Last night, in Rauma, Finland, I experienced one of the more unusual dinners of my life. It wasn’t so much the food — as it was the location.
To get to the restaurant, we had to travel 30 minutes by boat to an island where we dined — in a lighthouse.
The Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse is actually a hotel and a restaurant. “It’s the only hotel in Finland that has all of the rooms in the lighthouse tower,” says Tom Lindqvist, who operates the hotel and restaurant with his wife Suvi.
The lighthouse is situated on an island in the archipelago just off the coast of Rauma, a yet-to-be-exploited cruise destination that is a member of the Bothnia Cruise Ports. “On the west side [of the island] there’s just open sea,” Tom says. “The next stop is Sweden.”
But we came here to dine, and dine we did. We had a beautiful appetizer, comprised of herring topped with island berries, followed by a smoked salmon salad, then a main course featuring local pork loin sitting atop local potatoes and lightly covered with an apple sauce made from apples picked from Tom & Suvi’s backyard. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
Tom & Suvi support the local providers and use local products. It’s part of their “green” philosophy that is carried through their business model, hospitality and service.
The island is small and features few distractions other than the sea. The 11 hotel rooms in the tower of the lighthouse feature no televisions, which will appeal to those seeking a real getaway from their busy lives.
Alas, however, we had to return to our busy life, and so after dinner, I hopped in the boat with my host, Pekka Oivanen, to return to Rauma.
It had been a good evening, and as we left the lighthouse in our wake, we vowed to return to the island one day.
Usually lighthouses are beacons that warn boats to steer clear. The Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse, however, beckons to thirsty and hungry sailors as well as those who need a break from the busy life.