Free Wi-Fi. Hundreds of channels. A “business center.” In the resort industry, connectivity as a major selling point. And small wonder, since smartphones and laptops normalized the “working vacation” more than a decade ago. But a new breed of hotel caters to those who want less, and are willing to pay for digital seclusion. Among them is Hotel Furillen, a Gotland resort housed in an abandoned limestone quarry.
Furillen was founded in the late '90s by a fashion photographer named Johan Hellstrom, who came across the quarry by accident. Hellstrom and his wife spent a decade converting the abandoned site into a functioning “design hotel,” with 17 rooms housed in concrete bunkers decorated by big-name Scandinavian designers. The couple used reclaimed wood and concrete to build a series of Wi-Fi-free “hermit cabins” nearby, which offer visitors a stripped-down version of the main resort. Furillen has since become popular among eco-tourists who eschew traditional amenities, in search of a more peaceful escape (reviews of the hotel are mixed, and tend to depend on the writer’s tolerance for industrial toilets).
The hotel has unveiled plans to take their lo-fi concept even further later this year, with an even more secluded option for isolation-seekers: triangular wooden huts that contain little else beyond a multi-functional bench and cast-iron stove. Designed by Stockholm-based Jägnefält Milton--who call their concept Black Lodge--the cabins will be hidden on the narrow strip of land between the Gotland forest and the Baltic.
“Considering all the luxury amenities in the resort, we wanted this to be something completely different,” architect Konrad Milton tells Co.Design over email. “Besides a stool, the only furniture is a wooden board that can act both as a table, a bench and a bed.” The one-room cabins will be sheltered by walls of rough-hewn pine cut from the surrounding forest. Visitors can open up the operable wall panels let in light and air, and “you can watch the stars and moon through the oculus,” says Milton.
Black Lodge won’t be for everyone, to be sure. But the architects say they’re prepared for people who decide the experience isn’t for them: Anyone who gets cold feet will be welcomed back to the hotel’s main rooms, no questions asked.