Living the Fairytale: An Enchanting Stay at Merlo Slott

Ever found yourself daydreaming about the enchanting life within castle walls? Reysa Alenzuela, Ph.D. recently turned that dream into a reality. According to this frequent traveler, the experience was nothing short of magical: "Living in a castle is like stepping into a world that seamlessly blends charm, tranquility, opulence, and a sense of privilege that transcends reality."

Read the rest of her castle living.

As a perpetual wanderer looking for unique experiences, my recent activities include staying in medieval houses, chateaux, and unique abodes. During this quest for a new and extraordinary adventure, a friend, aware of my fascination, recommended exploring places within their proximity. Thanks to the wonders of online aggregators, my search led me to an extraordinary find – the newly renovated Merlo Slott, with an enticingly substantial discount.

The prospect of sleeping in a castle, with its historical allure and modern amenities following renovation, beckoned me to indulge in an experience that promised not just a stay, but an immersion into a world of bygone tales and contemporary comfort.

Our tale…

We embarked on our journey late in the evening, and the timing added an extra layer of magic to our entrance. Despite the close proximity to amenities like a shopping mall and a ski resort, the castle managed to maintain an aura of seclusion from the bustling crowd.

As we drove through empty spaces and evergreen trees, with only a few houses in sight, the grandiosity of the castle slowly came into view against the pristine white snow. Upon reaching the entrance, a breathtaking grand castle, standing tall and regal, met us. Entering our room, we found exactly what one would expect – a blend of historic charm and modern comfort. The castle's ambiance was what dreams are made of.

The castle at night is a silent witness to the symphony of darkness. (photo credit: Fsb Erikkson)

Warmth and cordial promptness characterized our interactions with the owners, with whom we directly communicated while arranging the accommodation. In a gesture that spoke volumes, they even chose to forgo a weekend away from the castle to accommodate our request for a tour. This allowed us to see the captivating narrative of Fredrik Bünsow, the original owner, unfolding before our eyes. The personal touch from the owners added an extra layer of authenticity to our castle experience.

The story of the past

The rich history of Merlo Castle unfolds with its construction in Timrå between 1883 and 1885 by Fredrik Bünsow, a German businessman who established himself in Sweden. Bünsow, renowned for his prosperity as the owner of vast sawmills and a prominent figure in the wood industry, held the distinction as the second wealthiest individual in Sweden, following Alfred Nobel. Originally conceived as a summer residence, the castle served this purpose until Bünsow's passing in 1897.

Approximately 13 km north of Sundsvall, a bustling metropolitan city in the Västernorrland County of Sweden, Merlo Castle is an integral part of the Timrå municipality. In 1924, ownership transitioned to Skönviks AB, and from 1925 to 1929, the castle transformed into a permanent residence for the company's executives. It housed managers within the SCA and ceased as a residential space until 1951.

Facing a lack of alternative facilities, the companies strategically repurposed Merlo Castle, relocating their archives to the site and proposing its conversion into a central one. Consequently, since then, the castle has served as SCA's archive, with dedicated efforts to preserve its original architectural charm.

In a significant turn of events in 2023, SCA put Merlo Castle up for sale. Acknowledging the importance of local ownership, the deal was successfully completed, transferring ownership to Jonas and Jennie Olert. Having had the opportunity to learn firsthand from Jennie about the passion invested in restoring the castle to its former glory, it becomes evident that SCA made a commendable decision. The Olert family's commitment to preserving the historical integrity of Merlo Castle adds another chapter to its storied past, ensuring its legacy endures for generations to come.

Standing tall, whispering tales of glorious past

Standing proudly, the castle shares stories of its illustrious history. From enchanting turrets to its rich historical grandeur, the weekend was nothing short of extraordinary. Submerged in the ageless charm and entrancing atmosphere, the castle's walls echoed tales of a glorious past. The facade, adorned with yellow bricks imported from Flensburg, epitomizes a fusion of diverse architectural styles predominantly influenced by German Renaissance design.

The architectural details are a spectacle by themselves, with numerous tower projections and projecting gable sections that evoke the essence of castles and fortresses in northern Europe. Spread across three floors and comprising 18 rooms, the castle unfolds its grandeur, with a hall on the second floor boasting a soaring ceiling height of 7.5 meters, meticulously designed to recreate the ambiance of a medieval knight's hall.

The interior is a masterpiece, adorned with oak panels, doors, and ceiling inlays, adding to the overall allure of the castle. Each element harmoniously contributes to the castle's unique character, making the experience of being within its walls a journey through time and architectural splendor.

The winter garden

The story goes on…

The Olert family's involvement added a new chapter to the castle's history. Acquiring it, they embarked on a unique project, renovating its interior and transforming it into their family home. Their dedication to maintaining the public space of the park and collaborating with Timrå municipality showcased a commitment to local engagement.

As I gaze upon the castle's current state, it's evident that there's much work to be done. Yet, I genuinely appreciate the efforts of the owners. Rather than opting for a complete overhaul, they've embraced the challenges, diligently preserving the castle's natural charms. It's a commendable endeavor that not only maintains the historical essence of the place but also fosters a profound respect for the stories embedded within its walls. In a world often inclined towards modernization, this commitment to preservation is a testament to the enduring value of authenticity and the unique narratives woven into the castle's past.

As the castle continues to evolve, the blend of historical significance, architectural grandeur, and the Olert family's personal touch contributes to the memory of the place. It stands as a living testament to the interplay between history, preservation, and contemporary use, allowing Merlo Castle to tell its unique story in every passing chapter and from the perspective of those who had a chance to stay in the castle.


Heya Sundsvall.24 Okt., 2023   De renoverar Merlo slott och flyttar in med familjen [blogpost]

Holmgren, Ylva (4 december 2022). ”Familj från Timrå köper Merlo slott: ”Utmaningen blir att hitta en hemtrevlig känsla””. SVT Nyheter. Retrieved 15 January 2024

Öhman,  Jessica (Ed). (September 23, 2007- November 24, 2011) Timar Kommun. Retrieved 15 January 2024


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