In the Swedish village of Hrads, population 600, sits a hotel where the aesthetic of the rooms alternates between of-the-earth and unearthly. There's the room called The Bird's Nest, which looks like a mess of twigs floating in the air and camouflaged among the trees' canopy. And then there's the UFO (pictured above), which lets guests pretend they're visitors on an alien aircraft.
But the disparate designs of the Tree Hotel's rooms are tied together by their respect for the nature that surrounds them. The five rooms in operation so far—eventually there will be 24—are suspended four to six meters above the ground in live trees, without harming the arbors. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide remarkable views of the forest and nearby Lule River. The rooms are built from chemical-free wood and are plumbed with combustion toilets that incinerate waste with 1,112-degree heat.
"While we want to have our hotel in the middle of nature, we want to do it on nature's terms," says the Tree Hotel's website. Good work doesn't go unnoticed. In addition to giving shivers to the design blogosphere, the hotel just won Sweden's Grand Tourism Award for 2011. But starting at $609 a night for two people, a visit is probably best reserved for the "before I die" bucket list.