Dry land is so last year. The daring Swedish hotel that free-floats in a river in summer and is frozen into the ice during winter has finally opened to the public.
Designed to give visitors a front-row seat to the Northern Lights phenomenon, Arctic Bath bobs on the surface of the Lule River, a small channel near the village of Harads in Swedish Lapland, almost 1000 kilometres north of Stockholm.
Connected to the mainland by a simple boardwalk, the reception area houses four saunas, a spa treatment room and a central, open-air plunge bath that’s a chilly 3.8 degrees Celsius – although summer promises a much more welcoming dip for guests who aren’t that thick-skinned. It’s here, in this ceiling-free circle, that visitors can wait patiently for the light show that is aurora borealis.
If the occasionally elusive lights don’t appear during your stay, don’t worry – the hotel itself is also marvel to behold. The seemingly haphazard adornment of logs around its outer edges evokes a natural dam and nods to the country’s thriving forest industry.
The varied rooms are equally as intriguing. Designed by Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, the same visionaries behind the Bird’s Nest at nearby Treehotel in the Swedish forest of Harads, Arctic Bath accommodates its guests in a few different room types; some cabins are strewn across the river bank and connected to land by thin walkways, some lofts are steady on land and boast five bedrooms and one sprawling suite is practically a small apartment, complete with floor to ceiling windows and a deep soaking tub.
Keen to be one of the lucky few? Bookings are already open.
This article was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.