As part of my recent visit to Stockholm, I was invited to Djurönäset to enjoy ‘relaxation the archipelago way’. I was intrigued, and excited to get a taste of Sweden outside of Stockholm – and who could turn down the chance to spend the night at the 4-star hotel!
Djurönäset – A World Away From Stockholm
Having arrived in Stockholm the previous day, I had time to do a little research before I was picked up to go to Djurönäset. I learned that the Stockholm archipelago is made up of some 30,000 islands, forming a maze of waterways before finally opening into the Baltic sea. And once we had set off, immediately after leaving the city I felt a world away from Stockholm, as we drove through forests and passed by sapphire blue lakes & quaint wooden houses.
When I arrived at Djurönäset, I admit I felt a little disappointed – the appearance of the hotel from the outside was clearly more functional than aesthetic. However, as soon as I stepped inside the building, the high ceilings, wooden flooring & spacious lobby dispelled any reservations I had, and I regretted my initial judgement.
My stomach was rumbling as it was nearly 2pm, so I left my bag in the luggage storage and headed straight to the Boat House, Djurönäset’s summer restaurant on the shores of the Baltic.
The Boat House has an area inside, although that day it wasn’t set up for dining. Outside, under the protection of a retractable roof, and polythene windows to shield from the wind, you still get the feeling of being outdoors. Indeed when the sun came out it was wonderful to sit and admire the view. Hammocks and a swing chair hung from the nearby trees, swaying gently in the breeze. The water was a beautiful blue, and a couple of boats were tethered near the dock, bobbing up and down as the waves lapped along the shore. It certainly was relaxing!
I ordered the cold poached salmon for lunch, which came with a salad of Swedish new potatoes and a glorious dollop of horseradish mayonnaise. The salmon was exquisite – it was perfectly cooked, and the mayonnaise had just enough kick to be enjoyed with the salmon, and the chunky bread provided on the table.
After lunch I sat for a while and admired the view, feeling rather pleased with myself, and then went to explore the rest of the grounds. The hotel is on a narrow archipelago, and has access to the water on both sides, via a series of footpaths that meander through the forest. A little further along from the restaurant was a path leading to a little hut on the water’s edge. Further investigation revealed a sauna, and two outdoor hot tubs – I would definitely visit those later!
Djurönäset – Getting to Know the Hotel
I returned back to the main hotel building to check in, and went to find my room. I had discovered that the design of the Djurönäset was actually decided by a competition, and the winning design was named “Fresh Air”. The hotel is spread across several different buildings, with the bedrooms separate from the lobby and restaurant area, meaning that guests have to get out into the fresh air as they move around the hotel. Umbrellas are provided in case of rain! The hotel was primarily designed as a corporate hotel for conferences and team building events, so the rooms are in separate blocks, each with their own lounge area, meeting rooms and kitchen area for coffee breaks. The hotel does lend itself very well to the leisure guest though, with plenty of areas to relax both in and around the hotel, and of course outside in the fresh air.
My bedroom was simple, it was a single room but pristinely decorated, with views of the forest. The colours ooze relaxation too, pale green and birch wood mirror the colours of nature outside my window. A flat-screen TV was in the room, although I didn’t use it, and plenty of toiletries were supplied. I changed into my swimsuit and headed back down to the shore for a dip in the hot tub!
The hot tubs are heated by wood burning stoves, so check with reception when they will be ready for use. It was a most pleasant way to spend the afternoon, lounging in the hot water, admiring the beautiful view. Brave souls can alternate between the hot tubs and the chilly Baltic sea for an invigorating experience, but I preferred to sit back and enjoy the scenery. After a long soak, I changed and called in at the Boat House again for a glass of wine. The sun was getting lower, but I knew there were still a few hours of daylight left to enjoy. The restaurant hosts live music a couple of nights a week, and tonight two enthusiastic ladies were crooning easy listening music as I supped my wine.
We had booked dinner for 8pm; I was with a group so we were served a set menu of steak tartare, poached fish with new potatoes and a key lime pie for dessert. The waitress was excellent, very attentive, and suggested wines for each dish, which were the perfect accompaniment to the food. I loved it! If this was how cuisine is in Sweden, I was ready to make the most of it! After a leisurely meal we sadly missed the sunset, which I’m told is delightful from the Boat House, as the sun dips below the horizon it gleams across the water. It was still pretty by the time we got there, the fading light still glowing in the distance.
I retired to bed, and slept soundly. The bed was soft and cozy, and I snuggled into the duvet to dream the night away, thoroughly relaxed and happy.
Djurönäset – Breakfast and a Submarine Adventure
The following morning I met my fellow guests for breakfast – a plentiful buffet of hot items from soft boiled eggs to sausage and bacon, and a huge array of cold items including cereals, cheeses & cured meats, pate, gravadlax, yoghurt and granola, and much more. Continuing the theme of delicious food, I went back for seconds of the pate and cheese, unable to exercise any kind of restraint!
After breakfast though, I had a special appointment so didn’t gorge myself for too long. The hotel is the home of an ex Swedish Navy submarine. Well, really it was designed as a sonar target for the navy, but after cutbacks it was never used. Now owned by Lasse of crashdive.se, the submarine docks on the shore of the hotel, and can be rented out by guests to enjoy an underwater exploration of the bay around the hotel. I had never been in a submarine before, and although I was apprehensive I couldn’t help but be excited at the prospect of diving beneath the surface to see what lurked in the water below! Lasse was friendly and professional, and helped my companion and myself to descend into the hold. The submarine is tiny, suitable for a maximum of 4 people, including the captain. We were just three, so thankfully had a little more space!
I admit I was a little nervous, but I was transfixed by the tiny porthole where we could watch the green water, bubbles and the shells on the bottom of the sea. I only saw one fish, and sadly we didn’t have time to investigate the nearby shipwreck, but I loved it! It felt a bit like snorkelling, without getting wet – I imagine diving is a similar sensation. When we popped back up to the surface we took photos and were given a submariner’s certificate, which I am very proud of! The submarine is one of only three in the world that are docked at hotels, so be sure to try this once in a lifetime experience at Djurönäset!
Flushed from my success under water, I headed back to the hotel lobby, and sadly had to leave and return to Stockholm. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Djurönäset, and was reluctant to go! There was still so much more to do; book a massage, explore more of the trails around the archipelago, swim in the pool and relax in the sauna… and enjoy more delicious food!
My stay at Djurönäset was complimentary, and all opinions are my own.
You can visit the hotel’s website here
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