Located 115 miles from the city of Malmö in southern Sweden, Wanaås Hotel, Restaurant, and Sculpture Park (Wanås Konst) is an impeccable parcel of land that offers the chance to relax, recharge, and fill your soul with modern art.
From delicious seasonal food sourced locally – much of it from the estate’s own organic farm – to stunning spaces designed to showcase modern art as well as vintage design, this is a unique place and is ideal for a day or weekend trip. The hotel rooms are minimalist and comfortable, while the restaurant serves delicious dishes made from local ingredients.
The sculpture park is the perhaps the most remarkable part of this wonderful place; featuring modern art from important artists throughout the magical Swedish forest, it is a place you’ll never forget.
Join us for a tour of one of Skåne’s hidden gems, the Wanås Hotel, Restaurant, and Sculpture Park:
The Wanås Hotel is housed in 18th century stables built by Elisabeth Jennings, a woman who bought the entire estate and proceeded to modernise it for family and commercial use. In 2017, the family that owns the estate, and has done so for eight generations, decided to turn the former barn and stable structures into a hotel and restaurant. “We were feeling a little isolated,” explains owner and architect Kristina Wachtmeister, “and we thought, instead of always having to go out in the cities, why don’t we bring the people to us? Then they can share in this incredible space too!”
The hotel features 11 rooms, all of which are designed with Scandinavian simplicity that draws on the bones of the building itself. Exposed beams, textured white walls, and deeply in-set windows feature throughout. The bedroom floors are made with oak from Wanås and the bathrooms feature locally-sourced limestone.
The common space, which is a masterclass in eclectic Scandinavian style that spans the 1960s – 80s, is composed of pieces that Kristina found in the attic of the main house. “I like that it has a cozy feel to it. It should showcase the best of Scandinavian design, but also make people feel like they can relax; not to fussy.” Pieces that were not sourced from the attic were bought at auction, with a few new pieces thrown into the mix such as the sharp grey sofa from Fogia. The floor is a stunning terrazzo with stones sourced locally. “I got to pick all the colors and stones,” Kristina explains.
This barn was built at the same time as the hotel’s structure, also by Elisabeth Jennings. Check out the inscription above the door; it holds her name and the year the barn was built.
The restaurant is light-filled and minimalist, with a slight rustic aesthetic that feels homey and unpretentious. The meals are similar; beautifully-made and plated, but also hearty.
Everything they serve is grown or raised locally, either on the farm or within the community. In fact, the farm is careful not to grow everything that the restaurant needs so that they are still able to source a considerable amount from surrounding farms, thereby supporting those farmers.
Even if you don’t plan to stay overnight at the hotel, lunch or dinner at Wanås Restaurant, accompanied by a walk through the sculpture park, is a wonderful way to spend a day.
Wanås Sculpture Park and Art Gallery
Perhaps the biggest treat at Wanås is their incredible art collection. In addition to a gallery that has consistently rotating exhibitions, there’s a large sculpture park integrated throughout 100 acres of verdant forest. The gallery showcases both local and international artists.
The sculpture park hosts site-specific work that artists create in collaboration with Wanås and place them in the park. The pieces live there for a year, after which time they are either removed or the foundation buys them to display permanently.
Permanent pieces include work by Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, Jeppe Hein, William Forsythe, and more. Yoko Ono’s “Wish Tree” stands at the entrance of the park and people can add their own special wish to the trees. Apparently every so often, the wishes are collected and put in boxes, which are shipped to the Imagine Peace Tower in Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay in Iceland. They are then buried, becoming part of this monument to the world’s dreams.
Works can be interactive, visual, and even audio. Janet Cardiff has created an audio walk with a fantastical narrative story that makes you feel as those people are walking next to you, or running just behind you; we highly recommend it!
The sculpture park is a unique experience; the art is so beautifully integrated into the forest, yet each piece stands on its own as special. As though you could stumble on any of the 70 pieces and feel like you’d found a magical alternate universe in the woods.
Even those who don’t stay at the hotel or eat at the restaurant can visit the sculpture park; 2 – 4 hours should be enough time to get a good sense of the space, although even a full day won’t feel like enough. Artistic Director Elisabeth Millqvist simply says, “a lot of people ask me how they can see it all, and I say: allow yourself to get lost. That’s really the best thing you can do. Just lean into how big and overwhelming it is. You won’t be disappointed.!
Visit Wanås Hotel and Restaurant
289 90 Knislinge
Restaurant Opening Hours:
Mon & Tues Closed
Weds – Sun 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
NB: restaurant is closed from 30th September – 30th April
Sculpture Park Opening Hours:
Every day 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, year round
Art Gallery Opening Hours:
Fri–Sun 11 am–4 pm
April & Novemer
Thu–Sun 11 am–4 pm
May – September
Every day 10 am–5 pm*
Tue–Sun 11 am–4 pm*
Sat–Sun 11 am–4 pm
NB: Gallery is closed from 22nd December – end of February
Photos by Freya August.