Last year I wrote about the Hotell Siljansborg in Rättvik, a famous destination for affluent guests since it was built in 1909. During the winters of 1911 and 1912 the entire hotel was taken over by Sweden’s King Gustav. The railway came right to town from Stockholm making this resort area very accessible.
During World War II a weekend at the Hotell Siljansborg would have been a grand treat for the American internees. My parents spent the weekend of Christmas 1944 there where they dined on white fish with wine sauce. At 3 am on Christmas Eve they rode in a horse drawn sleigh through the snow to the beautiful 15th century church. “It was wonderful,” my mother wrote in a postcard to her sister “but we all slept through most of the service.”
In 1959 Tyrone Power was a hotel guest along with his current lover Swedish actress Mai Zetterling. Tyrone insisted that there be no press, but that turned out to be a little hard to enforce.
As the years went by, it became harder and harder for the luxurious hotel to make ends meet. The main building, by then vacant, was torn down in 1982. Today there are tourist cabins near the site where visitors can (much) more casually enjoy the lake and the winter sports.
In May when my son and I were in Rättvik our guide, Helena Engblom, drove us to the site of the Hotell Siljansborg. I’ve listened to stories about this spot, this piece of heaven, my entire life.
Standing there in front of the grassy vacant parcel I squinted hard to envision an opulent hotel in a romantic snow swept setting where Swedish royalty, movie stars, and lovers from all over the world would come for an experience that would be remembered …