Explore the northern lights and the white wintry charms of Scandinavia. Turn the heat up a notch this winter, with these five speculator places:
By Helen Warwick, Deputy Editor, National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Looking for an impossibly cosy hidey hole in the Swedish hinterland? This quirky collection of six treehouses, concocted to the vision of different architects, sets a romantic scene in a Narnia-esque pine forest – whether you hunker down in the UFO, an elliptical spaceship stranded in the trees, or the lofty bird’s nest, encased in entwined branches swaying in the night’s breeze. By day, there’s husky sledding with hot chocolate pit stops, and as darkness descends, naked sauna sessions, cracking homecooked meals and intimate nights set the scene.
Getting naked in your very own ice room might not sound like the most seductive of abodes, but you can’t beat it for kudos – who else can say they’ve hit a sexual high while snuggled up with reindeer furs on an ice bed? Opening for the winter season on 11 December, this year’s crystallised incarnation includes 19 individually themed and hand crafted art suites – each is carved by a different designer during the unforgiving grip of the Swedish winter, before being reduced to melt water by the heat of the spring sun.
For front-row views of the Aurora Borealis, this clutch of 20 envy-inducing glass pods in Inari, northern Lapland, takes a bit of beating. Turn up the heat with Durex’s Warming Lube and snuggle up below the covers and stare open-mouthed through the glass ceiling as the Aurora dances across the night sky. Reindeer safaris, snowmobile trips, ice fishing and husky rides also up the ante.
The Vulkana, Norway
Don’t be fooled by this old fishing trawler moored in Tromso. Below deck this ‘floating spa’ features three cosy cabins, a hamam, a sauna and a sleek zen lounge with an open fireplace and small library. Throw yourself into the icy waters – if you dare – from the seven-metre high diving tower before warming the cockles in the hot tub on deck with stunning views of the northern lights. Bliss.
Hotel Iso-Syote, Finland
The ace card of this bolthole, in the Syote National Park, is the Eagle’s View Suite – a unique chic space with oh-so-incredible vistas of the surrounding white wilderness and a glass ceiling that aurora hunters will relish. The only thing you’ll have to worry about here is where your next tryst will be. From the Jacuzzi and swish lounge to the sauna and opulent bathroom – you and lover are spoilt for choice.