ISSUE 50  |  Saint Lucia

A Remote Retreat Designed by Swedish Survivalists

December 13, 2012 8:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

Share This:

What more could one want in a forest other than protection from wild animals, weather, and wind? Perhaps a cup of strong Swedish coffee.

Urnatur guest cabins and retreat began as a private farm purchased by two nature-loving Swedes, whose shared interests include crafts, ethnobiology, design, self-sustainability, cooking, and survival. HÃ¥kan Strotz, a forester, and Ulrika Krynitz, a biologist, lived simply on their property for many years, he as a teacher in a nearby school and she weaving textiles. For several summers, they organized a handicraft festival. They enjoyed the company and began to invite guests.

Together, Strotz and Krynitz cut down the first trees that would become their hand-hewn estate. Strotz designed the huts to blend into their surroundings, the way ancient huts would have been camouflaged by their mossy environs. The pair took a strictly utilitarian approach to the shelters and even designed iron beds to lend the huts a “gulag feel.” Lucky for us, the pair have since embraced their softer sides and a somewhat warmer bed and breakfast has evolved. (They decided that a cup of black Swedish coffee was a reasonable accessory to basic protection from wild beasts.) To further soften the camp atmosphere, carpets, curtains, and textiles woven on the farm add color and life to their designs. For booking information, visit Urnatur, and peruse their textiles in their online shop.

Photos courtesy of Urnatur unless otherwise noted.

Above: Owners HÃ¥kan Strotz and Ulrika Krynitz bought their small farm in 1993 before turning it into guest retreat.

Above: The smallest cabin, a tree house, sleeps only one. Its accommodations are modest; it lacks insulation and has a tar paper roof (albeit one covered in a lovely green moss).

Above: The Tin Castle, the building nearest the road, offers electricity (though candles are clearly still preferred).

Above: The Wolf Cot offers dormitory style beds to those wanting a more communal stay. As the only source of heat in the cabin, the wood burning stove must be tended throughout the night.

Above: Daylight hours are brief, and trays of candles and kerosene lamps are the only sources of light back to cabins in the dark.

Above: The huts are meant to have a very Spartan feel; “small, dark, and hence very cozy.” Photo via Anthology Magazine.

Above: A table set with nothing more than white plates and Queen Ann’s lace.

Above: I, too, hope someday to brew coffee on a mossy forest floor while looking impossibly Scandi chic. Maybe a stay at Urnatur would do the trick.

Looking for more places to brave the elements? See images of Rustic Hotels in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.