For centuries the remote island of Hamneskär, off the west coast of Sweden, was thought to be uninhabitable. Its fearsome reputation was forged by countless shipwrecks on its dangerous reefs, but now a group of entrepreneurs have turned the island’s isolation into its biggest selling point.
The island is best known for its cast-iron lighthouse, one of the most famous off-shore landmarks in the world. In fact, it’s so famous that many people only know the island by the name of the lighthouse itself.
The windswept structure has stood tall since 1868, aiding ships as they navigate the treacherous waters around Hamneskär. Many sailors would utter the Lord’s Prayer – Pater Noster in its original Latin – as they approached the shore and the name has stuck, both in reverence to the souls who survived a visit here as well as those who didn’t.
Generations of lighthouse keepers and their families have lived on the island since then, and now you can enjoy a stay at Pater Noster too. The luxury hotel has adopted the name of the island’s most iconic feature with an experienced team including entrepreneurs, hoteliers, professional sailors and designers creating a concept that is fast becoming one of the most desirable places to stay in Scandinavia.
Erik Nissen Johansen is one of several partners in this project. He is the founder of award-winning design practice Stylt, which is part of the team behind this spectacular destination. “We have been open this summer and now we are shifting the operation towards the private group’s incentives and businesses, like renting the whole island for yourself,” Johansen says.
That’s right, you can rent the entire island and create the ultimate private getaway.
Pater Noster is accessible via Rib (rigid inflatable boat) or helicopter, with the nearest major town 5mi (8km) away on the island of Marstrand. Gothenburg is the closest city with an international airport, and is itself only 25mi (40km) from Pater Noster. The island has been popular with history buffs and architecture enthusiasts in the past, but it’s rare to visit Hamneskär in person.
Once on the island, visitors can try deep-sea fishing, sailing, kayaking and even attempt to cook whatever you might catch in the ocean. The lighthouse itself also offers a peaceful spot for meditation if rest and relaxation are what you’re after.
With nine bedrooms, the hotel can accommodate 18 guests and features a restaurant and a summer café. Local food and home-cooked meals are the order of the day, with seaweed in all its forms on every menu. There’s also a bar that operates as part of the accommodation.
All the interiors are heavily-influenced by the history and heritage of the location. Wood-panelled ceilings, shipping motifs and authentic furniture are a strong part of the design throughout.
Sweden is famous for its innovative use of space and architecture to create incredible places to stay. Check out Culture Trip’s guide to the spectacular Treehotel and Stockholm’s best boutique hotels to find out more.