Summer serenity: Inside Stockholm's world-class Yasuragi spa

By Hillary Kelly

Courtesy of Yasuragi.

Everything you need to know about the coveted spa in Saltsjö-boo, Sweden

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Welcome to Vogue’s first-ever spa guide – a compendium of the 100 best spas worldwide, pulling from the expertise of our global editors. There is a lot out there in the world of wellness, and we are here to sort the cryo from the cold plunge, the infrared light treatment from the IV infusion. Or if your path is a more holistic one – there’s something for you here as well.

Why go here?

Yasuragi is so committed to relaxation that their staff greets you at reception with your own yukata (a traditional Japanese robe) and a sleek black swimsuit. The garments are functional, but also aesthetic – you are asked to wear both of them to keep the colour palette harmonious. But the tranquility begins long before you actually arrive at Yasugari, on the winding road that leads from Stockholm to the archipelago, lined with glimpses of the fjord and towering coastal pine trees. Yasuragi, which accepts day visitors but is best experienced with an overnight stay, is committed to a steadfast Japanese experience with touches of Scandinavian serenity. Standard rooms have a beautiful pared-back design, with wood-paneled walls and sliding shoji paper shutters. Many suites have tatami mat flooring, ablution stations (wooden stools with buckets for pre-bath washing) in the bathrooms, and views over the verdant coast. (The Ryokan room’s private hot spring is especially tempting.)

The excellent restaurants on-site offer everything from zesty noodle dishes to a six-course feast that includes a Wagyu steak and lobster roll. But the real prize of Yasuragi is the baths – both indoor and out. They’re a series of heated and cooled pools, including a steam salt sauna, a carbonated bath, and a large tepid pool. Between treatments like bamboo massages and activities like morning workouts set to Japanese radio, you can take short dips. The best of the bunch is a knee-deep hot pool outside that practically floats among the forest: drape yourself in the corner and imagine you’re hovering among the boughs. This is the closest you’ll get to experiencing a traditional but luxurious Japanese onsen in Europe.

Photo: Courtesy of Yasuragi

What’s the vibe?

Calm and sedate, with natural materials (cedar, slate, fine cotton) everywhere your fingers touch. Guests putter around in their yukata, shuffling off to baths and walks through the nearby forest; some even wear them to dinner. Views of the Saltsjön – the Baltic Sea bay that Stockholm overlooks – pop up around corners and are on display from a particularly pleasant outdoor sauna. Pools are full of chill Europeans, quietly chatting or taking a moment alone. Yasuragi is all chilly salt spray, pine scent, and steaming springs. No faux rest here. This is the real deal, and phones are expected to be kept out of sight.

Photo: Courtesy of Yasuragi

The history

The building was initially designed by Japanese architect Yoji Kasajima, and it was turned into a hotel in 1997. A new wing was added in 2014, but the vibe is consistent throughout.

Photo: Courtesy of Yasuragi

What should you try?

The relaxation chairs at Yasuragi aren’t just cosy, they’re practically a prescription sleep aid. These rocking loungers gently shimmy you into a state of bliss – imagine a Snoo for adults. They’re all around the property, so find your favourite and hunker down. For optimal enjoyment, staff offer daily lessons in Japanese bathing. You may think you know how to take a bath, but the traditional techniques they encourage – including slowly pouring water over your body – turn it into a meditative practice.

Who can go?

Yasuragi is open year-round for adults in need of a quick day trip to work out a few shoulder kinks, or for longer stays to leave the world behind. For a brief period each summer, kids are welcome too. Amenities include spa treatments for those 8+, a dedicated menu, guide-led fun in the gardens, and teeny yukata for the littlest guests.

Booking details for Yasuragi
Address: Hamndalsvägen 8, 132 81 Saltsjö-boo, Sweden
Read more from Vogue’s Global Spa Guide.

Originally published on Vogue.