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Modern design meets nature with Sweden's Treehotel

By Matthew Knight for CNN
  • Treehotel in northern Sweden offers guest rooms high in the forest canopy
  • All guest houses are different including a mirror cube and a bird's nest design
  • All accommodation has under-floor heating supplied by renewable energy
  • Plans to add more rooms and a chapel next year

(CNN) -- It's enough to make a tree sitter swoon and better still, there's not a chainsaw in sight.

The Treehotel is where modern design meets nature with the aim of nurturing respect for the environment.

Located in the boreal forests near the village of Harads in northern Sweden, the Treehotel opened its doors in the summer of 2010 and offers six guest rooms.

Owners, Britta and Kent Lindvall invited designers and architects to create a series of unique tree houses that reflect -- in some cases literally -- the growing popularity of ecologically-themed holidays.

There's the Mirrorcube, a 4x4x4 meter aluminum box clad in mirrored glass, which its designers Tham & Videgard describe as a "camouflaged refuge."

Accessed via a footbridge, the Cabin -- created by Cyren and Cyren -- is suspended from the surrounding pines on a steep bank, affording views of the Lulea River. Both these rooms sleep two people, but families are catered for, too.

The Nest (covered in branches), the Blue Cone (which is actually painted red) and the UFO (a spaceship skewered by pines) all have enough room to sleep a family of four.

The Treehotel is the unintended legacy of a 2008 Swedish documentary called "Tradalskaren" (The Tree Lover) that tells the story of three men who build a tree house near Harads in an attempt to rediscover their rural roots after years of living in a city.

The Lindvalls, who already owned and ran a nearby guesthouse, saw the chance to create a different kind of holiday experience.

"When the room was ready and the film was over we started to rent it out. Interest in the original tree house grew so we decided to build our own, closer to our place," Kent Lindvall said.

Treehotel will expand next year, Lindvall says, unveiling their sixth room in January.

"The plan for next year is five new rooms. We also plan to build a chapel so people can get married up there."

Open all year round, the Treehotel might attract only the hardiest of souls during the winter as temperatures typically dip to around minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit).

But intrepid travelers will be rewarded with stunning snowy landscapes as well as a "Tree Sauna" and under-floor heating in every room delivered by renewable energy.