Talldungen Gårdshotell in Österlen, Sweden

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© Photo by of Joakim LLoyd Raboff

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Though only about 1.5 hours from Copenhagen International Airport (a little less from Malmö across the border), once you arrive at Talldungens Gårdshotell, the contrast couldn’t be more visually profound. 

Just a few clicks from the gorgeous east coast of Sweden to where softly rolling hills and lush green valleys of Österlen take over the landscape, is where you’ll find a uniquely picturesque farmstead called, Talldungen Gårdshotell. 

This bright yellow hotel is neatly nestled in a small grove of towering, ancient pine trees just outside the tiny village of Brösarp in the region of Österlen.

For most city folks, the location will certainly deliver a rural and almost myseriously wild vibe. Yet folks have in fact lived and worked the land here for at least half a millennium.

Today, guests from all over Sweden and lands far away come to visit Talldungen to experience a night or two of the hotel’s famously easy-going yet attentive hospitality, their award-wining dining offerings and of course, the beautiful nature walks that surround the hotel. Oh, and visitors with dogs are also welcome – even in the dining room.

While a few guests rooms share a bathroom, most have one en suite. Our rustic, corner room had a small bathroom with a shower. Much grander was our gorgeous view of the hotel’s namesake pine grove (Talldungen/Tall + Dungen translates roughly into Pine Grove). 

The room was furnished with twin beds, a small sofa, a sofa table, freestanding wardrobe and a few cute, “flea market antiquities” – undoubtedly purchased at one of the Österlen region’s many, many nicknack markets. You’ll see a lot of small, decorative details throughout the hotel – cute dolls, porcelain pieces, vintage cookware, odd sculptures, old posters and plenty of large, green potted plants. It’s definitely an aesthetic mashup – but in a cooky, fun-loving kind of way.

For me, a cornerstone of a really memorable – and recommendable – hotel experience is the staff. 

I’d heard good things about the hotel beforehand, so I wasn’t too surprised that they indeed had a singularly talented team in place – one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of being pampered by in recent memory. That’s coming from someone who stays at 25-30 different hotels a year. 

From the moment I checked in until it was time for me to leave, everybody I spoke with was genuinly friendly – without ever forgetting to put my comfort and service front and center. 

Henrik, the excellent waiter during our 4 course dinner, was a great example of the high service level. Not only was he superbly knowledgeable about everything we ate and drank throughout the evening, each dish and wine glass he served us was also graciously presented – both verbally and visually – in a soft-spoken, pleasant manner. 

As good as all the food was – and it was really, really sumptuous, especially the oven-baked cod – without Henrik’s focused and enjoyable presence, it would of likely just have been another good dinner. One of many in the course of a year. Hardly worth writing about. 

The older I get, the more important it becomes to get as far away as possible from the mass-produced experiences (and the sweaty, semi-hostile, flag waving charter crowds). And quite frankly, with today’s low fare, travel boom, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to achieve this. 

Talldungens Gårdshotell provided everything I needed to get a way from it all. And for over six years now, the couple that own and run the business, Emma Hök and David Levung-Höök (whom I met briefly during checkout), have worked hard at sustaining their unpretentious yet quality-driven concept. A concept that caters to those of us that appreciate (and can afford) to pay a pretty penny for a slice of the good life – comfortably off the beaten path.

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© Photos by of Joakim LLoyd Raboff

About me: I am a professional photographer and visual storyteller whom makes a good portion of his livelihood working in places far, far away from home (currently, Sweden). www.raboff.com

On average, I stay at 25-30 hotels per year and depend on the reviews I read when choosing accommodations.

Unfortunately, I am often disappointed and forced to endure staying at lacklustre hotels.

My ambition with these reviews is to provide both fellow travellers and hotel management with my experiences and insightful critique.

Fact is, on many occasions, General Managers and F & B Directors have called to thank me personally for my opinions and suggestions.