The fairytale ambience of the English New Renaissance castle features a brick and limestone façade that is covered in ivy, pink roses grace the gardens, topiaries adorn the entrance, and white geese amble along the wide expanse of green lawn to the manmade pond with a fountain to add to the bucolic setting. They have pear, plum and apple trees, as well as grow their own grapes, and have herb and cutting flower gardens.
Inside, Thorskogs Slott, built by Shipyard Magnate Petter Larson in 1892, is filled with antiques, the ambience is elegant and warm, and the staff is professional and welcoming. There are 13 guestrooms in the castle, which were named by Petter’s wife, Maria Larson, and there is a newer building where they have conference guestrooms. Mr. Larson was an innovator, and almost all of the electricity at Thorskogs Slott comes from the hydropower that he started.
Tommy and Lena Jonsson purchased Thorskogs Slott in 1986, and have maintained the elegant ambience. Their gourmet restaurant is a part of Vastsvensk Mersmak, or Taste of Sweden, a program that was launched in 2000, to promote tourism to West Sweden as a culinary destination.
Edward F. Nesta and I stayed at Thorskogs Slott in late August 2005, and were enchanted with our stay. It was late afternoon when we arrived, and since we had not yet had lunch, we decided to have a light lunch in one of their intimate salons. There was “eye candy” everywhere we looked in this corner room; four gilt chairs dressed with blue and gold stripe fabric and a matching gilt settee flanked a red marble table with gilt legs. Wide windowsills held Chinese porcelain, gold sconces held an assortment of additional Chinese porcelain, Chinese plates hung on the walls along with paintings, and two plants in octagon-shaped urns stood tall on intricately carved black plant stands. There was a gorgeous cream and gold ceramic fireplace in the corner, and the double windows were adorned with blue fabric trimmed with gold. A small Oriental screen stood at one corner of the room, and an ornate table on the other side. The wide entrance was embellished with floral plasterwork over the doorways, and there was a Victorian-style chandelier with etched glass globes.
We thoroughly enjoyed our light lunch, which consisted of a salad with shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, yellow peppers, cucumbers and a mixture of greens dressed with an olive oil and Cabernet Sauvignon vinaigrette, followed by coffee.
After lunch we took a stroll along the trails where we saw cows and sheep, and passed the archery range and clay pigeon shooting area. There are two outdoor wooden hot tubs that are heated with wood, and there is a sauna indoors. We enjoyed a game of pitch and putt on their 6-hole golf course, that is until it started to rain, which was probably best as it was a very close game.
We returned to our guestroom, the Christina, the largest of the first floor rooms, which had a large foyer with a chair covered with a fur throw; and our large room had rich floral wallpaper, a white ceramic fireplace, which was decorated with white candles in candlestick holders and a decorative bowl on the mantle. There was a brown velvet settee dressed with floral pillows with fringe, and in front of the settee, there was a table draped with white linen, with a martini glass filled with red and green grapes and nasturtium flowers, as well as a welcome note and a fragrant pink rose in a low cut square vase. A corner ledge held a carafe of water with two glasses, antique books and a telephone, there was a floor lamp beside the fireplace, the marble-topped white wood nightstands had brass lamps with cream shades and fringe and a SONY clock radio, and there was a chair with green and red striped fabric, and green and red Italian floral pattern Oriental carpets. The armoire, also painted white, held a basket of shoe amenities, perfect after a walk in the woods, and in the corner of the room, there was a ladies vanity table with a red and green stripe bench; and French doors opened onto a large private terrace with a table and two chairs, which had a spectacular view of the gardens. The many windows were lavishly draped with green and mauve fabric, but the piece-de-resistance, was the white king tester-bed that was sumptuously dressed in green and mauve silk. The Christina is a room that was designed for romance, and since the hotel is a favorite for weddings, this must be one of their highly requested rooms.
The opulent bathroom featured a stained glass window; green French bath mats, celadon green tile walls and floor, a walk-in shower, and an iron chandelier with white candles hang over the claw-foot bathtub, perfect for a long soak. A corner étagère held a hairdryer and an assortment of amenities, there was a large Swedish design vanity with a sink, and a glass ginger jar filled with seashells and feathers adorned the wide windowsill.
We had a wonderful private dinner for two and wine tasting with their chef, Anna Sara Johansson, just outside their wine cellar, where the white damask tablecloth was sprinkled with wine corks. Read our Restaurants and Chefs’ Recipes sections, where Chef Anna Sara Johansson shares a few of her special recipes.
Throughout Thorkogs Slott there are interesting objects, and as one would expect with a castle, there is also a suit of armor. One fascinating story is about the frog game, which was made for shipyard owner, Petter Larson. When one of Mr. Larson’s workers fell ill, he told the man that his son would have to come to work for him. However, the worker’s son was too young to work, so he told Mr. Larson that he would make a game for Mr. Larson’s young son. In order to make the wooden game special, the worker imported an expensive metal frog for the game from England, which cost him one month of his wages, but Mr. Larson was so pleased with the game for his son, that the worker was able to earn six months of his salary while he was out ill.
Breakfast is served in their Floral Room, a bright cheerful room, with original paintings on the walls of fruit, lobsters, etc. that were found during a renovation under 15 layers of wallpaper. There are thoughtful elegant details throughout Thorskogs Slott, including fanciful floral arrangements, created by one of their own talented staff members.
Thorskogs Slott has hosted many important visitors throughout the years including President George and Barbara Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, John Major, Benazir Bhutto and F. W. de Klerk. Whether you are looking to host a conference or a wedding, or simply want to relax, Thorskogs Slott provides a delightful respite.
Read our other articles on Thorskogs Slott in the Restaurants and Chefs’ Recipes sections.
SE-463 93 Västerlanda
Telephone: 0520-66 10 00
Fax: 0520-66 09 18
Please read other articles on Sweden in our Destinations, Hotels & Resorts, Chefs’ Recipes, Restaurants, Music Scene, Gastronomy, The Liquor Cabinet and Events sections.
For more information on Sweden, please visit: www.visit-sweden.com, www.west-sweden.com and www.vastsvenskmersmak.com.
© February 2006. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.