• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Union bolthole to luxury spa: a Swedish trip

The Local · 3 Jan 2014, 10:13

Published: 03 Jan 2014 09:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Jan 2014 10:13 GMT+01:00

Moon cake, massages, and as much sushi as you could ever hope for. It may sound like an exotic destination, but it’s just a 30-minute bus ride from central Stockholm. 

From the moment we entered the gates of this tranquil compound, we felt removed from the stressed hustle of city life. At Yasuragi, the staff attempt to set the experience to the guests' pace - and the slippers we received upon arrival didn’t make it easy to get anywhere too fast. The identical yukata cotton robe worked as a uniform, and we learned their secret - keep all your personals in the flowing sleeves.

“We worked a lot on how to lead guests into this state of calmness,” says spokeswoman Kersti Olophsdotter. “The idea with everyone wearing the same kind of yukata is to calm the senses, not giving the mind too many impressions. Another effect of this is that people may see something new in another person. You don’t judge others from the outset.”

The building which now houses Yasuragi was originally built in the 1970’s by Japanese architect named Yoji Kasajima. Kasajima was commissioned by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, which needed a place to provide education to their members.

It is telling that the Sweden that fought its way to welfare and prosperity through the Swedish Model - the lauded cooperation of workers and industrialists - has created the country where luxury outfits such as Yasuragi exist and thrive. While far from affordable to all, the spa's mere existence is a reminder of Sweden's socio-economic climb since the Second World War. 

It wasn’t until 1997 that the Yasuragi spa was born, in its original state as a giant swimming pool. Today, it has been transformed and is constantly upgraded. Yasuragi’s 22,000 square metres extend along the water’s edge - coincidentally not far from where the Swedish Model was born, in Saltsjöbaden.

In 2014, however, the challenges of much of Sweden's highly educated workforce have changed somewhat. The majority of office workers use their brains as a ping-pong table, bouncing from smartphone to computer and back again. Yasuragi goes the distance in trying to get its visitors to switch off and turn their cerebral activity to the (sole) task at hand.

The hotel rooms at the complex follow the Japanese tradition of simplicity and clean lines, blending warm wood accents with fine stone tiling and rice paper screens. And the spa itself... Yasuragi propagates the traditional Japanese way of slow, deliberate washing as part of the bodily cleanse involving a small wooden stool and bucket - and patience, of course.

Story continues below…

Yasuragi is the Japanese word for inner peace and harmony, and the spa prides itself on making its guests feel at home. You don’t even have to bring a bathing suit - it’s provided when you walk in the door.

“The concept is that it should be simple to come without anything, just yourself,” explains Olophsdotter.

Katie Dodd

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
So Sweden has high taxes? Not as high as you might think
A taxpayer hands in their tax declaration. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

So you think Swedes pay a lot in tax? Others pay much more, according to a new study.

Man injured in shooting at Malmö shopping mall
Rosengård Centrum in Malmö. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Police cordoned off an area around a shopping centre in Malmö after a man was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

The Local List
Ten Swedish phrases you only hear in summer
Let's work on that tan. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Summer always leaves foreigners baffled by Swedes' unique seasonal habits. Here's The Local's guide to navigating small talk when the sun comes out.

Swedish kids' TV cooks up storm with condom haggis
How, er, not to make haggis. Photo: SVT screenshot

Not the Swedish Chef as you know him.

Swedes outgrown as world's tallest people
How tiny they must look to a Dutch person! Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Forget the myth about the tall, blond, modern Viking.

Record number of drowning deaths in Sweden this year
Linus Magnusson och Ester Meijer, life guards at Skanör beach in southern Sweden last year. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

More people have drowned in Sweden so far this year than in any other year this century. The good weather is getting the blame.

Presented by American Express
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
File photo: Pixabay

Getting ready to jet off on summer holidays? Be sure to check out these tips and tricks for avoiding unnecessary headaches between packing and relaxing.

Pupils' school photo Nazi salute 'wasn't criminal'
The harbour in Simrishamn, close to where the incident took place. Photo: Jorchr/Wikimedia Commons

Four high school students who performed a Nazi salute in a school photo have had their convictions for inciting racial hatred quashed by an appeal court.

The Local List
Silly season: seven strange Swedish summer stories
But at least the weather's nice. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

What are Swedish journalists to do during the long dry news spell of summer? Here are the most bizarre stories we could find.

Opinion
'We don't know how Brexit will affect our time in Sweden'
Sweden-based Brit Sarah Campbell, left. Photo: Private & AP Photo/Tim Ireland

One month after the Brexit referendum Sarah Campbell, a British reader based in Uppsala, pens a love letter to her European Union.

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Blog updates

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,335
jobs available