There is a peaceful, relaxing ambience as soon as you step into the lobby at VANN Spa Hotel and Conference, which is located northeast of Lysekil on Sweden’s beautiful Bohuslän coast.
Candles, soft music and soothing, natural colours are used in the public areas and reception of this eco-friendly hotel, spa and conference centre to create a sense of wellbeing as you check in.
Our rooms in the 4-star hotel were extremely pleasant – with modern and minimalist design, and with muted, natural tones. The soft but supportive beds – from upmarket Swedish bed manufacturer Carpe Diem – were very comfortable and luxurious.
We had views across the serenely beautiful Gullmar fjord, a nature reserve that provides opportunities for scenic canoeing right from the hotel door (canoes can be hired at Reception). There are also waymarked walking trails in the surrounding woodlands - we wished we’d had more time to explore these, but we were lucky enough to spot a hare as we strolled through the hotel grounds.
Breakfast offers an excellent, healthy range of cold meats, cheeses, bacon, eggs, fruit, cereals and juice – as well as less healthy treats, such as almond croissants, for those planning planning to burn off a lot of calories with a long swim, hike or paddle.
On arrival, like many guests, we headed straight for the spa. Water and light are two important elements here, with a number of pools of varying sizes and temperatures, as well as saunas and steam room. We particularly enjoyed the four small, heated pools – all containing different light spectrums, to soothe and relax. It was great that our (older) children could join us in the spa – it was their first spa experience and they loved every minute! Access for younger children is restricted, although all kids are welcome in the outdoor swimming pool.
The importance of light in the spa is reflected in the huge floor-to-ceiling windows, affording magnificent views of the glistening fjord outside. Enjoy the view from the heated indoor pool, or rest up on a day bed – there’s a range of herbal teas, chilled water and fresh fruit to enjoy while you lounge.
VANN has a commendable commitment to reducing its environmental impact - and more than meets the criteria to be awarded the Swan Nordic Ecolabel. Renewable energy is used to heat the spa facilities in a most unique way: heat is taken from the seabed of the Gullmar fjord and fed into the building via a heat exchange pump, then distributed throughout the building with fans.
Two ponds, containing nitrogen-absorbing, purifying plants, are used for rainwater harvesting, and all waste is sorted and recycled. The hotel works with a number of local food producers to ensure local and organic food is available on the menu whenever possible. Complimentary toiletries provided in the hotel’s bathrooms are also eco-friendly, with 100 per cent recycled bottles.
If you can tear yourself away from the spa, there’s plenty to see and do within a short drive. Nordens Ark wildlife park (below, left), featuring rare and endangered animals and a superb conservation programme is nearby. Or visit the delightful seaside town of Smögen (below, right) where you’ll find colourful fisherman’s cottages and dozens of cafés and boutiques along the lively, pedestrianised wharf.
Double rooms at VANN Spa, Hotel and Conference cost from SEK895 per person, including breakfast and admission to the spa.