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Pummelled or Pampered on the Swedish Coast


The annual winter visit to my native country Sweden was coming up and I could see two weeks of endless visits to tired relatives and long lost friends on the agenda. I wouldn’t like to change it for anything, but traditions are for the folks and I fancied doing something new and different with my near and dear. After negotiating with my mum what we could do within the budget and time spectrum we had, we agreed to pamper our winter-wrecked bodies with a weekend visit to a spa hotel. Together, with dad who had no interest in having any spa treatments whatsoever, we decided to go to Bastad on the Swedish west coast where dad, whose only interests in life is boats and food could enjoy the harbour and walks on the beach together with a nice hotel restaurant and bar.

Hotel Skansen is situated in Bastad right next to the Kattegatt ocean on the Swedish west coast 15 nautical miles from Denmark (1 nautical mile is 18 km).  The hotel looks out onto the bay and endless miles of white beaches and turbulent sea and the seabirds don’t let us forget them! Bastad is a quit characteristic place to host a spa and this part of Scandinavia has been an oasis for relaxation and boosting of peoples well being and energy resources for centuries. So when Hotel Skansen decided to expand the hotel and build a spa on their premises that caused more of a ripple than a stir among the 2000 inhabitants. After a careful restoration of the building that dates back to 1877, the spa was ready to welcome their first guests in 2001.

Pampered in posh white towelling robes and matching soft soundless slippers we leave our room for a new experience in the spa world. The spa has a Japanese theme to it and grey marmot together with a ground sitting pool with steamy water is the first eye-catching feature as we enter. Relaxing decks chairs are spread out all over the spa together with bowls of fruit and refreshing jugs of drinking water from healthy wells in the country. The guests are lying in their chairs or in the Japanese pool reading or just relaxing listening to the classical music with closed eyes and smiles of pure satisfaction. This area of the spa is not a place for the chatty ones and I suspect that people are to chill out to talk. After a joyful swim in the bigger pool we return to the relaxing area and the hot Japanese pool and wait for our therapist to take us to their rooms of magic. Out of 40 something treatments I decide to go for a seawater therapy and algae wrap, mum tries a traditional Swedish massage and a facial. I find the seawater therapy relaxing and it massages my muscles in a pleasant way. The algae wrap on the other hand make me feel like a Egyptian mummy and is actually not relaxing in any shape, way or form, but I’m sure it is good for you. Mum on the other hand can’t praise her treatments enough and call out to say she feels ten years younger.

Two hours later walking back to our rooms with the skin of a babies and minds of a saints a united decision is made to wait with the more active part of the spa to the following day.

In this part of the world minimalism is a word of honour and Hotel Skansen is an excellent example of this traditional Scandinavian style. The common areas have timeless wooden floors and light coloured walls and relaxing sofas. The restaurant is no exception from this comfortable and homely style. All tables have a postcard like view over the beach and the sea and the two different a la carte kitchens can guarantee something delicious for all tastes and liking.

Treating myself after a healthy day I decide to go for a three courser, starting with prawns, grounding with lamb and finishing with crème Brule, terrific! Coffee is taken in front of the open fire and I have a strong sense of well being when and health when I jump into bed that night.
The restaurant hosts a broad menu and an impressive wine list. Since entering the European Union, Sweden has had to cut down on the beer and wine prices and is today competitive with the rest of Europe.

I wake unto gentle fall of snow outside my window. After a massive breakfast and a quick stroll on the beach I decide against stick walking, qui gong and yoga and put my gym clothes on and make a move to the gym and finish this exhausting session with a gentle swim in the pool. I know myself and why I am here, to feel good, relax and be a bit lazy and the remaining time of my visit I’m going to check out Bastad.

Bastad is a characteristic smaller Swedish west coast town with pretty houses and cottages wood and stone in characteristic light colours with panorama windows to let the famous Nordic light in. By this time of the year the place is calm and some of the streets almost deserted and for those who want a place booming with people, party and sun the summertime is better time to come here.

The Swedish Open, the international tennis tournament held yearly in July is an excellent opportunity to visit for those who enjoy a bit of a buzz, by this time, Bastad is heaving and it is advisable to book hotel and tennis tickets in early advance.

Bastad has a high street with small individual shops, boutiques and art gallery’s together with plenty of coffee places, bistros and restaurants. Next time I come here I shall swim in the sea and sit on the restaurants terraces but for now I couldn’t be happier with the snow and the warmth of my comfortable hotel and its spa. Refreshed and ultimately relaxed I could now go back to my Swedish base camp and get on with the rest of the visits and catch-ups.

Bastad is perfectly situated on the Swedish west coast and is fast becoming a booming region for tourists in northern Europe, offering not only nice spa retreats but also city breaks, tennis, golf, cycling, walking, wildlife, sailing and canoeing.

Useful information

Sweden is easily accessible with flights from all major airports in the UK and also hosts excellent communal transports, which makes it easy to get around the country. Most Swedes speak English and are very proud of their country and happy to assist foreign visitors to find their way around. Sweden is a member of the European Union since 1994 but the currency is still, Swedish Kronor (14 kronor to a British Pound).

Ryan Air fly from London Stansted Airport to Malmo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen from £50 return. All three destinations are within two hours reach from Bastad and busses and trains runs hourly.
See www.ryanair.com
For more information about flights with Ryan Air:
See www.apta.com/links/international/europe/north.cfm#A8
 For more information about international flights, hotels, transport, car rental etc see Swedish Tourism Council
www.swetourism.se
For more information about Hotel Skansen and Bastad:
See www.hotelskansen.se 
For information about tennis tournament:
www.swedishopen.org

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