Art haven, stylish, special
Permanently closed Wanås Restaurant Hotel +46 44 253 15 81 www.wanasrh.se/home
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At a Glance
A quirky mix of cutting-edge design and old-world Nordic elegance comes together at Wanas Estate, Sweden’s quiet sensation that, thanks to a stylish new inn and restaurant, has recently established itself on the international map.
- The cozy bedrooms, which mix sleek design with rustic touches like vintage, pink-tiled bathrooms
- The tasting menu, which emphasizes vegetables from the on-site garden
- The bicycles available for guests to explore the bucolic countryside
Located in the sleepy southern region of Skåne, the historic Wanas estate has lived many lives—first a medieval residence, then a fortress during the 16th-century Danish-Swedish Wars. But it was in the 1980s that the aristocratic Wachtmeister family took over the property and invited artists to create site-specific contemporary works on site. Today, the life of Wanas is entirely exciting, encompassing a successful art foundation that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year, and, since 2017, an 11-room hotel and restaurant.
The latter two elements were designed by the family’s daughter-in-law Kristina Wachtmeister, who filled the property’s restored farmhouses with eclectic furniture and cozy design accents—resulting in a sleek, modern and wholly Scandinavian aesthetic. The main house, which houses the hotel’s 11 rooms, features a simple lobby punctuated by striking modern art (including an ant sculpture clinging to the wall, a piece by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros) and a mudroom where guests can borrow raincoats and wellies. Head to the guest lounge for coffee, tea and local treats like spiced nuts and cookies. The handsome, contemporary-cool space features mid-century modern furniture pieces—circular lamps and sleek metal bookshelves—complementing a gilded fireplace and cobalt blue walls.
Upstairs, the individually designed rooms are likewise stylish and modestly decorated. Rustic brick walls and exposed wooden beams juxtapose with homey elements like crisp bedding and free-standing tubs. The overarching theme here is local: though the worldly family members behind Wanas are bonafide globetrotters, the majority of the materials found within the hotel are made nearby; leather is sourced from the on-site farm’s cows and benches are made from found logs. The result is welcoming, timeless and authentic.
Guests of the resort spend their days exploring the Alice in Wonderland-style sculpture park. Art is the lifeblood of the property, and a permanent roster of 70 exhibits is the primary reason tens of thousands of guests visit each year. Standout (and oft-Instagrammed) sights include Yoko Ono-designed apple tree installations featuring small hanging cards—functioning as leaves—where guests are encouraged to write down their wishes for others to see. The beech tree forest and grassy grounds are filled with innovative and interactive exhibitions, be it a haunting human statue by Antony Gormley, a curious house with an auditory competent by Robert Wilson or a kid-friendly jungle gym in bright colors by Jacob Dahlgren. There is also a boutique selling quirky creations in the form of pottery, children’s toys and funky clothing. “This is an unusual shop, but this is an unusual place,” says Elisabeth Millqvist, the foundation’s artistic director.
To refuel from a day spent traversing the park, there is an intimate restaurant featuring farm-fresh dishes inspired by the season. The cuisine is casual but truly exceptional: the chefs were trained at Michelin-starred establishments of Stockholm, and prepare mouthwatering lunches with local ingredients like salmon and grilled veggies with homemade buttermilk dressing. Dinner is a multi-course affair with exquisite dishes like elevated steak frites made with organic dry-aged beef, and rhubarbs with almond ice cream—all of which come with wine pairings curated by the sommelier. The fresh-baked bread and butter has to be tasted to be believed.
Who Should Stay
Art-lovers and aesthetes who appreciate an off-the-beaten path gem with delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere.
Good to Know
Wanas is pronounced Vanos and can be spelled with a V (Vanas).