7 Norwegian hotels with distinctive character

Last modified 19.03.2022 | Published 01.04.20192015's, Norway, Norway Places

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We search for exciting accommodation throughout the country, and continue this miniseries with seven excellent options.

This is the third 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.

18. Klosterhagen, Bergen

It was a bit of a coincidence that I got into this hotel, but it won’t be random at all if I check in here next time I’m in Bergen.

The experience was very positive. Color schemes and artistic decoration around hotel rooms, corridors and other common areas appear to be fresh, exciting and life-like. The small hotel at the hill called Klosteret (the Monastery) is in fact a fresh breath in the Bergen hotel market. Extra points are provided to the hotel for employing workers who have fallen out of the ordinary job market. Even more points because these employees actually succeeded very well during my stay.

Beyond that, the hotel’s location is brilliant. We are in the place where the medieval Munkelivskloster once stood, but today the area is full of everything else. Colourful buildings, narrow cobbled stone streets and a lovely atmosphere a few meters from the city’s main square of Torgallmenningen. This is a cool place and it feels very good to come here. The hotel is independent of the big chains, and we are happy to support that.

Go to the hotel’s websitebook a room, and read all articles from Bergen on Sandalsand (in Norwegian).

19. Kronen Gaard Hotel, Sandnes

After Kronen Gaard, not many years ago, began inviting locals for Sunday buffets and midweek conference activities, it has become better and better – and bigger and bigger.

Still, it’s not very big with its 34 rooms. I suppose the conference market is their biggest income source. I have been here on several occasions, attending conferences or for a Sunday buffet with my family. It has to be said that a certain historical flavour about the place. The main house in Swiss style was built in 1898 by timber dealer Gabriel Block Watne. From being used as a summer residence and gathering place for relatives and friends, it has expanded relatively extensively over the past few years.

I have been uncertain as to whether I should include the hotel in this article series, because I have never stayed overnight. On the other hand I don’t think you will be disappointed. The reason is that there is charm here in the living rooms, and the food is consistently good – despite some disappointing experiences from several years back. Kronen Gaard is a member of the Historic Hotels and Restaurants in Norway.

Go to the hotel’s websitebook a room, and read all articles from Sandnes on Sandalsand (in Norwegian).

Rogaland - Sandnes - Kronen Gaard Hotel
Kronen Gaard Hotel

20. Rosendal Tourist Hotel, Kvinnherad

It’s a little risky to judge somewhere after just one night’s stay, but I take the chance. This seems to be a banker’s place to sleep in Rosendal and better than the competitor.

We came here on a spring day on our way into Hardanger’s thriving orchards and found an exciting little hotel right in the center. The location is brilliant, the morning coffee on the terrace tasted excellent and even the knitting inside fell to taste. All in all, it was cultural offerings the evening we arrived. The positive experience was underpinned by the pleasant room, the common area upstairs, and even that we only had access to a shared bathroom. The hosts were very pleasant, the breakfast excellent and at all.

Go to the hotel’s website, and read all articles from Kvinnherad on Sandalsand (in Norwegian).

21. Sanden guest house, Lærdal

With only eight guest rooms this is the smallest accommodation in the series. This is a cute place, apparently a residential building where we climb the floors to get to our room.

Not all rooms are en suite, and breakfast is served in a small living room downstairs. The funny thing is that the guest house opened already in 1897. One should not believe it was possible. We are in the middle of what should have been a World heritage site, Lærdalsøyri, but which in return is thoroughly protected by the Norwegian authorities. Sanden is one of two places worth staying overnight when we are here in Lærdalsøyri, and I can only recommend our choice to others. To be so small, Sanden actually stays open in the winter as well.

Go to the hotel’s website, and read all articles from Lærdal on Sandalsand (in Norwegian).

22. Sola Strand Hotel

The location is the very best. The hotel is located just behind the dunes of the beautiful Solastranda, easily accessible from the airport and along the road. It is the location and the food that make the place unique in Norway.

It was in 1914 that a restaurant was opened on the premises. The times were not good, but in 1930 it was also opened for overnight stays. Since then, there has been a cautious development leading to what characterises the beach hotel today. The building mass is so varied, not always very picturesque, but definitely a result of minor and major changes over the decades.

The beach hotel has many rooms, lives off courses and conferences, and with spa as the latest offer – like so many other hotels across the country. During the interwar period, the owners bought up remains of old ships and used the materials in the interior of the restaurant areas. It gives a very special feel to these historic parts of the hotel. When we add that I have never been disappointed after dinner or lunch here, I can only recommend the same to others. I don’t know how the breakfast and the beds are, because I have never stayed at the Sola Strand Hotel. The hotel is part of the Historic ones.

Go to the hotel’s websitebook a room, read all articles from Sola on Sandalsand (in Norwegian).

23. Strand Hotel, Fevik

We are going to another beach hotel, this time in Fevik about halfway between Grimstad and Arendal on the south coast. It is one of the few remaining hotels with functionalist architecture in the country.

The hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels and Restaurants in Norway. They write that “from Southern Norway’s finest banquet hall you can enjoy the view of the sea and soft sand dunes, and with a lovely wellness area in addition, this is the closest you come to a ‘Mediterranean holiday’ in Norway”. The hotel opened in 1937 and has since been both refurbished and extended. Axel Lund, the man behind Sola Strand Hotel, was also involved in the development of the beach hotel in Fevik.

The view towards the archipelago is fabulous. The medium sized sandy beach invites for summer activities, and the garden between the beach and the hotel is nicely landscaped. I have not stayed overnight here, but have been here on business visits. They have given med a taste for more. 

Go to the hotel’s website and book a room.

We are on the shore at Fevik. (Photo: The hotel)

24. Utstein Kloster, Rennesøy

The latest accommodation in this series is very special. Here you get the opportunity to stay overnight in the country’s only preserved medieval monastery.

However, it is not just to come here and ask for room. You probably have to be part of an event. Rental for meetings, social events and accommodation is managed by Utstein Kloster Hotel. That hotel is located a few kilometres away. They provide excellent dining and service. Utstein monastery was built in the late 13th century. The residential wing, which also has bedrooms, was constructed in the 18th century. The unique surroundings are worth seeking out even without accommodation of course. I myself have stayed overnight a couple of times and visited the monastery on numerous occassions.

Go to the hotel’s websitebook a room, and read all articles from Rennesøy on Sandalsand (in Norwegian).

What more?

The map below shows hotels in this series, and randomly scattered around the articles.