Seeing the Aurora Borealis is the dream of many and doing so in a cozy and luxurious log nest in Sweden goes beyond all expectations. The first spa and floating hotel in the Arctic opened in January 2020. Artic Bath, located in the Lule River, north of Lapland in Sweden, offers its guests a unique and different experience throughout the year.
Inspired by the Scandinavian landscape, architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi designed a particular nest of logs and wood that during the summer floats over the Lule while its guests enjoy the midnight sun and, in the winter, lies on the frozen river covered by the breathtaking view of the Aurora Borealis.
This high-end and extremely sophisticated tourist destination is an example of how the use of natural resources, without ecological impact, capitalizes on the extreme climatic conditions of a place that everyone dreams about, but that only a few can access.
A giant nest
The aerial view of this particular and fully ecological construction resembles the nest of a bird that has fallen over the river in a country of giants, being the first floating hotel in the world. Artic Bath is constituted by a series of wood modules that are connected to each other and form an almost completely enclosed ring that, although it is anchored in the river, communicates with the surface through a walkway made of wood as well. Also, a series of internal and external bathrooms that surround a fully outdoor deep pool are arranged in the magnificent construction.
Built with local materials, the nest houses a restaurant, lounge bar, dressing rooms, a small shop, four saunas, and the spa room that offers massages, hot stone therapies, detox, physical rehabilitation, relaxation, and shower rooms. All spaces exhibit quadrangular windows that integrate the stunning landscape into each activity.
Free but connected
This building is joined by 6 surrounding cabins to accommodate visitors. These cabins also float freely over the river and are connected to the surface through walkways.
Designed by Annkathrin Lundqvist and with capacity for 5 people, the cabins have a geometric inspiration that contrasts with the nature-inspired design of the central nest. These are 62 square meters cabins with windows on the roof that will allow guests to enjoy the Aurora Borealis from the warmth of their rooms, decorated with the most exquisite taste and textiles of very high quality that are locally produced. Besides, the hotel also offers more private cabins for two people that are built on land, with large windows that integrate the predominant white vegetation to the cozy rooms.
In this way, guests can enjoy the sense of community of being gathered around the nest pool, having the experience to float over the river while they sleep in the summer or feel lost in the Arctic without getting too far away from a space that offers luxury, comfort, technology, and sophistication.
Wood as the protagonist
The logs that floated over the Lule River and laid piled up downstream served as inspiration for the design of this unique hotel, but local wood was another inspirational element. Wood is the main building material for a space that doesn’t incur in any ecological damage and that at the same time provides an opportunity for development in terms of elite tourism to an incredibly beautiful region. This ecological tourism that takes advantage of the natural resources of the regions and becomes sustainable, is also the focus of architectural developments of high standards such as the Artic Bath.
Wood is present as a building material and as a decorative element in all spaces, maintaining the rustic and natural touch that such a building should have and that also adds some warmth to an extremely cold environment.