Okstindan, Norway

Photo: Jarmund/Vigsnæs As Arkitekter MNAL _ JVA
Photo: Jarmund/Vigsnæs As Arkitekter MNAL _ JVA

You have pretty strict rules when it comes to your travel accommodations. No hostels. No shared bathrooms. Certainly no bunk beds. You demand spotless rooms and sheets with high thread counts. You expect hot water and free wifi. Plus a spa, a restaurant, or at least a bar must be on the property. But every once in a while, there’s an exception.

There are few hotels—correction: there are no hotels—in Norway’s Okstindan mountains. Oksskolten, the highest mountain in Northern Norway, and Okstinbreen, a large glacier in the mountain range, have been largely off-limits to all but the heartiest of hikers. At least until the Norwegian Trekking Association, which operates 500 cabins around this Scandinavian country, opened the Rabot Tourist Cabin two summers ago.

Rabot is a modern and striking cabin that sits nearly 4,000 feet above sea level near the Swedish border. The timber cabin was named after a French glaciologist who explored the Nordland mountains in the late 1800s. Since the landscape has changed little since Charles Rabot’s treks, materials had to be airlifted by helicopter to build the large cabin. There are still no roads to its remote location; hiking and skiing are the only ways to reach it. It’s odd shape was built to withstand the area’s strong wind and snowstorms. Two chimneys mimic the rocky mountains that stand behind it. While the views include the mountains on one side and the deep valley on the other.

The cabin’s interior isn’t nearly as rough as you expected. Communal spaces include a large living room brightened by huge windows, an open kitchen, and a dining room with circular tables. Storage rooms hold firewood and extra food. Wood stoves fill the rooms with heat. Solar panels provide power for lighting. Plus 30 beds are spread out between seven bedrooms. The cabin may not be luxurious, but it’s a gorgeous, cozy spot to relax after trekking to the nearby glacier.

Don’t worry, spa treatments have already been booked as you continue to travel north above the Arctic Circle after this.

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