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This Floating Swedish Hotel Has a Sailing Sauna

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Tjörn, Sweden, 471 51
September 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

Sweden's Salt & Sill sits -- or should we say floats -- on the western coast of the country and is more of an inn than a hotel, sporting only 23 rooms with 46 beds.

It was built upon pontoons and sailed to its current location in 2008 (shown above), where it is tied (very tightly!) to the dock in a calm inlet on the rocky island of Tjorn, about an hour’s drive from Gothenburg. It was the first floating hotel built in Sweden, and while other locations within the country have begun to experiment with prototypes of the concept, it is the only one of its kind that is fully functional.

The islands off the coast of Sweden are relatively unknown to North American travelers, which is exactly what makes them such a great place to visit. You won’t find any high-rise hotels, and the rocky coastline squashes any worry of overdevelopment. Visiting them feels like you’ve stumbled upon an old fishing village where time refuses to catch up.

Salt & Sill embodies the area with its simplicity and emphasis on the sea, both in terms of its personality and cuisine. In the restaurant, you’ll find the Swedish staples – herring and smoked salmon, for example – and your days are filled with kayaking, boating, and walks by the sea. Summer is by no means long in Sweden, but the coastline is as beautiful as any when the sun does decide to come out.

So, about that floating sauna, a two-floor boat that is decked out with not only a sweat room, but also a bedroom, full bath, living room, and a top deck for sunbathing and sightseeing. Upon request, you can enjoy some or all of these amenities as the boat cruises along the coastline. A mini-spa cruise, if you will.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the price tag currently limits to it to large groups for day use and special occasions for an overnight. While guests can use the sauna when it is docked for $23, the price jumps to over $1,800 as soon as the boat leaves the dock. The price is what it costs to sauna and sail for two hours because you have to rent out the whole thing and pay for the hire of the captain -- clearly an experience the hotel is reserving for groups and special occasions.

We were really excited about the floating sauna concept upon arriving at the hotel, and you can imagine our disappointment to find out we wouldn't be able to sail. It’s a shame to see something so unique – and so heavily advertised – not realistically available to individual travelers. The Salt & Sill is still relatively young, though, and we hope they soon find a way to remedy this, even if it’s something as simple as anchoring somewhere just offshore from the hotel.

That feedback aside, find and stay at this cozy, floating getaway with confidence as a one or two night add-on to any trip that brings you to Gothenburg. Or better yet, road trip around the western coast as Tjorn is only one of many small islands in the region. Island hopping in Sweden? You betcha.

Rates for the Salt & Sill start at $350/night during the summer months.

Disclaimer: We were on assignment for another publication when visiting the Salt & Sill, but all opinions are our own.

[Photos: Salt & Sill/Will McGough]

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