Of late, hoteliers have rushed to create one-of-a-kind sanctuaries to woo savvy jet-setters who want to escape the monotony of global hotel chains. Besides service, setting and design have become equally important. When it comes to far-out hotels, no one does it better than Scandinavia which has deployed the theatrics of its majestic mountains and cinematic fjords for maximum impact.

Soon to join the avant-garde crop is Lofoten Opera Hotel, a low-rise serpentine structure that curls up against the striking coastline of the Lofoten archipelago it lies on. Flanked by mountain ranges and the Norwegian Sea, the 11,000 sq m complex will also house residential apartments, an amphitheatre, and spa and sporting facilities when it opens at the end of the year.

Sure, the organic design by award-winning firm Snohetta considers factors like landscape limitations on construction and sustainability. But it’s also a reminder that architecture is poetry, not an ostentatious contest that only the biggest and tallest can win. Why beat the flamboyance of nature when you can join it?


These unconventional hotels are a destination in itself.

JUVET LANDSCAPE HOTEL NORDALL, NORWAY:  Its simplicity, modernity and tranquillity threatened to steal the show when it was used as the film set for sci-fi thriller Ex Machina. There are only nine rooms, each with glass walls that offer lush views of the gushing river, surrounding mountains and the gorge that runs underneath.
TREEHOTEL HARADS, SWEDEN: Famed for out-of-this-world treehouses like the futuristic Mirror Cube and Bird’s Nest, Treehotel also has one for management retreats in the wilderness. The Dragonfly has a conference room that can hold up to 12 people, as well as two bedrooms.
THE MINE SUITE SALA, SWEDEN: If heights are not your thing, this takes you all the way down – 155m underground, to be specific. Located in a historic mine (guided tour included), you’ll be in so deep that your mobile phone is not going to work. Fret not, guests get an intercom radio.
THE KRYSTALL TROMSO, NORWAY: Take Northern Lights hunting up a notch with a night at this crystalline snowflake-shaped hotel, due to open by Christmas next year. You’ll be snuggled up in bed and floating on water falling asleep – if you can – to dancing auroras seen through a glass roof.