Do you ever crave real quiet? The sort of silence you can actually hear? If that’s the case, then you’re in luck.
Lådfabriken, on the island of Edshultshall on Sweden’s west coast, provides exactly that.
This unspoiled wilderness is just over an hour’s drive from gorgeous Gothenburg. It really is a must if you’re in this part of the world.
The name means ‘fish box factory’, and that’s exactly what the guest house was until owners Johan and Marcel gave it a new lease of live. Fishing was once an integral part of life on the archipelago, and the building produced boxes to store the catch in.
Now, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any trace of the industrial roots of the building. The restoration is of such a calibre that it feels as if the building’s been designed to Johan and Marcel’s unique specifications.
Johan’s background in design shines through. Lådfabriken is impeccable. It’s probably the chicest, most well-thought-out accommodation that this writer’s ever stayed in.
The touches are everywhere, from the artwork to the crockery, the lighting to the choice of taps in the bathrooms. The whole thing is exquisite, and looks like something you’d see on the pages of Wallpaper*.
However, it has heart, there’s nothing intimidating about it. Lådfabriken invites you to throw your coat over a chair and curl-up in the living room with a magazine from the well-stocked coffee table and a mug of Sweden’s famous glogg.
Set right on the shore, Lådfabriken benefits from its own private beach. We stayed in December, so you’re unlikely to want to dive in. But if you visit in the summer, the water’s clean enough to jump in.
You can use the B&B as a base to head out in a kayak and explore the many uninhabited islands nearby. In the cooler months (which, let’s be honest are more plentiful in Scandinavia), it’s all about bracing walks. Plus, lots of hearty food.
You will not go hungry here. The guys are incredible chefs, and take pride in using locally-sourced ingredients. On the evening of our stay, we enjoyed a veritable banquet featuring more seafood than even Jesus could’ve conjured up.
Of course, the term smorgasbord originates in Sweden (it’s spelt smörgåsbord here). And here indeed, there were plenty of dishes to try. These included whole king prawns, Thai-style fish soup and, of course, herrings.
Though they’re surrounded by water, and have strong ties to local fishermen, the hosts are aware that fish isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. They can create something equally delicious and visually impressive based around red or white meat, or without any meat at all.
The breakfast buffet was equally impressive. There was enough homemade bread, preserves and other delicious tidbits to feed the average weekend footfall of an Ikea on the outskirts of a mid-sized town. Add to this the inexhaustible supply of gingerbread to be found in the communal areas. What do you have? A stay that nourishes body and soul.
With only three (exceptionally well thought-out) bedrooms, there’s a sense of intimacy to Lådfabriken. Though you never feel in any way cramped. The size of the place means you’re never lulled in to thinking that it’s not, first and foremost, a home. And that’s perfect.
Johan and Marcel are commensurate hosts. What’s more, they’re both glad to share their home and their island with you. They’re a mine of information about the neighboring islands, their history, and also their attractions.
If you want a bit of a guided walk (along with the more active of Lådfabriken’s two resident pooches), they’ll oblige. They also know when to retreat, and leave you and your companions alone. But, in all honesty, they’re such kind and interesting people that you’ll probably be happy to spend as much time as your trip affords with them.