We continue our search for exciting accommodation, this time with six excellent options. This is the fourth article in the series.
In the first article you were presented with what kind of establishments we are looking for. The hotels are usually wooden, many of them have long historical roots in architecture and decor – and they want to take care of it. At the same time, they can have elements of modern design. They also emphasise their proud history in the meeting with their guests and they want to give everyone an individual, unique experience. Customers expect high quality in everything from bedding to locally produced food. And they want hospitality.
The sample represents those that Sandalsand has visited and wants to highlight. This means that there are several good candidates around the country, but they will come on later trips.
The review of each hotel also includes links to the hotel, to booking rooms and to Sandalsand articles from the municipality we are in. The numbering continues from the previous article, and the order in this article is otherwise by the alphabet. Note that at the bottom there is a map showing the location of all the hotels mentioned.
This article was first published in Norwegian, on Sandalsand Norge.
25. Bekkjarvik Guesthouse, Austevoll
The guest house was established following a royal decree in the 17th century. Since then they have offered good service inside a safe harbour.
It is pleasant to get inside the doors of the guest house also in our day, with a relaxing lounge on the left, a pub further in, and an excellent restaurant on the right. Today’s hosts have fostered two sons, twin brothers. One was named Chef of the Year in Norway, while the other has won both the European Championships and the World Championships in cookery art – the Bocuse d’Or. They have also received a recommendation in the Michelin Guide. This means the guest house has something to live up to. My dinner and my breakfast gave very good impressions.
The guest house uses many of its square metres in the main building and around as conference and banqueting rooms. There has now also come a somewhat strangely placed serving tent in the middle of the square – apparently to serve all the boat people who drop by during the summer. However, most hotel rooms are located in a former barrel factory from the 19th century. Yes, it’s historic. However, it is a stone’s throw from the main house, which means that you are separated from the “real” guest house.
This fact has caused some negative publicity on Tripadvisor and I think it should be better communicated from the guest house. My room was large, and okay, but it is weird to stay overnight in what is an integral part of a shopping mall. Bekkjarvik Torg is in the same building, and it triples its function as a kind of local history museum.
Apart from that, this is a glorious place to seek out, both for the historical hustle, a very good service, and for very good meals. The guest house in Bekkjarvik is family owned and affiliated with the association of Historic hotels and restaurant.
26. Grand Terminus, Bergen
Right out the side entrance to the railway station, and close to the lake Lille Lungegårdsvann, we find one of Bergen’s most exciting hotels.
It was in 1929 that the doors opened to what was the city’s most fashionable hotel. With award-winning architecture which combines several styles, elegant banqueting rooms, a magnificent whiskey bar and a distinguished breakfast room (with very good selection), there is little doubt that Grand Terminus even today is a place of high quality. As the country’s first legally protected city hotel, it appears to have been lovingly restored, with good comfort and stylish design in both rooms and common areas. Here you feel well and will be well cared for.
It is a heavy duty to keep an old hotel, and especially the venerable ones. We expect a little more from them. Should I mention something, it must be the dimly lit corridors. They seem institutional and not inviting.
Grand Terminus has the same owner as Augustin, mentioned in the first article in this series, and is affiliated with the Historic Hotels and Restaurants in Norway..
27. Paulsen’s Hotel, Lyngdal
In Lyngdal on the western part of southern Norway we find a small hotel and a restaurant that is highly recommended. It dates from 1894, but slipped into oblivion over the years.
Today’s version was carefully rebuilt after forty years of rest, now appearing with a mix of Danish language and local charm. It has become an ever-so-small museum. We feel left out of time, and can spend a lot of time walking back and forth in the lounges, or just enjoying the bedroom – one of the ten offered. The shared bathroom in the hallway worked fine. I would advise anyone to at least stop by for a coffee visit if you are travelling through this part of the world. Old style but modern in service, live music in the garden and good food and drinks.
Treat yourself to the old living rooms and admire it all. Fall to rest in good beds on the first floor. The hotel is completely independent of all chains.
28. Rederiet Hotell, Farsund
The hotel was built as an office building for Mosvold’s shipping company in the 1950s, but is now fully converted into a hotel and expanded with an older white-painted house next door.
The shipping business is kept alive in the interior decorations. Even though today’s function does not stretch far back in time, it defends a place in among the historic hotels and in my series. Moreover, the location is in the middle of a pleasant southern village. We found nothing to complain about the service, and our meals were good – albeit not very good.
29. Sauda fjord hotel, Sauda
The hotel itself says it has character, atmosphere and soul. And that’s right.
We are almost completely at the bottom of the Sauda fjord in Ryfylke, in a place called Saudasjøen. Here lies a hotel with a majestic position over the fjord, a magnificent building erected as far back as 1914. There have been long periods of neglect and shutdowns here, and on previous visits inside into this part of Norway it has been closed. Finally, we managed to get inside the doors, and the visit was not regretted. An extremely pleasant service, good food and historical atmosphere set us in the right mood. The fact that the room does not hold the standard we are used to in Norway, in fact everything was kind of 1970-ish and rundown, does not really matter. After our visit it went bankrupt again.
30. Hotel Savoy, Oslo
In central Oslo, we find a hotel that was built as an apartment building, but which after 1916 has served as a hotel.
Here I got what may have been my smallest hotel room in the capital, but of course they have more options. The location is good, the service the same, and the modernisation has done well. It may nevertheless be perceived that the most recent changes has removed Savoy from the classic “Savoy ideals”. As part of the Clarion Collection range, Savoy offers that little extra, in the form of an evening meal. For business travellers, this is appreciated. It is also okay to have another place to sit down, because the room was so small that you almost have to get out the door to turn around. Otherwise, I have been in doubt whether I should take the hotel into my selection of hotels with character.
The map below shows which hotels are included in this series, and randomly scattered around the articles.
A closing remark
This is not a sponsored article. The articles and the reviews are not paid by anyone. My own journeys and stays form the basis of the reviews. If you click on the booking link and book the accommodation, the booking engine will give a few pennies of their commission back to me.
Articles in this series