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UFOs, saunas, and cubes of mirrors have perched in the lofty branches of Sweden's north country. The situation may sound like an intergalactic junkyard, but it's actually one of the most discreet, elegant and beautiful adventure hotels in the world.
Located in the remote Lule River valley, Treehotel has brought together Swedish architectural design, a love of nature and a penchant for adventure to create an exciting yet restive retreat far above the ground floor. Hiking, snowshoeing and dog-sledding are just a rope bridge away from the front door, but the cozy comforts and the distinct, often absurd designs of these rooms are bound to keep residents from straying too far.
A wild idea
Connecting with the great outdoors is a guiding principle for every aspect of Treehotel. According to the lodge's website, the original concept can be traced back to a film called "The Tree Lover," a 2008 movie about three men from the city who decide to build a tree house together. This story led to the idea of a hotel that let people engage with nature while still offering one-of-a-kind housing. These considerations seep into the very fiber of the rooms, with each structure having been incorporated into its surroundings in an eco-friendly manner. No trees were chopped down to create the hotel, electricity is generated from hydroelectric power and even the floors are free of chemical treatments. Though the accommodations only opened in 2010, they have already been featured in major news and travel outlets, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and Travel and Leisure, the latter of which named it one of the coolest tree house hotels in the world.
There are seven different structures, all of them designed by different Swedish architects. Each are a distinct and whimsical expression of the nation's iconic design aesthetic. The Bird's Nest is clad in a striking cubic bramble of branches and sticks. The UFO, meanwhile, makes no attempt to blend in with its natural surroundings. The Cabin is perhaps the most reminiscent of Sweden's minimalist design aesthetic - a smooth, rectangular box of gray and white overlooking the valley. The Mirrorcube, however, is the clear standout, a seemingly hovering glass box that conspicuously but beautifully reflects its surroundings.
No matter where travelers stay, each room is as cozy and comfortable as the welcome they receive from the founders. Residents can share their meals in one of the guest lodgings or having them delivered to their room. There is also a sauna for unwinding after a long day of exploraiton.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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