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The hotel/restaurant offers packages that include a rustic yet exclusive dining and ‘staying over’ package. The package allows guests to get closer to nature for a full day and night and offers every aspect of the experience designed to make nature shine. Canvas tents—featuring comfortable beds dressed with organic cotton, furs, rugs, pillows, and plenty of candles (in cooperation with Denmark’s design star Aiayu)—are scattered through the forest, giving guests a feeling of solitude and quiet.
“This feeling of getting back to nature is carried on through the food, made from fresh, local ingredients—most from Stedsan’s own farm or wild from the forest. Plants are in focus, particularly wild plants, and all cooking is done over a fire,” Mette Helbæk, Stedsans’ Chef and co-founder, said.
“We cook over fire and in dirt ovens and have to rely on that there will be fish in the net on the day that we need them. We harvest our vegetables right before serving. These are serious risks to take because sometimes we will have to change menu last minute. But again—it’s not a perfect meal we aim at making, it’s a very high-vitality, heartfelt one.”
Guests arrive in the late afternoon to give them enough time to spend time in the forest and tents, explore the kitchen gardens, or take a swim in the lake. After that is dinner, where a six-course meal is served, followed by coffee and herbal tea by the bonfire before everyone retires to bed.
In the morning, breakfast is made from the best seasonal ingredients such as homemade yoghurt made from Stedsan’s own cow, freshly-baked bread, berries from the forest, fish from the lake, cheese from local-cheese monger Skrea, and plenty of other delicious treats. At noon, guests are released from the wild back into the ‘real’ world—hopefully with a feeling of appreciation for what nature has to offer.
“You tend to protect what you fall in love with,” Helbæk said. “This is one of Stedsans’ goals: to make more people really see and experience the beauty and healing powers of nature.”
Stedsans’ idea about what luxurious and perfect mean is very different from the one normally found in the hotel industry—they believe that aiming to do the very best every time is more important than doing things perfectly. Sometimes higher notes are a hit; sometimes, it’s a low note—but this approach offers a real sense of authenticity.
“I see a lot of people from the cities who have this longing for being close to nature and reconnecting with where we came from,” Helbæk explained. “There are a lot of different concepts already, and I am sure that this market will grow in the future—because people have come so far away from what is natural. We need to feel that we are a part of nature and vice versa.”
Helbæk said that when they make new restaurants and experiences, they always just follow their hearts, doing what they themselves appreciate. “I’m pretty sure that right now a lot of other people feel the same things about a need for reconnecting, and that of course creates a market. So yes, I think it will spread.”
While the newly-opened hotel will only feature tents for sleeping in 2017, wooden cabins and a glass restaurant will come the spring of 2018. The authentic ‘back to nature’ experience will be retained, but options will be expanded.
Stedsans is all about communing with nature through food, rest, and exploration—Swedish style.
Stedsans in the Woods is located just two hours southeast of Gothenburg, Sweden.