Inside Arctic Bath, a floating hotel in Swedish Lapland

Find out why this eco-friendly wellness hotel in Sweden is a breath of fresh air

4 mins

The Arctic Bath may have been a long time coming (nearly a decade, in fact), but it was well worth the wait. Travellers to Sweden’s far north can sleep under the swinging lights of the aurora borealis or an undying sun at this cosy wellness retreat, the only one of its kind to freeze into the Lule River in winter and float during summer.

Created by the team behind the nearby Treehotel, much of the Arctic Bath’s charm lies in the unique floating stance of its spa and cabins – the root of its lengthy wait time – and eco-friendly design. Woven from naturally felled local pine and spruce, the circular spa building reflects a log jam in the river: a reminder of the time when the Lule transported timber by the ton.

Arctic Bath provides a wonderful wellness break (Daniel Holmgren)

Arctic Bath provides a wonderful wellness break (Daniel Holmgren)

Arctic Bath hotel suites (Daniel Holmgren)

Arctic Bath hotel suites (Daniel Holmgren)

Beyond that design, you can also trot through snow-brushed forests on horseback or zip across the wilderness by husky, returning back to your cabin (floating or grounded on the tree-lined shore) to cosy up by a roaring fire, before wrapping up warm to sit out on your private deck to take in the northern lights (Aug-March) – the souls of the dead, or so Sweden’s indigenous Sámi people say. Summer visits bring bear-spotting or moose safari expeditions under the midnight sun (May-July).

Refresh yourself with a sauna (and a plunge in the Lule) before dining on the locally sourced Sámi-style menu. With reindeer outnumbering humans three to one, you can expect fresh, smoked or salted meat, but vegetarian dishes are on offer, too. Slow things down further with a quintessentially Swedish fika coffee break with a regional twist: a cheese cube marinating in your brew. This is the time set aside to chew on the good things in life – not difficult on this serene escape to the Arctic.

From around 9,600SEKpp per night (around £780), on a half-board basis, including breakfast, dinner, full spa access and spa kit.

Getting to Arctic Bath: Norwegian offers flights from London Gatwick to Luleå via Stockholm. The shortest journey time is 4 hours and 55 minutes. Transfers from the airport to the retreat can be arranged and take around 75 minutes by car.

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