After months where the thesis has controlled our life to a large extent (mine the most but a partner never goes free from the tensions) I decided what we needed was a short trip away without thesis or work in focus. I wanted to be present around Kenneth’s birthday – despite the fact that the day doesn’t mean much to him. It does to me. I think a yearly celebration of the existence of your loved ones is meaningful.
With only 2 days’ time to afford and inspired by last years wonderful trip to Skodsborg, Sweden and spa felt like a great solution. A bit more exotic and adventurous than staying at home in Denmark. In theory; the perfect getaway. In practice, however, we honestly felt it was a waste of money.
I hate to complaint. I can’t stand putting people in unpleasant situations which is essentially what happens when you complain about something. But I do feel that by sharing things on my social media channels comes a responsibility of telling the whole story. In case anyone should be inspired to try out something I showed or talked about – whether it is a product or an experience. Consider this the motivation for this post.
We stayed a night at the Strand hotel in the center of Stockholm to get half a day in the city. We wanted to indulge in Italian food at Babette that was recommended by this lovely swede. But with the winter darkness upon us at 15.30 we were already starving at 16 which did not match Babette’s opening hours. Instead we had Neapolitan pizza at Giro, and later candy in bed.
We liked the hotel – although, the rooms are quite small for what you pay. The bathroom, for instance, was too tiny for me to blow-dry my hair. It felt cramped. But I guess that’s a Scandinavian thing – high sq m prices.
The last day and night we spent at Yasuragi – a Japanese bath and hotel tucked in the woods 10km outside of Stockholm. As an award winning spa with promises of tranquility and with matching solid prices, the expectations were high. However, these were sadly not fulfilled for a number of different reasons.
I had booked a spa package that included access to the baths, ‘superior room’ with Japanese ablution, and a teppanyaki dinner – and to paint the fairest picture I’ll cover both the positive and negative remarks on this experience.
First and foremost, the newly renovated indoor baths were architecturally beautiful and very photogenic – note that the baths are a digital free zone so don’t plan on capturing it (explains the few photos in this post). In times of digital invasion, I loved this principle.
The thing is, that it felt so pretty, while it failed to instill a feeling of intimacy that allows for both bodily and mental self-care which is essentially what you come for in a spa; to rest and rejuvenate. Furthermore, the spa treatments were really expensive and judging from google reviews not worth the money.
That being said, I absolutely loved the outdoor pools with steamy hot water. I believe there were four or five pools spread out on different levels that followed the hill side with a view of the pine trees and Stockholm archipelago. It immediately made me dream of building a hot top in my imaginary and future home.
Staying the night
The rooms are made with good intentions but it felt like a covered up conference slash hostel (‘vandrehjem’) room. The place aims to be luxurious, but underneath the surface there are cracks or something not quite adding up. To provide a specific example, the floor was damaged and a few lamps were not working. The best thing about staying the night was the view to the archipelago at sunset captured at the picture.
With the location out in the woods you don’t really have another choice but to eat at Yasuragi. Our experience was a friendly staff, but the 5 course teppanyaki dinner lacked flavor, felt impersonal and we walked out from there smelling like we had been to a grill bar. Not exactly the feeling you want to have after having spent the day purifying yourself in the bath facilities.
The breakfast buffet was also disappointing – you know – just tasteless and it left us with a feeling of regret. Like we should have saved the appetite for something at the airport. As a massive breakfast lover that is not a feeling I’m familiar with.
Would I recommend it?
In terms of staying over for the night we sadly do not think it’s worth the money.
All in all, it felt too commercial, polished, noisy, and crowded, and we left with a feeling of not having received matching value for what we paid and pure disappointment. The sad thing is that is has so much potential.
I would recommend visiting Yasuragi for a day. It’s fine if you live in Stockholm, or are in the area either way. Although, I would advise you to go by car as with public transportation it takes at least 1 hour to get there from the city center and includes min. a metro and two bus rides. It took almost 2 hours of transportation to get to the airport.
The moment I think back at to sort of justify the money and time spent on this trip was when we sat in the steamy hot water outside, and felt the cold air pinch our face, while the sun went down and the sky gradually turned blue, then pink and finally completely dark. It was beautiful. It was just a shame that this feeling wasn’t present throughout most of the experience.
Generally, I would advise you to save your money and go to Japan instead. After all, the expenses were not far from matching two plane tickets to Tokyo. A fact we try not to think too much about.