I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles when phones were rotary and the coolest video game going was Atari Pong. Or maybe it was Pac Man. My point being that there wasn’t a lot to do indoors after school, so we headed outside.
After a quick snack, it was out the door on our bikes or roller skates or skate boards, not to return until the sun was setting. We built forts, climbed trees, played tether ball; we enjoyed the fresh air and freedom for the three hours between school and dusk when our mothers had to drag us inside by our shirt sleeves.
Our fun was finagled out of nothing other than ourselves and, well, dirt and trees.
Climbing trees wasn’t just a boy thing, or maybe it was but I didn’t notice. I liked hanging out up high and watching the world go by below.
Tree houses are iconic. They hold memories of a time gone by, of our childhoods and our children. And nostalgia is intoxicating.
Up, above and away from it all, the tree house offers a natural, peaceful, secluded and special-like-no-other place to relax and contemplate nothing. So when I heard about a hotel of tree houses in Sweden, I needed to know more.
Located 60 km (approx 37 miles) south of the Arctic Circle and just outside the Swedish town of Harads, Treehotel opened this past July to rave reviews. At the time, only four structures were completed, but as of October 2010, there are seven uniquely themed structures – six “rooms” and one Tree Sauna (drawing above).
The project was inspired by the 2008 documentary “Tree Lover” (Trädälskaren):
“…the story of three men from the urban environment who look to get back to their roots by building a tree house together. It is a philosophical film about what “the tree” means to us humans, both historically and culturally.”
Each structure is completely distinct and designed by a different Swedish architect. Each sleeps 2-4 and the sauna holds up to 12 comfortably. Powered by sustainable electricity and equipped with freezer or “incinerator” toilets, they’re attached to the pine trees via an adjustable metal clamp that won’t harm the trees as they grow. I love that part!
The concept and construction are intended to allow for expansion and increased innovations in sustainability. It’s truly an inspired and inspiring spot that I’d love to visit. The Swedish should be proud of this forest retreat.
I could go on for days about each individual house but the gist is this – hip, slick, cool, green, peaceful, respectful, secluded. Now let’s have a closer look at a few of the finest…
The Blue Cone (image above) is a simple, wood constructed two-story cabin colored in red that looks lego-like in its structure and texture.
The Bird’s Nest (image above) is a more complex 3-legged structure that is accessed via a retractable staircase (I really want to walk that staircase!). Its twiggy exterior contrasts distinctly with the modern, minimal design on the interior.
There aren’t words for The Mirrorcube (image above). It’s a lightweight aluminum structure covered with mirrored glass. Kind of unbelievable if you ask me.
And especially remarkable when the interior (image below) is pure plywood with views that go on forever. Dwellers reach the Mirrorcube via a rope bridge.
The Cabin (image above) is another odd looking creature that seems to jut out from the middle of nowhere and sit comfortably amongst the trees. The room is accessed via a footbridge that opens onto a large deck at roof level.
Would you believe me if I told you there were spaceship sightings in Sweden? The UFO (image above) is a newer structure that the creators envisioned would “…have a huge appeal for people with fertile imagination.” You think?
I’m wondering what they’ll come up with next. Clearly, the sky (or tree) is the limit.
The price per night varies depending on which structure you decide to inhabit, but the range is around $600 per night, which includes breakfast. Not your Euro Youth Hostel situation.
But worth its weight in sustainability and 360 degree views, for sure. The Swedish countryside and forest is so spectacular and austere; pure and still. Imagine resting inside one of these rooms and looking out at the trees and water and vastness. Wow.
And of course, the peace of mind, tranquility, silence and relaxation are all free of charge.