Smögen: then and now
TEXT: MALIN NORMAN | PHOTOS © SMÖGENS HAFVSBAD
Hotel Smögens Hafvsbad has a long history as a meeting place and health resort by the sea. For more than 100 years, guests have come to Smögen for relaxation and, just like in the former days, they can still enjoy that seaside atmosphere.
The old fishing village of Smögen is one of the most famous spots in Bohuslän, attracting around one million visitors during the summer months. In the early 1900s, city dwellers travelled here for recreation by the sea after facing what was considered the intellectual challenges of winter. This is also the spot where famous poet and singer Evert Taube made his first official performance in 1918.
Back in those days, Hotel Smögens Hafvsbad only had eight guest rooms and a beautiful dining hall. Today, it has 76 rooms, a fabulous seafood-themed restaurant, a relaxing spa with massages and other treatments, and conference facilities for up to 220 people – but with the same wonderful atmosphere and sea view.
“We have kept the heritage and charm of the old days and mixed it with modern comforts,” says hotel manager Nils Folkesson, who also explains that some of the rooms tell the story of former guests who had a great impact on Smögen – famous people such as film director Torsten Winge, teacher Mamsell Helena Kullgren and Count Blankenhjälm, now certified as the hotel’s very own ghost.
A stay at Smögens Hafvsbad will naturally be focused around the sea and people’s relation to water, then and now. For instance, guests can enjoy the traditional bathing ritual, but with modern-day products. The spa also features a range of treatments, a pool and Jacuzzi, and, of course, the opportunity to swim in the sea. After some well-deserved relaxation, guests can enjoy a lovely meal of freshly caught fish and seafood in the restaurant, with a view of the sea over dinner.
Hotel Smögens Hafvsbad is open all year round, and Folkesson recommends a visit during the off-peak season. “The winter months are incredible here, with a completely different atmosphere to the busy summer months. Smögen is ideal for hiking, with a number of different routes, and we have plenty of other activities and a variety of fantastic restaurants in the area.”
One of the many autumn highlights is the lobster tours, starting in October, and the crayfish tours that run all year are also very popular. Later this autumn, the hotel will open its very own cooking studio to offer cooking activities for conference guests.