What is Urshult Hotell like? Charming, old, simple, traditional, welcoming, unique, rustic, lake-side and very very Swedish! There are 13 guest rooms (26 beds.) If you are a group, you can rent the whole hotel and have it to yourself. It’s the perfect size for running a small course. There is a large dining room and bar, which can be used as a meeting room, rehearsal room, yoga room etc. and the lakeside location offers guests a place to unwind on a tranquil walk.
Local highlights include lake-swimming, canoeing, cycling, fishing, walking, apple-picking, visiting Huseby stately home, horse-riding and archery. Average temperatures range from -4C in January and 25C in August. In January there are about 6 hours of daylight and in August more like 18 hours of daylight. Breakfast is cereal and toast (Swedes do not generally expect a Full English). Upcoming events include a chamber music course, a canoeing course, Open House, English Afternoon Tea and Weekend Brunch. Despite being nearly 100 years old, there is not much building work that we need to do on Urshult Hotell – just a coat of paint on the facade and some bathroom and kitchen updates in our flat.
2. Why are you moving? A variety of reasons, mainly due to the season of life I am in. I am no longer a single 20 something and now that I am married with step-children, my priorities have changed. I would like to own a my own home – a nice home. I would like to get a good balance of work and home life. I would love my step-children to be able to have their own room, rather than have all 4 of us sharing a 1 bedroom flat, which is the case now. Sweden is beautiful, it is my husband’s and step-children’s homeland, my Great Grandmother was also Swedish, the quality of life is excellent, my new home is lake-side, I love the great outdoors, I love the air quality…need I go on? Yes I will miss London and my family, but it’s time for a change! Besides, my family now have a new summer holiday location!
3. What about your music? I will always be a musician. It just won’t be my paid employment anymore. There is a good brass scene in Sweden with a big band in the local town. This summer a friend and I plan to run a chamber music course at the hotel, with a final concert in the church.
4. When can I visit? We leave London on 9 March and take over the hotel on 16 March, so any time after that.
5. What kind of guests do you have? In the summer, it is mainly nature-lovers who are drawn to the natural beauty of Lake Asnen and tourists who like doing outdoor sports such as canoeing and cycling. In the winter it is mainly forest workers who maintain the surrounding forests. Throughout the year there are also guests staying who visit their family and friends in Urshult and surrounding areas.
6. How do I get there? Nearby airports are Copenhagen (2 hours drive) and Gothenburg (3 hours drive) and the flight time from London is 1h40m. Low cost airlines charge as little as £70 return.
7. What’s the deal for your step-children? The hotel is located in the province where my step-children were born and lived until 2008 so we hope they will feel very at home and settled with us when they visit in the holidays. The hotel is just 40 minutes drive from their beloved grandparents and aunties, with whom they spend their summer break every year happily horse-riding, fishing and generally being outdoorsy. They will each have their own room, which is a significant improvement on our current living situation.
8. Is it just you running the hotel on your own or will there be staff? I will be hotel manager and no, there will be no paid staff working with me, although I will have help from my in-laws. The current owner runs the hotel on her own as well as working in the local garden centre. 2 factors help keep the work load manageable: the breakfast is not cooked and cleaning is final cleaning only (i.e. only when guests leave). The hotel is already up and running, covering its running costs and making a profit. It has a solid client-base of returning customers.
9. Do you speak Swedish? I have been learning Swedish at University of Westminster since September 2014 and, already being fluent in another foreign language (French) has really helped me progress. I’m not fluent in Swedish yet but I’m getting there and am massively motivated in lessons for obvious reasons!
10. Do you have any experience in the hotel industry? I have worked in catering, events, lived abroad once before and also run my own business as a musician but no, I have never worked in a hotel. I hope that these transferable skills will provide a firm foundation for my job as hotel manager and I look forward to learning lots of new skills such as book-keeping. As my husband says, “you can’t get experience unless you try!”.