Liza Löfgren and Niclas Wede changed lives to invest in tourism in Överstbyn. With two newly built log cabins in a luxury model, they attract well-off families from all over the world. Here they offer a genuine experience in a unique environment.
A magical and secluded place by the Råne River, where the water never freezes and the sky and nature change into a colorful spectacle over all hours of the day. Here is Överstbyn’s new tourism investment, Arctic Retreat.
Liza Löfgren and Niclas Wede bought the Getronosan facility with their timbered cottages almost three years ago. Now they have put their own stamp on the headland in the river and built two new, large luxury cottages in timber. After an autumn filled with hard work and delays, the timber cottages were completed on 15 December, just before the first guests arrived on 17 December. Then then everything went really fast.
– The guests have been very happy so far. They like the cottages, the river and the surroundings.
From the UK, USA, Holland, Singapore and Hong Kong, people have traveled here to experience the peace, quiet and northern lights in a genuine accommodation with high service. Both couples and large families with children have found their way here through international tour operators.
– We also had a couple of rich people who came with private planes from India to look at the northern lights, says Niclas.
The cottages of 45 and 35 square meters have a sleeping loft and bathroom and can accommodate up to ten people. Facing the river are large windows from floor to ceiling, where guests can follow the shifts of nature. Outside there is a porch with seating, fireplace and hot tub.
– Guests like to sit in the Scandinavian hot tub under the stars in the evenings and drink champagne, says Liza.
The cottages are decorated in a modern style that contrasts effectively with the rough timber.
– We are very pleased with the result. But there are some small fixes left to do, I want it to be 100 percent before I can relax. We will also bring in the Sami artist Annika Waara who gets to put her personal touch, it should be a lot of soul and heart, says Niclas.
Since December, the facility has been almost fully booked and the guests have replaced each other. Except for a week in February, and fittingly, that was just when the family’s newcomer Nicki was born.
– We timed it very well, laughs Niclas.
But there was no long parental leave. Nicki is with Liza in the kitchen every day.
– It works well as long as she can sleep and is happy, but sometimes I have to take a break, says Liza.
Niclas, Liza, Nicki and her big brother Rio, 3.5 years old, live in a house a few hundred meters away from the facility and are always close by if guests need anything. Sometimes the children are allowed to come along, if it feels right for the guests.
– It should be homely. We are who we are and they get to meet us. It’s a bit like coming home to a family in Norrbotten, but with a bit more exclusive conditions. It will be personal service, in our way. We are proud that it is not a hotel, says Niclas.
It is above all Liza and Niclas who work here, with a little help sometimes. They come up with activities, cook and even take time to sit down and socialize.
– We listen to the guests and try to arrange what they like. It can be small details such as bathrobes and luxurious scrubs or something good to drink that makes them feel well taken care of, says Niclas.
Starting a tourism facility and starting a family at the same time has meant a big lifestyle change for the couple, a change that has been challenging at times. Four years ago, the two lived in an apartment in central Luleå, had regular jobs and traveled in their spare time.
– There is nothing reminiscent of the old life. But that’s probably enough for many who have children, says Niclas.
Now they have their whole life here in Överstbyn. And they could not like it better. It is close to the preschool, service point and shop in Gunnarsbyn and in addition, the family quickly made new friends here.
– We have very helpful neighbors. Everyone in the village helps and shows up, regardless of whether it is about fixing electricity problems or working extra hours, says Liza.
– Yes, the people in Gunnarsbyn and Överstbyn have really been indispensable for this to work. The area has given us perfect conditions, it is fantastic, says Niclas.
The season is coming to an end and the couple has gradually found routines and their own niche that suits both them and the visitors. Now they are looking ahead and thinking about how the concept can continue to be refined and improved.
– We will raise the price and work even more with details so that we can offer a unique and different experience, says Niclas.