Arctic Bath, recently opened last January 2020, is an extraordinary new floating spa hotel located on the Lule River near the small village of Harads in Swedish Lapland. Built in a circular shape on the water, Arctic Bath floats during the summer and freezes into ice during the winter, offering visitors a unique year-round Arctic wellness experience, with a giant ice bath in the middle, ringed with three saunas, a spa treatment room and hot baths. Together with Treehotel and other local companies, such as Logger’s Lodge, Arctic Retreat and Aurora Safari Camp, Arctic Bath forms part of a unique micro-destination for luxury travellers in Lapland.
Situated under the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind. At Arctic Bath, the wellness offering focuses on both the inside and the outside. This is part of the four cornerstones of wellness that Arctic Bath encourages; proper nutrition, regular exercise, peace of mind and care of the face and body.
Guests can enjoy a traditional Swedish experience and sample three different saunas, relax in a hot tub with the ultimate hydrotherapy experience, and plunge into the cold arctic bath in the centre of the building for the ultimate wellness experience. Cold baths are part of Swedish Lapland’s culture, helping to ease sore and aching muscles, aid the central nervous system and limit the inflammatory response, especially in combination with the heat of a sauna.
Guests can indulge in various spa treatments in the private treatment room, ranging from massages to facials to body treatments, using natural products from botanically-based Swedish skincare brand Kerstin Florian, containing high levels of antioxidants, minerals and essential fatty acids. Arctic Bath’s signature ‘Spa Ritual’ is to be enjoyed by guests at their own pace in the Arctic Spa, using luxurious Kerstin Florian skin products. Guests are provided with an Arctic Spa Kit, which includes body peeling, a facial mask, foot treatment, face cream and a dry brush, together with detailed instructions for the process. Kerstin Florian is from Sweden and learnt about the use of traditional herbs during a trip to Northern Sweden to meet with mediator of Sámi culture and natural medicine, Laila Spik. Artic Bath will showcase the local Sámi heritage and culture in the spa offering; techniques such as stone massage and botanical extracts used in the Kerstin Florian range have been utilised by the Sámi for millennia.
Arctic Bath also offers a 50-minute facial treatment with ANDA – a new organic, vegan skincare collection by Kerstin Florian. The rejuvenating facial treatment for instant younger-looking skin starts with mediation, followed by a deep cleanse of the skin and a peeling. Specialised massage using genuine jade tools improve circulation, stimulate lymphatic drainage and release toxins, enhancing skin’s natural hydration. Fascia is released, puffiness reduced, and clarity enhanced, leaving skin smoother, tighter and more radiant.
A visit to Arctic Spa includes a bathrobe, bathing suit or shorts and natural spa products included in the Spa Ritual, all of which guests can take home after their stay as a special reminder of their visit. The eco-friendly bathing suits, shorts and spa robes are designed by Arctic Bath designer and founder, AnnKathrin Lundqvist.
The 12-room floating hotel is inspired by the timber-floating era when felled trees were transported downriver for processing, with the main building being inspired by a ‘log jam’. Constructed using local materials and with very little impact on the environment, there is a flotilla of six floating cabins for couples near the water’s edge, offering private access from the shore via a foot bridge and outside wooden decks, ideal for relaxing under the midnight summer sun or keeping watch for the northern lights. There are also six larger, elevated cabins built on the tree-lined shore, three of which sleep up to five guests and three suites sleeping two people. The land cabins boast glass walls offering perfect views of the stunning landscape and northern sky.
Each room at Arctic Bath has been thoughtfully designed with a high level of comfort and luxury in mind, in keeping with the overall wellness focus. The surrounding nature has been incorporated into the cabins and suites with the use of natural, sustainable materials with a rich history such as wood, stone, leather and luxurious textiles. Arctic Bath has collaborated with a number of Swedish design brands for both furniture and lighting; Atelje Lyktan has produced bespoke lighting – called Kvast – for the hotel, lounge furniture has been supplied by karl Andersson och Söner and Swedese and beds are by Carpe Diem.
The floating part of the hotel – including the circular cold bath and six guest rooms – has been designed by architects Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, who were also involved in the design of the nearby Treehotel. Ann Kathrin Lundqvist, a Swedish designer educated at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco with expertise in fashion, accessories, furniture and interior, has designed all of the six land cabins.
The ethos of the restaurant at Arctic Bath is local, pure and sustainable. Chefs prepare a daily changing five or six course set menu for dinner, based on local ingredients and inspired by Arctic Bath’s wellness focus, with signature dishes including lightly smoked capercaillie, Gahkku (Sámi flat bread) and Gompa (a Sámi dish with Arctic Angelica and sour milk). Breakfast is a selection of local breads, meats and cheeses from nearby Jokkmokk and Voullerim. Arctic Bath has handpicked the best local craft beer from Piteå and Luleå, and selected wines to accompany the food, together with a fantastic selection of healthy smoothies made from selected fruit, berries and vegetables.
The culinary team at Arctic Bath is led by Kristoffer Åström and Maarten De Wilde. Kristoffer Åström has made a name for himself as “the Sámi chef” (samiska kocken) in Sweden, introducing Sámi flavours, produce and cooking techniques to a number of fine dining restaurants across the country. Since his early childhood, Sámi cuisine been an integral part of his life and was the inherent foundation to build upon when starting his career as a chef. Kristoffer will bring his love for the Sámi kitchen to the guests of Arctic Bath and share his passion for local and sustainable food from Swedish Lapland. Maarten De Wilde, born and raised in Dendermonde, Belgium, is a creative, self-made chef who has not benefited from traditional culinary training. Maarten prides himself on creating classic dishes with a modern twist, looking for new flavour combinations starting with homemade and local products.
Local products used at Arctic Bath include dairy products, honey, beef and fresh herbs from Voullerim (40km from the restaurant), chicken and lamb from Strömnäsgården (10km from the restaurant), oil and mustard from nearby Tornedalen and reindeer, moose, wild birds, fish, berries and dried herbs from the surrounding nature in Norrbotten. All of the meat and fish served at the hotel comes from the wild, so there are no traces of pesticides or antibiotics.
All hotel guests are guaranteed a seat in the restaurant, which seats 22 – 24 and boasts custom-made pine walls, wood ceiling and Baltic grey limestone floors, together with selected furniture from designer brands such as Stolab, Blå station, Norrgavel, although Arctic Bath will occasionally accept outside bookings. Guests can meet up for dinner, have a drink in the bar area, or relax in the lounge.
Activities on offer will range from yoga, mindfulness, meditation and spa, to dogsledding, snow shoe hiking, cross country skiing, fat bike excursions, bear watching, horseback riding and wildlife photography, amongst others. Guests can also try their hand at moose calling with local guide Mikael who has over 30 years of calling experience and is able to summon a moose by impersonating a range of elk. What’s more, the Northern Lights colour the skies of Swedish Lapland between August and March and Arctic Bath is ideally placed for experiencing this natural phenomenon.
For almost 10,000 years the Sámi people have lived in Arctic nature in northern Scandinavia and this indigenous culture is still very much alive. Guests of Arctic Bath will have the opportunity to discover the Sámi culture first hand with an excursion to Anna Kuhmunen’s home – a young Sámi woman who lives in the local area with her family. Brought up with reindeer herding, Anna has a vast amount of local knowledge and offers guests a unique insight into an ancient culture. In the lávvu (tent house) guests will sit around the fireplace and listen to stories and joik (traditional Sámi singing), whilst being served a three course meal prepared over an open fire with locally produced ingredients, before heading out to feed the reindeer. The camp is situated just outside of Jokkmokk, close to the Arctic Circle – a one hour drive from Arctic Bath.
Arctic Bath is also working with local wild herb expert Eva Gunnare, providing the opportunity to get close to the healing nature of Sámi culture. For the last 10 years Eva has probed deeply into the local wild green larder, getting to know more about edible and healthy Arctic plants. Eva will take guests for a short walk into the forest and down to the stream near her house. After the walk, guests will be warmed by the fire in the kitchen with homemade herbal teas, listening to stories and healing songs.
The concierge team will be available to assist guests with booking all activities, as well as transfers, treatments and any additional requests.