Our journeys this week see us set our compass bearing north through Europe, for some of the most spectacular views imaginable. Our starting point is Holland’s exuberant capital city of canals and bicycles, where a renovated crane in the East of the city provides one of the country’s most unique places to stay. Our next two adventures take place in Sweden – one a mountainside windowless loft house with views to die for – the other a hotel entirely constructed of snow and ice, creating two very different yet truly unique experiences in nature.
Amsterdam is one of the world’s most popular cities for a cultural break and Amsterdam East is widely considered to be its up-and-coming area – a trendy neighbourhood buzzing with bars, restaurants, boutiques and galleries. So it seems fitting that you can experience the high life in both senses here, and one of the country’s most extraordinary holiday lets in the shape of a converted 1957 Figee Crane set over three floors of contemporary brilliance. Climb the steel stairs to the main deck, enjoy outstanding views over the River Ij and bask in the natural sunlight that floods into this amazing space, illuminating the minimalist furniture. History, style, location – for a city break with a difference, The Yays – Crane Apartment has it all. So why go for a ‘normal’ city break apartment when this gem of a place is waiting for you in one of the coolest spots in town?
Immerse yourself in mountainside brilliance, in a simply breathtaking and natural ‘loft house’ escape surrounded by some of Sweden’s finest scenery. Bergaliv is an architect-designed landscape hotel and its current loft house is one of four planned to take full advantage of the spectacular views out towards the river valley, especially from its upper level where a wall-less space awaits you with just the timber frame supporting the structure above. The natural glassless window seat here is quite remarkable and is the perfect spot for quiet contemplation and relaxation, as you look across to mountains and the river below, perhaps curling up with your favourite read. The structure itself stands 33ft tall and is cleverly stilted to elevate it to impressive heights, whilst light birch and ash carpentry define the interior craftsmanship and design.
Imagine sleeping in a hotel constructed entirely from ice and snow, a place where you can indulge your senses and embark on a cool adventure – in every sense of the word. ICEHOTEL (above and main picture) is a real-life winter wonderland set within snow-topped pine forests in the picturesque Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi and for many, a stay here is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience! The hotel actually has both cold and warm rooms to cater for all tastes, whilst the hotel itself is kept at a constant temperature of -5°C, meaning snuggling in thermal sleeping bags with reindeer hides to keep you nice and toasty are the order of the day. Add to this the famous ICEBAR with glittering dance floor made from snow, gourmet dining, husky safaris or snowmobile tours and of course Northern Lights spotting and you have all the ingredients for an incredible arctic holiday that will stay with you for a lifetime.