Kolarbyn is called Sweden’s most primitive hotel. It is a natural refuge for silence and wilderness in Skinnskatteberg just a couple of hours from Stockholm.
How would you describe Hotel Stelor in a nutshell?
Hotel Stelor is a small, rustic, countryside boutique hotel that is originally a Gotlandic farmhouse from the 1700s. The hotel has seven luxurious rooms, each of them with their own story to tell. This is a place to come home to, lean back and enjoy peace and silence.
Gotland has so much charm; it feels like you are somewhere far away. It has a Mediterranean feeling, the water is green, the beaches are very long and sandy, and it has a strong sense of culture.
What was your inspiration to create Hotel Stelor?
The house was built on a historical site, an old working harbour. It was a big meeting point for commerce around the world about 1,000 years ago. We wanted to recreate that feeling, to make a place where people from around the world could visit and connect with different cultures.
I fell in love with this old stone house which was built in 1720. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted it to be when I bought it, but I wanted more people to see it and fall in love with it as well. I hired an architect to help me restore it and convert it into a small hotel yet keep the soul and history of the original house alive.
How would you describe the interior design of the hotel?
I wanted our guests to feel like they were coming home instead of staying at a hotel. When Hotel Stelor was just starting up I did not have much money and therefore had to figure out other ways to find beautiful furniture for the hotel. A local antique shop agreed to let me use their antique furniture in exchange for the hotel serving as a show room for them.
If the guests liked the furniture or lamps in the hotel rooms they could purchase some of them from the antique store. Some items are still for sale today. We have an interior store where guests can purchase other pieces as well.
What do you particularly like about Gotland?
Gotland has so much charm; it feels like you are somewhere far away. It has a Mediterranean feeling, the water is green, the beaches are very long and sandy, and it has strong sense of culture. Ingmar Bergman lived here, as well as a lot of other creative people who still live and work here, like shoemakers and painters.
Around Gotland you will often feel like you are in the middle of nowhere but then you step into an old barn and find yourself in a fantastic French crêperie or a really nice restaurant. The area is very creative and has lots to offer culturally and environmentally.
What’s been the biggest reward to you opening a small boutique hotel?
Speaking to the guests in the morning is my absolute favourite part of the whole experience of running a small hotel. I try to be at the hotel almost every morning to talk to the guests when they’re about to go out and explore the island. I can share recommendations of what to do on the island, and the guests share their experience about staying at the hotel.
I love meeting new people. They all feel like friends by the time they’re leaving.