Shelter: Treehotel

We're looking to Sweden for Northern Lights, meatballs, and dream treehouse getaways
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Feb 16, 2015 | By Liv Combe

Sometimes the best way to get through the doldrums of late winter isn't to fight the snow and the cold; it's to embrace it. Which is why we're fantasizing about hunkering down in any of the surreal, fairytale-esque treehouse rooms at Treehotel in northern Sweden. 

Just 60 kilometers or so south of the Arctic Circle, Treehotel is made up of six treehouse rooms, a sauna, and one (land-based) guesthouse where guests check in and out. The owners, Britta and Kent Lindvall, opened Treehotel in 2010 with the intention of creating a place where they and their guests could interact with nature without harming or altering it. Today, their treehouse rooms have grabbed the attention of Tumblrs everywhere — not to mention anyone looking to harmonize getting back to nature with all the amenities of modern design. 

For each of the room, the Lindvalls tasked a different renowned Scandinavian architect with creating a room that you couldn't find anywhere else in the world. So scroll through. Take your pick. And reserve here

Accessible by a long bridge meandering through the centuries-old pine forest, the Cabin can play host to two people with a double bed, bathroom, and a terrace with some pretty spectacular views over the Lule River in the valley below. 

With a focus on sustainability, the Lindvalls made sure to use the most local, eco-friendly building materials. The natural wood floors are heated from underneath, electricity is supplied through hydroelectric power, lighting is a low-energy LED system, and each room is equipped with a combustion toilet that incinerates waste at 600 degrees Celsius.

When the Lindvalls told their architects that every room must be unique, they meant it. The Mirrorcube is an especially stunning example — a four meter by four meter by four meter cube whose walls are covered in reflective glass, making the cabin at once blend into the scenery and stand out from its surroundings. The interior is made of plywood and birch, and the room's six windows give guests a panoramic look out over the valley. 

(Worried about the birds? The Mirrorcube is covered in an infra-red film that, while invisible to the human eye, keeps the local wildlife from flying into it.)

Accessible by staircase, the Bird's Nest looks like, well, a gigantic bird's nest. In this room, you can escape into the bundle of branches, pull up the retractable staircase, and hunker down in the structure's cozy 17 square meters. 

None of the room have kitchens, so guests of the Treehotel take their meals at Britta's Guesthouse. A five-minute walk from the forest where the tree rooms are, this is the same location where guests check in and out with the Lindvalls. If you're feeling the solitude, skip the group time and have your meals brought directly to your room. 

No, you're not color blind. Painted a bright, vibrant red, the Blue Cone stands out in the Swedish woods like something out of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Rooted to the ground at three points, the ramp leading up to this traditional Swedish structure makes it the only wheelchair-accessible room at the Treehotel. 

As the exteriors of the Treehotel rooms are unique, so are each of the interiors. The Blue Cone boasts a particularly modern, Scandiniavian design when it comes to its minimalist furniture and natural lighting.

After building the Bird's Nest, which works to blend into its surroundings, the Lindvalls wanted to create something that didn't fit in at all. And what, they decided, could be more foreign than a UFO? 

With sleeping space for two adults and three children, the 30 square meters of the UFO are cast in a durable composite materials to make sure the structure is at once durable and light. Wondering what you could possible do in the Swedish woods for a week with a family? Treehotel offers dozens of activities based on the season, from dogsledding to kayaking on the river. 

Weighing in at 22 metric tons and measuring 52 square meters, the Dragonfly is Treehotel's largest room. The interior is made of wood, with a sheet-metal exterior designed to slowly rust and turn brown as the room blends into its surroundings. 

The Dragonfly can be reserved for private groups or for conferences. If you're booking for the latter, make sure you spend an afternoon in the Treehotel's Tree Sauna, which can fit up to eight people. 

Liv Combe has never stayed in a Swedish treehouse. It's now at the top of her list.
She's an Editor at Huckberry in San Francisco.
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Images ©: Gojojo; 1. Matador Network, 2. Universe of Luxury; 3. Travel Channel; 4. Treehotel; 5, 8. The Travel Liz; 6. Twisted Sifter, 7. Nowness; 9. Swedish Lapland; 10, 12. Yatzer; 11. Outdoor Buzz; 13.