16 April 2020
It would be hard to find a more magical place than the setting for this luxurious buen ritiro. Just outside the small village of Harads in Swedish Lapland, Arctic Bath is an extraordinary resort, melding with the surrounding countryside, floating on the River Lule in the summer months and resting atop the arctic ice in the winter. Its guests can enjoy a full immersion in the unpolluted landscape and total wellbeing, a nirvana for mind and body. The focal point of the complex is the large, circular open-air swimming pool complete with icy water. Water-based therapy is an integral part of the local culture, and cold baths in particular are strongly advised for curing muscular pain, helping the central nervous system and curbing inflammation, especially when alternated with saunas or hot water immersion. The swimming pool is surrounded by hot water pools, three saunas and a spa.
The idea for the hotel complex came from the ancient local timber tradition. The six cabins housing the twelve rooms, in particular, are a direct reference to the felled tree trunks that used to be floated along the river by the current to the sawmills, while the round central structure with its crown of superimposed tree trunks is reminiscent of the abundance of timber that led to blockages and logjams along the rivers. Built from local materials and with minimal environmental impact, each room has its own private entrance leading from a long walkway, and a sort of wooden pontoon-deck overlooking the river, perfect for admiring the midnight sun and the palette of blue to green shades of the northern lights in complete privacy. The complex also includes another six cabins along the tree-lined shore, each with huge picture windows onto the enchanting countryside.
Each of the rooms has been carefully designed with maximum comfort and the wellbeing of both guests and the surrounding countryside in mind. This has been achieved by using only natural, sustainable materials, such as wood, stone, leather and fabrics. The furnishings are all Swedish design pieces, including Karl Andersson and Söner.
Arctic Bath offers a wellbeing experience in the round, starting with the carefully planned set menus using only pure, sustainable local products and ingredients free from pesticides or antibiotics – such as honey, cheeses, meat, fish and aromatic herbs - including a number of Sami dishes deriving from the population that inhabited the northern Scandinavian regions for more than ten thousand years, such as Gahkku, a sort of flatbread and Gompa, a dish made with Arctic angelica and sour milk.
There is a wide range of sports and recreational activities on offer, ranging from yoga to cross country skiing, sleddog tours, moose calling and bear watching. Finally, mindful of mens sana in corpore sano, there’s a wide range of specialised body and facial treatments using carefully selected local botanical products on offer. For those wishing to learn more about the ancient Sami traditions, the hotel can arrange a visit to a lávvu, a traditional tent house, complete with local family lunch, Sami, of course.
The project was put together by the architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, who designed the floating structures, such as the circular swimming pool and the six cabins, while AnnKathrin Lundqvist, a Swedish designer who studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, designed the cabins on terra firma.
Along with other hotel facilities nearby – the Treehotel, Logger’s Lodge, Arctic Retreat and the Aurora Safari Camp - Arctic Bath is one of Lapland’s truly unique destinations. For a well-deserved holiday immersed in light, water and nature.