Utter Inn is a famous hotel located at Lake Mälaren in front of the city of Västerås. Well I don’t really know if I should call it a hotel because it is lacking all the standard things that make you comfortable. But it is an adventure of a lifetime! Utter Inn is a Swedish cabin in typical Falu red colour whose only room is underwater. I really wanted to spend a night in an accommodation like this so I booked everything for one of our nights during our roadtrip in Sweden.
Utter Inn is one of the masterpieces of Swedish artist Mikael Genberg who has a kind of obsession with Swedish cabins. Years ago he even wanted to plant one stuga on the Moon! Utter Inn is not located on the moon but some 300 meters (985 ft) north of Amundsgrund in Västerås’ archipelago and offers great views of the city’s skyline.
The 25 sqm cabin (270 sqft) has two different parts: the upper one, floating above the surface of Lake Mälaren, which features a small dock for a boat, two outdoor chairs and a table and the cabin with kitchenware, a kitchenette, 10 liters of drinking water and a dry toilet … and the lower one, underwater, where the beds are located. There is no electricity at the cabin but there is a petrol warming system and a couple of lamps.
It is a really calm neighborhood. No one to see around you in 500 meters (1640 ft). The exception may be a sailing boat or a water scooter enjoying the evening at Lake Mälaren. Well, that and some birds and fishes that will reach out to greet you once you start preparing and eating your dinner or taking a bath.
For different reasons Utter Inn is a hotel to live a unique experience. First, there is nothing else to do there apart from swimming, reading, chatting, preparing a great dinner and if the weather is good enjoying a wonderful sunset over the lake and the city as we had the chance to experience. Bear in mind that we visited Utter Inn in June where theres is sunlight until sunset (around 11 PM) which allowed us to do everything we wanted.
Moreover, Utter Inn is an adventure because it puts your instincts to the test. Seeing how they take you by boat to a floating hotel and leave you alone for you to spend the time until next morning makes you feel different emotions. My wife felt them even more as she is scared – maybe not a phobia yet – of being in very open spaces like swimming in the depths and being in very closed or narrow spaces. Sleeping at Utter Inn at a small room underwater was a real challenge for her.
Upon arriving we placed our stuff in the cabin, I opened the hatch and climbed down the stair towards the room. At first it was shocking. Being there underwater and thinking about spending the night over stirred my emotions too. Luckily, reason took over and I resolved to enjoy our stay.
After my dip into the freezing waters of Lake Mälaren we prepared dinner with the food we had previously bought at a local supermarket and enjoyed eating while contemplating the amazing sunset over the city. Meanwhile over some conversations we were getting used to being alone there surrounded by nothing and no one. Of course, the gorgeus landscape and the wonderful sunny day helped a lot to ease our minds.
Being there “not doing anything” is something difficult for us who are used to always be doing something. However, calmness was taking over us after some hours hearing nothing but birds singing, water bubbling because of fishes coming up to the surface or just the noise from waves. That creates the perfect location for stimulating conversations with your partner knowing that you two are part of the same adventure as a couple. That’s how we lived it while the day was getting darker and the sun was setting behind Västerås while delighting us dying Lake Mälaren in blue and pink pastel shades.
Calmness took over us and that made it easier for us to decide to sleep downstairs underwater. There is really no other place to sleep because in the upper room there is no space left at all because of the hatch. So when the night came it was time for opening the hatch again and head 3 meters downwards underwater to a room with big panorama windows in every wall.
I went down first and turned on the two lamps and some candles available in the cabin. That created a more comfortable atmosphere that invited my wife to climb down and check how she was feeling. And … she made it! She was going to spend a night underwater …
Everything seemed quiet until she screamed. Spiders? I wondered because of having seen a lot of them outside the cabin in the upper floor. However I couldn’t remember seeing any spider inside …
No! Fishes. The dim light that came out of the candles placed by the windows attracted all kind of fishes that wanted to check out on us. Lake Mälaren’s brown water gave them a spooky look to add to the light sway of the room due to the waves in the lake. Ok, it’s just fishes! Something normal underwater. It was already late and we fell asleep almost instantly.
During the night we woke up a couple of times. One because of the waves that were making some loose things shake in the upper part of the cabin. Although the waves are felt stronger in the upper part sometimes it is also possible to notice them downstairs. The second time it was some birds quacking on the top of the cabin. I went out two times to check what the noises were. Finally we fell asleep again until next morning where we got up to have breakfast and wait for Tomy to take us back to mainland. We had survived our night alone in our island-hotel!
The route to Västerås harbour in a small motorboat takes no longer than 3 minutes.
If you want to live a unique experience with your significant other or with a friend Utter Inn is the right place to do it. Reading the guestbook available in the cabin I could see how some people were spending their wedding night there. Maybe that is too much but who knows … the challenge of being alone in your own “island” is worth it.
Luckily, Västerås is well located near the highway between Stockholm and Oslo and between Stockholm and Gothenburg so if you are planning to travel between these cities or just want to book a special accommodation Utter Inn may be a good destination to spend a night. The hotel is open between May and August and can be booked directly through Västerås Tourism Office.