A journey back in time in Norway’s historic hotels
Three historic hotels to make your vacation magical
Norwegian American Weekly
If you long for the days of Norway’s past, a historic hotel may be the perfect destination for your next Norwegian holiday. Historic hotels are scattered throughout the country and offer a variety of experiences. Whether you want to escape the fast pace of contemporary life, splurge on a luxurious suite designed for royalty, or simply educate yourself in Norwegian history, a historic hotel is sure to satisfy.
The nostalgic Walaker Hotell
If you’re looking to travel back in time to the beginnings of the Norwegian hotel, you’ll want to book a visit with Norway’s oldest family-run hotel: the Walaker Hotell. Nine generations of the Nitter family have run the Walaker Hotell since 1690, and the buildings date back even further to 1630. Tingstova, the first building built, features four uniquely styled guest rooms, each reflecting a different period of time. Once you open your door—labeled with the names of a past generation of the Nitter family—and enter your room, you’ll have a hard time believing it’s the twenty-first century. The main building, designed by the architect Lindstrøm, was built shortly thereafter and continues to serves guests with a variety of historical rooms. Walaker Hotell invites guests to join them in 2015 for a celebration of 375 years.
The hotel, located in Solvorn and just 15 kilometers outside of Sogndal, is celebrated for its peaceful garden and local culinary goods. Guests are encouraged to start off their day with a breakfast of homemade bread and jam—made from garden-fresh ingredients, of course. Walaker also treats guests to a four-course dinner at 7:30 each evening. Likely menu items include locally-sourced langoustines, venison, and cheese.
For those looking to explore the surrounding area, the Nitter family has plenty of suggestions for walking tours and boat trips. Just a short journey from Walaker, tourists can explore the fjords, glaciers, and the country’s oldest stave church.
The rustic Røisheim Hotell
Røisheim Hotell is the ideal destination for the nature-loving tourist seeking both history and adventure. Located by Norway’s most popular national park, Jotunheimen, Røisheim is known as a hot-spot for mountain tourism. Originally a posting station in the nineteenth century, Røisheim evolved into a popular overnight destination with 14 tar-painted buildings and 24 restored guest rooms. The buildings in the courtyard date back to the 1700s, attracting tourists with their rustic charm. Each room is unique; some have a fireplace and others surprise guests with a wooden hot tub.
From the rustic hotel, guests can hike Norway’s two tallest peaks or explore the surrounding valleys, lakes, and glaciers. But before heading off for a full day of adventure, guests can enjoy a traditional Norwegian breakfast. And a three- or four-course dinner of local game and vegetables will be waiting for them when they return!
It appears that Røisheim has attracted mountaineers for quite some time, as the legendary British climber William Cecil Slingsby first visited Røisheim in 1874 and later returned several times. Røisheim Hotell was also a popular spot among the artistic elite of Norway, boasting a guest list of Hans Gude, Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen, Fritz Thaulow, Aasmund Olavsson Vinje, Arne Garborg, and Gerhard Munthe. In fact, Røisheim was featured in several of Munthe’s paintings during the artist’s annual summer trips to the hotel, some of which still hang on the hotel’s walls.
The Majestic Hotel Union Øye
Considered one of the world’s 12 most exciting hotels, Hotel Union Øye is sure to please guests. The hotel first opened in 1891 and has since attracted an array of European royalty and artists. In fact, each of the 27 guest rooms is named after a famous guest, including King Oscar, Queen Maud, Princess Victoria, Karen Blixen Knut Hamsun, Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen, and Roald Amundsen. Regardless of the name of your suite, you can be sure that it will be furnished with incredible antiques and take you back in time. While staying in this magnificent hotel, you might as well act like royalty and treat yourself to the four- or five-course dinner created with local ingredients at the Sun Lodge.
In addition to the luxurious interior, the Hotel Union Øye offers an incredible landscape. The hotel resides in the village of Øye—just an express-boat ride away from Ålesund—and is surrounded by the beautiful Sunnmørsalpene Mountains. Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the location by hiking to top of Slogen, cycling through Norangsdalen, or kayaking in Norangsfjorden.
Visit www.dehistoriske.com/hotel/norway for an extensive list of historic hotels in Norway.
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 7, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.