Sweden is internationally renowned for design in a range of areas and materials – furniture, interiors, textiles, wood... – but one field where the Swedes truly excel is in glass making, and in Smaland, in the south east of the country, you'll find the Kingdom of Crystal with a dozen or more glassworks. The province is home, too, to the magical Kosta Boda Art Hotel, located about an hour from Karlskrona and Kalmar on the coast, and from Vaxjo, inland, with its glass-making museum.
Itself practically a work of art, the hotel is an explosion of colour and innovative design, an ideal setting to relax or to use as a base to explore what the area has to offer in glass, interior design and designer clothes.
The rooms have been created by designers from the Kosta Boda glass factory, Sweden's oldest artistic glass maker, founded in 1742, which continues to produce high quality glass today. In addition to the full range of services and facilities you would expect from a modern hotel, throughout the building you'll find unique glass artwork, both practical and decorative. As you'd expect in Sweden, the hotel boasts a fine spa and fitness facilities, with free use of saunas and pools after work-out sessions.
The Linnea Art Restaurant, whose interior bears the signature of the designer Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, offers a treat for both eye and palate, while stepping into the cobalt blue glasbaren – the glass bar – is like entering another world. The decor by Kjell Engman creates a mesmerising underwater ambience where tables and chairs reflect the light from delicate stalactite lamps.
A visit to the hotel is an experience in itself, but there is far more on offer, with a number of glass-themed activities, including guided tours of a glassworks, the chance to try your hand at glass blowing, and drink-tasting session where the fine hand-made glassware is available for purchase. Much of the natural geography of Smaland is unsuited to agriculture, but the beautiful countryside offers plenty of opportunities for hunting, fishing and excursions.
Kosta Boda Art Hotel