens its 32nd edition this month. This year, Icehotel also presents an exciting new deluxe suite by design duo Bernadotte & Kylberg, a new talented head chef with a focus on a love of nature, and much more.

On many people’s bucket list is Icehotel, an extraordinary hotel and art exhibition hand-sculpted out of massive blocks of ice from the river Torne in northern Sweden. Every year since its beginnings in 1989, the hotel has been reborn thanks to a number of artists from around the world who create a brandnew design of the hotel, its rooms and suites, ice bar and ice ceremony hall. This year, the 32nd edition of Icehotel opens on 10 December.

Icehotel is a top attraction for many people around the world, and it has been included in TIME magazine’s World’s Greatest Places. Located in Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, it welcomes around 50,000 visitors from 80 countries every year, who want to spend the night among ice art before everything melts away in the spring.

“What’s special about this area is that it’s so peaceful and quiet, like meditation, and you can really see the changes in the seasons here,” says Malin Franck, CEO of Icehotel. “In winter, we have the cold polar nights and heaps of snow, and in summer we have the fantastic midnight sun. Regardless of season, it’s a beautiful experience.” Bernadotte & Kylberg collaboration In 2016, Icehotel 365 premiered as a complement to the winter edition. The first permanent ice and snow hotel ever to be built, it’s a specially designed 2,100-square-metre ice hall, open 365 days a year so that guests can experience an arctic adventure at any time. There’s an ice bar serving drinks out of handmade glasses of ice, an art gallery, plus individually themed suites of which nine are deluxe, including a warm relax area. During summer, the building is

cooled by solar panels – a sustainable way of staying open all year, thanks to the rays of the sun.

This year, the multi-award-winning design duo Prince Carl Philip Bernadotte and Oscar Kylberg have designed one of the new suites at Icehotel 365. The deluxe suite of snow and ice, with a warm bathroom, is open for bookings from 1 December. It’s the first time in the hotel’s history that guests can book a specific room for their stay, and it will be available for a couple of years. “This is such an exciting design collaboration with Bernadotte & Kylberg,” says Malin. “We can’t wait to share what their new suite looks like with the public!”

New chef at Arctic culinary destination Also new this year is that Camila Bianco has joined as head chef for the hotel’s three restaurants, offering visitors new and surprising culinary experiences. Camila will focus on her love of nature and combine flavours and local ingredients from the surrounding forests, mountains and rivers, in a new and exciting way. Icehotel is ranked the top restaurant in Kiruna and among the top three in Swedish Lapland according to White Guide. Why not try the bespoke ice menu, with dishes served on plates of ice?

During winter, Icehotel Verandan (‘The Veranda’) also opens. Here, guests sit down at the Chef’s Table, a communal U-shaped table where the chefs cook an eight-course menu inspired by the eight Sami seasons. On the banks of Torne River sits a third restaurant, the traditional, cosy Hembygdsgården (‘The Old Homestead’), which dates back to 1768. It offers a casual menu of local produce and pizza to be enjoyed on the veranda or by the open fire. Visitors can also book a wilderness dinner with a threecourse meal inspired by the current season, cooked over an open fire in the woodlands.

Icehotel is easily accessible. The closest airport is located in Kiruna, a 90-minute flight from Stockholm and only 15-20 minutes by car from the hotel. New this season are charter packages from Stockholm and Copenhagen, offered in collaboration with Vingresor.

Web: www.icehotel.com Facebook: icehotel.sweden Instagram: @icehotelsweden

Enjoy the silence of the wilderness

At Storsätra Fjällhotell, guests can learn the true meaning of relaxation. This gem in Grövelsjön entices visitors with a genuine atmosphere, delicious food and stunning surroundings on its doorstep. An unforgettable experience awaits.

The classic four-star hotel in Sweden’s southernmost alp destination, Grövelsjön, was opened in 1939 by Margit Jonsson. As Dalarna County’s first alp hotel, it became a popular destination thanks to great cross-country skiing and hiking, fresh air, tasty food and a cosy, familiar atmosphere. And this is still true today.

“Grövelsjön is genuine and peaceful, and we want to keep it that way,” says Jimmy Halvarsson, who runs the hotel with his mother Maria. “In winter, we have fantastic cross-country skiing on the mountain and in the forest. And in summer, we have great hiking routes from a few kilometres to several days’ of hiking. It’s not like one of those massive ski resorts. Here, the focus is on outdoor activities and fresh air in the day and relaxation in the evening, perhaps reading a book by the open fire.”

As proof of its successful concept, Storsätra Fjällhotell won Private Luxury Hotel of the Year 2018 and 2019 at the Luxury Travel Guide Global Awards. Also praised in 2016, it was awarded Luxury Traditional Hotel of the Year – Sweden. So if heading to the Swedish mountains, make sure not to miss this treasure, as it boasts all the good things in life.

Dream for cross-country skiing Storsätra Fjällhotell is surrounded by no less than three national parks, untouched nature and, of course, amazing views right outside the window. This is also the southernmost Sami village and hosts pasture for reindeer.

The unexploited area is great not only for reindeer spotting but also cross-country skiing, with around 100 kilometres of prepared tracks starting outside the hotel – ideal for those who want to train for the big ski race, Vasaloppet – as well as trails leading as far north as Kiruna and into Norway. There is also a ski slope with six pistes around one kilometre from the

hotel, and the popular ski resort Idre is only 30 minutes away. “Here you can really focus on skiing while enjoying your stay,” praises one happy guest.

Together with Experience Grövelsjön, the hotel offers a range of winter activities such as guided ski tours, off-piste skiing, courses in telemark and cross-country skiing, and more. In summer, the opportunities for hiking and fishing are endless. Among nearby places to discover is the Sami village Idre Sameby, and a great day excursion is Valdalsbygget, where you can experience a traditional chalet, or summer pasture, enjoy a peaceful ‘fika’ and buy local products to bring home.

Food at the heart of the hotel It’s easy to unwind at Storsätra Fjällhotell, where every meal is prepared with care and a big portion of love. Guests are served a fabulous breakfast buffet in the genuine dining hall, so they are all set for a day in the great outdoors. There are tasty packed lunches to bring in the backpack with something nice and warm to drink in a flask, plus afternoon ‘fika’ in the hotel lounge, which is a lovely spot for reading magazines or chatting about the day’s adventures in the wilderness.

In the evening, you can relax in the restaurant with a carefully prepared, delicious three-course dinner, often with fish or game from the area. One guest enthuses that “the dinner was the perfect ending of a great day” – and Halvarsson agrees: “People come to us to take part in outdoor activities, and after a great day outdoors, they return to a set table in the evening and just enjoy.”

Storsätra Fjällhotell has 35 comfortable rooms. There is a popular relaxation area with a sauna and a heated bath tub next to river Grövlan, and guests can also book a relaxing massage at the hotel.

Web: www.storsatra.se Facebook: Storsätra Fjällhotell Instagram: @storsatrafjallhotell

Skiing holidays made easy at a modern resort

Located just two hours north of Stockholm, the modern Kungsberget ski resort offers everything to make skiing holidays easy and uncomplicated.

Kungsberget resort was previously a daytime facility but has been re-developed to boast modern, comfortable accommodation with nearly 3,000 beds, a sports shop and supermarket, ski rentals and activities, high-quality restaurants and takeaway, and plenty of places to warm up and rest after a day on the slopes.

“Everything is easily accessible, also for the little ones,” says Mikael Elford, head of sales and marketing at Branäsgruppen, the group that owns and runs Kungsberget. “It’s a family-friendly and uncomplicated place, with everything you expect from a modern ski resort. You can take your car here, leave it by your chosen accommodation, and the slopes are really close by. We’re just a short journey away and once you arrive, you can maximise your time here.”

Great facilities and down-time Kungsberget opens on 4 December and stays open until after Easter. The resort has 23 slopes and 14 lifts, including an eight-chair express lift – one of the most effective ski lifts in Sweden, which became a huge success when introduced a few years ago. Other popular spots are Kungsberget Snow Park and Big Air Bag, which is the perfect place for practising jumps and stunts with guaranteed soft landings.

Thanks to digitalisation and apps, with free Wi-Fi pretty much everywhere, there are few, if any queues, and also great places to sit for those who want to work remotely on their laptops. Above all,

Kungsberget is hassle-free. “Life can be stressful these days, and when people go on holiday, we want to ensure that they have plenty of precious down-time with their family or friends.”

An additional benefit of how close and handy everything is, Elford suggests, is that you can go skiing no matter how cold it is – because it is always easy to take a break and warm up with a hot drink. Saying that, his favourite time of year for skiing is towards the end of the season, after the mid-term break, called the ‘sports break’ in Sweden. “It’s usually warm and sunny – skiing then is just wonderful.”

Tasty food and magic carpet There are great culinary options, too, including à la carte restaurant Fröken Filipssons, with a menu based on Swedish produce. At Karins, you can enjoy classic hamburgers and at Sofias, there are fabulously tasty pizzas. Ski Lodge is open for lunch and ‘fika’ – a perfect spot for chilling out by a warming open fire – and new this year is Fröjds Bar & Balkong, with a nice view of the resort. There are also convenient take-aways, and you can get food delivered straight to your cabin – all easily booked with the app Kungsberget Mat & Dryck.

Also new this year is a green slope, and the beginners’ area has a new lift in the form of a magic carpet, where skiers stand on a moving belt. And as of this year, Kungsberget is also open during the summer months, with fantastic mountain bike tracks. More exciting plans are in the pipeline, reveals Elford. “We’re building new accommodation, including around 100 cabins, and will have 10,000 beds in the future. There will also be a new slope going all the way down to the cabins and a lift on the southern side of the mountain.”

Web: www.kungsberget.se Facebook: kungsberget Instagram: @kungsbergetskidort

Facts about Kungsberget ski resort: - Open 4 December 2021 to 18 April 2022 - 23 slopes and 14 lifts - Skiing on up to 1,700-metre-long slopes - 2,750 beds, ski-in/ski-out - Located 40 minutes from Gävle, one of

Sweden’s biggest cities

Photo: Joakim Norenius

Take a well-deserved break in a tropical haven

Paradiset has it all: rapid currents for splashes of fun as well as peaceful lagoons and relaxing treatments. It’s pure bliss for tired minds and bodies on cold winter days. circulating the air in the sauna for calming and energising effects.

Among the new features is a cryotherapy chamber, where the body is exposed to minus 150 degrees for several minutes, as well as themed spa packages for a bit of extra luxury. “The spa is fantastic for unwinding from all the stress of everyday life,” says Berglund. “You can get a personal guide to show the health benefits of the sauna, enjoy light therapy, or experience the new cryo treatment – you’ll definitely feel energised afterwards!”

Paradiset has one of Sweden’s best combinations of spa and water park. Located in central Örnsköldsvik, it offers a wide range of sports and water activities as well as renowned spa treatments. Opened in 1992, Paradiset has developed over the years, and the 12,000-square-metre venue now attracts around 220,000 visitors per year from near and far, all looking for a break in a tropical paradise.

In the water park, Sweden’s longest water slide, Magic Eye, is an experience for the brave, with 180 metres of twists and turns. The little ones can have fun on their very own tropical island, too, complete with a sandy beach and pirate adventures. And for those who want more water-filled excitement, there are plenty more great activities, such as ‘funballz’, slides, streams and whirlpools. “The water park is an amazing experience for families with children,” says director David Berglund. “You’ll have lots of fun – this is a place for spending quality time together.”

Paradiset has undergone some upgrades during the pandemic and is now open again without any restrictions. “In the water park, we have complemented the facilities with more pirate features for the kids, introduced sculptures and new plants, and repainted. Overall, it feels more new and fresh. And the spa is even cosier and more snug than before.”

The modern spa offers a mix of relaxing activities, such as purifying rituals in the steam saunas, meditation in a special light sauna, star gazing in the infinity pool, floating in the salt water cave, yoga, and lush massage treatments. The signature ‘aufguss’ ritual is led by a spa host who pours scented essential oils and water over hot stones before

Web: www.paradisetornskoldsvik.se

Truly local travel – to a community that cares

One hour’s drive from Umeå, you’ll find Granö, a small community whose population was dwindling. Not content to let their childhood town disappear, a group of friends got together to bring new life to the area.

Opening a hotel on the old camping grounds, the group worked with local entrepreneurs to offer something that would attract people’s attention. Carefully curating an experience that would be deeply connected to the local area, Granö Beckasin quickly grew into what it is today.

With everything from romantic tree huts to yoga retreats and corporate getaways, the hotel offers an unbeatable experience. Its restaurant, offering everything from local game to organic vegan food, invites guests to experience something different to what they may have seen before.

Guests have a unique opportunity to explore the area through activities like hikes, skiing and ice fishing, all offered by hotel staff who are intimately familiar with the best parts of the country around them. But in addition to what the hotel itself offers to guests, it has brought new life to the area.

Giving back to the town “For us, it’s not just about building a hotel – it’s also about giving back to the town and the people in it,” says Annika Rydberg, CEO and one of the founding partners of the hotel. “It’s important to us that people have an opportunity to see what’s great about Granö. One example is a seasonal worker of ours who has settled down here and founded a dog team business. It’s great to see that we’re having a tangible effect on the community.”

Everything the hotel offers is carefully thought through to ensure that inviting guests to the area is done in a non-exploitative way, and they always make sure to use local craftspeople to build and expand. “We have a strong vision, and it’s really important to us that everything that we do is sustainable – not just in the environmental sense of the word, but also in a business sense. Does it make sense to operate in this way? Is this what people want to spend their money on? I think there’s been a real shift in the way that people travel, and they value being able to spend time in a real community. And that’s the core of what we’re offering.”

Annika Rydman.

Web: granobeckasin.com Instagram: @granobeckasin

Photo: Per Olsson

Location, service and history

Competition is stiff in the most popular ski resort in Sweden, among both skiers and the hotels they choose to stay in. Hotell Fjällgården, with its unique ski-in/ski-out position, enjoys the advantage of proximity to nature to truly capture the imagination of its guests.

Right on the mountain slopes in Åre, Sweden’s most popular winter destination, you’ll find Hotell Fjällgården. Originally built in 1910 as a health resort for wealthy aristocrats who had been prescribed fresh mountain air, the hotel boasts the very best location at the resort. Built at the same time as the ski lift up the mountain, the hotel is as close as you can possibly get to all the activities on offer year-round.

And right on the slopes truly means right on the slopes: the ski lift is no more than 50 metres from the front door. “Our guests tend to be people who have been to Åre before, who are here to ski or hike, depending on the season, and who know exactly what they want. They don’t want to waste time getting to and from the mountain every day – they just want to have it on their doorstep,” says Henrik Samuelsson, managing director of the hotel group.

The experience is unbeatable, and once guests have checked in, the staff make sure that there is no reason for them to need to go anywhere else. In addition to stunning views and direct access to the slopes, the hotel boasts a world-class restaurant and a newly renovated spa. With views of the valley, a dip in the outdoor hot tub ranks as one of the most relaxing experiences guests can find. “It’s beautiful out there irrespective of weather,” says Samuelsson. “I was out there in a snow storm once – not bad, as long as you can stay submerged in the hot tub!”

Something for everyone The restaurant, like the rest of the hotel, retains the connection to the stunning mountain range the resort sits in, and all that it has to offer. “We serve a lot of game and locally grown food,” Samuelsson says, “not necessarily because we’ve positioned ourselves as a sustainable or organic restaurant, but the nature of how we work here means we’re inherently sustainable.”

The proximity to the slope means that during lunch, the restaurant serves both its own guests and other skiers who want to maximise their skiing time. “We see our hotel guests as family,” says hotel manager Frida Winberg. “We love

hosting both our own guests and other skiers for lunch and after-ski, but the guests who are staying at our hotel truly become like family. Our main priority is that they should never hesitate to ask for anything they want.”

“We want them to feel as though they had gone to their friend’s chalet and were staying there with their family,” Samuelsson adds.

After lunch, it’s quiet until people start winding down for the night and drop in for the after ski. “Even if you’re not staying with us, it’s quite convenient to be able to nip in on your way down the slope for a few drinks,” says Winberg. “And then, depending on how long you stay, you can either strap your skis back on or take the ski lift down!”

Work from here While 2020 was a challenging year, the hotel pivoted and started offering a Work From Here package. Rather than work from home, guests could come and stay at the hotel and work from their home away from home, instead. With all the facilities you need to work remotely, plus a ski slope right outside the door, many guests took advantage of the opportunity to work somewhere where their daily lunch walk could instead become a daily lunch ski session. The offering highlights the work Åre has undertaken to ensure that the resort is not just a winter destination, but a yearround destination.“Many of our guests really appreciate the connection to our history and geography. We do plenty of things to highlight that, such as our photo exhibition of the mountains,” Winberg says. “It’s like an oasis for our guests, and this year has really highlighted that what we offer here doesn’t just stop when the ski season does; there’s so much value all year round.”

So while Åre has moved on from the health resort it was when the hotel was first built, Fjällgården is once again a place to come and rejuvenate yourself.

Web: www.fjallgarden.se Instagram: @hotellfjallgarden

A genuine boutique hotel in an outdoor paradise

At the foot of the mountain Funäsdalsberget, and overlooking the lake, is the award-winning Eriksgårdens Fjällhotell, which promises guests an unforgettable experience in a friendly atmosphere, with that something a little bit extra.

Eriksgårdens Fjällhotell is often described as the cosiest and nicest hotel in its region. It was named by MercedesBenz Magazine as one of the most fantastic hotels in the Swedish mountains, and was awarded Sweden’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2020 at the World Ski Awards, a global initiative that recognises and rewards excellence in ski tourism. The hotel has been nominated for this year’s awards too, with winners due to be announced this month.

It all started in 1927, when the doors to Ericssons opened as the very first guest house in Funäsdalen. It was built in a North American style, brought home by one of the Ericsson brothers, who had emigrated to Minnesota where he worked as a builder. Eventually, Ericssons became Eriksgårdens Fjällhotell, now an award-winning ski boutique hotel.

Since 1999, the hotel has been run by Magnus Ruhedorfer, who has heaps of experience from the hospitality industry in both Sweden and Austria. “As this is a small hotel, it becomes more personal and familiar for our guests,” he says. “People appreciate the friendly atmosphere and good vibes amongst the staff, and often describe it as coming home.”

Thriving village with vast outdoor activities Funäsdalen has developed a lot as a tourist destination since he moved there some 20 years ago, says Ruhedorfer, but argues that it’s different from many other ski resorts. “Funäsdalen is a genuine mountain village with around 1,000 inhabitants, who live here all year round. It has all the services you may need and local businesses are collaborating to keep the village alive, but it’s still peaceful and quiet,” he says.

“And when you take the ski lift and get to the top of the mountain, the vastness

is just magnificent,” he continues. “In winter, world-class cross-country skiing and snowmobiling await, and in summer, mountain biking, hiking and fishing are popular activities.”

With the gondola lift just one kilometre away from the hotel, you can easily get to the top of the mountain and its 136 slopes that spread over six main ski areas, and experience 300 kilometres of crosscountry skiing tracks and a whopping 610 kilometres of snowmobiling tracks – the largest system in Europe.

Tasty food and a new relaxing spa experience The hotel’s main restaurant offers breakfast and dinner for hotel guests or via pre-bookings, while Eriks Kök & Bar, an à la carte restaurant and cocktail bar with inspiration from Nordic produce, is open seven days a week also for outside visitors. The hotel’s lobby bar and lounge, meanwhile, is a cosy and comforting place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine by the open fire.

Two years ago, the hotel introduced a fantastic 250-square-metre spa with a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, and no less than three different types of sauna: traditional, steam and infrared. Guests can also indulge in a relaxing massage and other treatments – or just chill out in the calming environment, perfect for the whole family after a day of outdoor adventures.

Web: www.eriksgarden.se Facebook: EriksgardenFunasfjallen Instagram: @eriksgardens_fjallhotell

Photo: Emrik Jansson

A Nordic treat for all the senses

The countdown is on for the 417th edition of Jokkmokk’s Market. Back with a bang after 2021’s fully virtual event, this renowned market is set to once again give visitors a winter experience like no other.

Located in Lapland, the Arctic part of Sweden, Jokkmokk’s Market is built on tradition and attracts up to 50,000 visitors each year. The market, which will run 3-5 February 2022, hosts a range of vendors showcasing locally produced food, clothes, toys and jewellery, as well as hand-crafted products you won’t find anywhere else.

“Our market is much more than just stalls,” explains Birgitta Nilsson, market general. “There are also plenty of events running throughout the market week, like exhibitions, ‘yoik’ singing performances, dog sledding and northern lights tours.”

However, nothing beats the annual reindeer race and reindeer caravan – two market magnets that keep visitors coming back. New for 2022 is a chance to swim in a frozen lake, an activity stretching back centuries and thought to bring health benefits to those who dare to hop in.

The market usually follows a theme, and next year’s reads ‘pure joy, a celebration of life in the north’. In Swedish, the word ‘pure’ is the same as the word for reindeer, and the idea behind the concept is to celebrate both.

Jokkmokk’s Market is a place to meet, experience joy and celebrate tradition, and everyone’s invited. So, for a winter experience like no other, simply look north.

Web: www.jokkmokksmarknad.se Facebook: jokkmokksmarknad

Magical winter days in the Swedish north

Imagine yourself sitting on a reindeer hide spread out on a soft layer of snow, watching Jockfall waterfall infinitely swooshing by. Suddenly, a green shimmer breaks through the star-studded sky, and the northern lights stretch their bright glow above. Now, return to reality and book an unforgettable trip to Jockfall to experience it for real.

Jockfall is a small village nestled into the deep forests of northern Sweden, where tour and camping company Jockfall Fishing and Activities invites visitors from around the world to experience a genuine Norrland winter. Their comfortable, newly built apartments make a perfect starting point for tours and activities in the surrounding area.

Robin Landin, operations manager, says: “We are proud to have created a spot that shares the natural beauty in a relaxing, comfortable and exciting way. Our familiar ambience and tailored tours make it a perfect place to rediscover the wonders of winter like nowhere else.”

Try the snowmobile tour for a thrilling excursion across snow-covered grounds, or the dog sledding tour for a cruise across the landscape. The kick-sledge tour is a perfect way to learn about Jockfall, local culture and traditions, where salmon fishing and nature have always held prime importance.

After a long day of exploring, you’re invited to relax in the spa and enjoy a sumptuous meal in the restaurant, serving dishes with locally sourced meat and fish, as well as extraordinary views of the roaring waterfall and, more often than not, the northern lights gleaming through the panorama windows. Magic awaits.

Jockfall waterfall and northern lights.

Web: www.jockfall.com Instagram: @jockfallet

A hotel experience that combines the old with the new in an Arctic wonderland

When Arthotel Tornedalen had their logo designed, Gunhild Stensmyr, founder and owner of the hotel, wanted it to represent the feeling you get when visiting this secluded Arctic community: a sense of wonder and amazement, the feeling of going back in time, and the beauty that hits you like a December evening.

Stensmyr decided to contact the artist Fredrik Wretman to design their logo – a logo that simply consists of two letters, followed by a promise of something wonderful.

Arthotel Tornedalen was founded in 2009, after Stensmyr came back to her childhood home with a mission to support the community and tell the story of this fascinating, multicultural part of Sweden. Located on the border between Sweden and Finland, the region is bilingual and home to traditions from Sweden, Finland, and the Sami population that all coexist in the area.

“We have traditions from all these cultures, and they have coexisted with the help of the river, which runs between Sweden and Finland and has been feeding the community for centuries. We share our languages, our food, and the nature that surrounds the area,” Stensmyr explains. The friendliest community Arthotel Tornedalen has a strong connection with the community and is proud to work with the amazing people that populate the village. “All our staff at the hotel are locals. We have an incredible chef who can attend to all your culinary needs, we have a handyman who is also a trained nature guide, and we get all of our vegetables, including potatoes, from our own garden,” the owner continues. “If our guests go for hikes along the river, they will most certainly bump into locals who will ask them where they’re from or if they want to stop for a cup of tea. It’s a lovely community.”

Focus on history The hotel consists of four houses, all named after the families that originally built them: Villa Wennberg, Villa Tolonen, House Kristina and Villa Anundi. This is another way in which Stensmyr and Arthotel preserve the history of the area. “It is important to keep the old and combine it with the new,” she says. “The houses carry the names of the families that built them, and their history is combined with comfort and a homely, modern feeling. We want all our guests to feel at home, and like they can move around in our spaces as they wish.”

The new art gallery Stensmyr is currently in the process of creating an art gallery for contemporary art in conjunction with the local history. “The hotel is a part of the art village’s infrastructure, and we want the art gallery to reflect the nature, the people, and the history, once again combining the old with the new.”

Web: www.arthoteltornedalen.se Facebook: Arthotel Tornedalen Instagram: @ah_tornedalen