Images and text by Gabrielle. Some photos by Ben Blair too!
Okay you guys, before the trip gets too far away from me, I have two more Sweden posts! Today’s post is all about where we stayed once we left the city and started exploring the coast. In tomorrow’s post I’ll share our full itinerary, including museums and restaurants.
There are 5 amazing accommodations we got acquainted with in West Sweden as we explored — Salt & Sill on Tjorn Island, Lådfabriken Bed & Breakfast, Evert’s Boathouse in Grebbestad, and Victoriahuset Hotel at Läckö Castle — plus one bonus spot: the Guest Studios at the Nordic Watercolor Museum. I think finding a place to stay is the hardest part of any trip, so for those of you wanting to see Sweden, hopefully this will take some of the planning burden from your shoulders.
First up, my favorite one to photograph, Lådfabriken Bed & Breakfast. I took a TON of photos at this home. In fact, everything you see pictured before the “click through” is from Lådfabriken. I told the owners it was the coolest house I had ever been to, and I meant it.
The B&B is run by Marcus and Johan. They’ve put their heart and soul into the place, slowly transforming it over the past 7 years. Every knob, every fixture, every surface was lovingly pondered, and most additions/renovations are totally custom — designed and fabricated especially for this house.
They opened it to guests about a year and half ago. Though it looked perfect to me, they told me the house still has many projects ahead and they consider it to be at “toddler” stage — much more growth and change until the house is an “adult”. Hah!
The B&B has 3 guest bedrooms, each one ridiculously charming, and each with their own bathroom. The bedroom we stayed in can be converted for a family — there’s a king size bed, and two twin size beds that hide in the wall. And the bookshelves include cute selections for the kids.
The back of the house opens onto a beautiful garden that is steps away from the sea — you can take an early swim in the ocean before breakfast! Johan said that kids love to spend the day on that beach catching tiny crabs and then releasing them.
I highly recommend a stay at Lådfabriken. The whole house will inspire you, and it’s worth the trip just to meet Marcus and Johan! I love that by staying here, you get to have conversations with actual locals. So often when we’re traveling, we really don’t get to talk to anyone except the hotel desk clerk — so I loved having conversations over breakfast with the hosts and the other guests and asking all my Swedish cultural questions.
If you’re worried about not speaking Swedish, don’t be. Johan is Swedish, but commutes to Boston, and Marcus is from The Netherlands. They actually speak to each other in English. : )
The second place I want to share with you is called Salt & Sill. It’s a floating hotel!
The story with Salt & Sill is that the owners had already established one of the finest seafood restaurants in West Sweden (I talk about our dinner there here). They wanted to add a hotel to the restaurant location, but the available land didn’t make sense, so in 2008, they built a floating hotel instead! It’s an eco-friendly hotel and when they built it, they also created an underwater reef to support marine life.
The yellow building is hotel check in, and the brown buildings at the back of the photo are the floating hotel rooms. Throughout the night, we could feel the building gently rocking on the water. Lovely.
The hotel rooms are designed facing the water, and you can jump in for a swim at anytime. Ben Blair took a dip before dinner!
The other fun thing about this hotel, is that there is a floating sauna as well. While we were there, it was docked near the hotel and guests were going back and forth between the hot sauna and the cold sea water. Apparently, the sauna/boat can be taken out into the archipelago — you can schedule a sauna anywhere!
The next hotel I want to share with you is called Everts Sjöbod which translates to Evert’s Boathouse. Staying at Evert’s feels like an adventure. The yellow part of the building is 130 years old — it has big open rooms for gatherings or parties, and seafood feasts are hosted there regularly.
The brown portion of the building is newly built and houses 6 hotel rooms plus modern kitchens.
Guests at Everts Sjöbod often like to stay for several days or a week, so they use these gorgeous new kitchens to cook their own food — perhaps even the seafood they caught on a fishing adventures with the owners.
When the current owners — two brothers — bought the place, it was full of antique fishing accessories, all sea-worn and aged to perfection. They kept everything and used all the artifacts as decoration. So the whole place is packed with a million wonderful details. I took too many photos!
The brothers keep two gorgeous wooden boats, made in the 1950’s, docked at the hotel. They take guests and tourists out to the sea for fishing adventures and sightseeing daily.
On the dock, they have two wood hot tubs. During the winter, they are filled with sea water and heated. Guests go from the hottub to the ocean and back in the hot tub again. We want to visit in the winter just to do this! : )
Fourth, the one-with-nature Victoriahuset Hotel at Läckö Castle.
This is a new hotel, opened in May 2013. It’s located alongside Lake Vänerns (Sweden’s biggest lake, Europe’s third biggest) and functions as the visitor center for the Djurö National Park. It faces Läckö Castle which dates from the 16th century.
The architecture of this hotel is stunning, and the whole building is built around a nature theme. The materials are all natural. As you walk down the hallway, nature sounds play from hidden speakers. The ceiling is a layer of woven sticks.
The lobby has interactive displays about the National Park.
The hotel has bikes for guests to borrow, and we spent a morning exploring the grounds of the National Park.
Then we rented a canoe and went for a row in the lake with the castle for a backdrop. We loved every minute of our time there!
Here’s a bonus one! The fifth place I want to make sure to tell you about is the Guest Studios at the Nordic Watercolor Museum (I’ll talk more about the Museum itself in tomorrow’s post). We didn’t actually stay here but the studios really caught our imaginations. They’re big! Two stories each, and they aren’t quite a hotel. You bring your own sheets, or rent them from the museum, and you clean up after yourself as well.
Our museum guide mentioned that artists get half off on Guest Studio rentals. So awesome! Wouldn’t it be amazing to come here and paint? The location is jaw-dropping. The studios are just across the water from the museum.
So, that’s the report of the amazing places to stay we encountered. I’d love to hear — do any of these places seem particularly appealing to you? And when you travel, are you more likely to pick one hotel and use it as a base, or do you like to move around and try different accommodations?
P.S. — You can find all the posts from our Sweden trip here. If you need more help in planning your own visit, I highly recommend The Visit Sweden website, and also the West Sweden website.
7 thoughts on “Visit Sweden: The Five Coolest Places to Stay on the West Coast”
I’ve been considering a Scandinavian summer break for ages and this has made the idea even more tantalising.
I have been planning a holiday to Denmark during the next northern winter to visit a friend who moved there recently from Australia. It is such a long way away I have been thinking about what else to do while we are in Scandinavia and you have answered my pondering. Thank you.
PS i can’t wait for the next post with the full itinerary!
Yay! So glad I could help. Denmark is on my travel list. I have loved every bit of Scandinavia I’ve seen!
Thank you for this post! We’ve been talking about doing a European delivery through Volvo for awhile now (loved your post on Volvo by the way :) and this post is totally going to be used as our “where to stay” guide. Thanks for doing all the leg work for me ;)
What amazing places to stay. I’d love to visit all of these!
The colours of Lådfabriken are just gorgeous. So Scandinavian. I think I’d take a ton (or tonne, as I’m used to spelling it!) of photos there too :)
And the idea of a floating hotel? Wow!
Hoping to make it to Sweden one day…
Oh Gabby! You’re posts about Sweden have me itching to go!
I love all the good design featured in in this post. The conscious integration and respect for nature also fascinates me. It must be so enriching to grow up in a country and culture where good design is part of everyday life. I can’t help but think of how it infuses their world view and begets more great design and innovation.
Thank you! I am planning a month long sabbatical for my hubby and I and our four kids for next summer and we want to spent a week in Sweden’s west coast. We are planning to rent a house and take day trips; where do you suggest we stay?