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Stay: 5 of the classiest and oldest (historic) hotels in Norway

I have a penchant for antiquity. I relish the aroma of aged books and tarred wood, love automobiles with at least a quarter-century under their belt, and find solace in jazz tunes from the era of the moon landing. If only I possessed more audacity and wealth and where born 60 years ago, I'd readily admit, I'd likely attire myself each day as if I were English countryside gentry. Entirely unjustified, pretentious and misplaced, obviously. I appreciate your honesty I hear you say... You're welcome.

A historic hotel in Norway

Well, you grasp the gist. This article delves into antiquity. Or in the charm of 5 out of many historic hotels in Norway, to be precise. And let me clarify right off the bat, as the Japanese may peruse this piece with a bemused gaze, for the world's oldest hotel undeniably resides in Japan, tracing its origins back to the year 705 (Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan). The oldest hotel in Norway, on the other hand, emerged more than 900 years later, its inception dating back to 1640. Certainly, in the ensuing centuries, tourism started to really boom in Norway. Particularly, European (royal) elites began journeying northward to be enraptured by the breathtaking Norwegian landscape, reaching its zenith in the 19th century. During this epoch, dozens of legendary hotels emerged all across the land. In this article, I introduce five, including the oldest among them.

Utne Hotel (1722)

Walaker Hotel

Walaker Hotel embodies a fairytale-esque allure in Solvorn, nestled along the shores of the Lustrafjord in Luster, Sogn. This historic establishment boasts a remarkable lineage, being, in fact, Norway's oldest continually operating hotel. And it shows. History oozes from its exquisitely adorned walls. Situated on Vetle-Vollåker in Solvorn, one of the fjord's most charming villages, I stumbled upon it serendipitously while en route to the Urnes stave church, having missed the ferry. Out of curiosity, we ventured inside and were captivated at every turn. In operation for over three hundred years—nearing four!—it saw the light of day in 1640 and has since remained a sought-after destination for guests seeking to immerse themselves in Norwegian history amidst the quintessential, breathtaking fjord landscape. Owned by the Nitter Walaker family since 1690, it stands as the oldest family-run hotel in Norway. Quite unique!

Utne Hotel

We journey back to 1722, to a quaint village along the Hardanger fjord. In that year, a remarkably intimate and charming hotel was established, which, as of 2024, still thrives. Utne Hotel exudes vivacity and authenticity, boasting a rich history against a backdrop of awe-inspiring landscapes—I refer, of course, to the natural scenery. Allow me to furnish you with some particulars: The hotel can be deemed intimate, with merely 17 unique hotel rooms, each exuding its own distinct character. The communal areas, too, exude a particularly inviting ambiance. The quality of traditional craftsmanship pervades the interior, significantly contributing to the nostalgic ambiance upon crossing its threshold. Then, there's its location, for this hotel holds its place for good reason. Utne Hotel lies proximate to mountains and fjords, offering a breathtaking vista of the stunning scenery.

Hotel Union Øye

Hotel Union Øye is a historic hotel nestled along the banks of the Norangsfjord in Ørsta, Sunnmøre. Originally erected in 1891 in Swiss style, designed by the Norwegian architect Christian Thams, it boasts a lengthy tradition as a destination for mountaineers, royalty, writers, and lovers. I mean, peruse the list of legendary and illustrious hotel guests. I'd wager a hefty sum you'd recognize at least half of them. Kings, queens, writers, poets—they all savored their morning repast here. You luxuriate in tranquility and serenity in a hotel best described perhaps as the Norwegian rendition of the grand Budapest hotel. Truly, so exquisitely beautiful and tastefully appointed. Moreover, the surroundings are breathtaking. This is bucket list material, believe me.

Dalen Hotel

Norwegians describe it as the adventure hotel. And with that, the crux is largely articulated. Dalen Hotel, a historic establishment nestled in the historic region of Telemark, opened its doors in 1894 and seems plucked from an enthralling children's tale of fairies, kings, and magical creatures. The hotel stands as one of the largest wooden structures in Norway and boasts a rich history as a beloved destination for European nobility and royalty. It has been preserved in its original style, offering a unique blend of historical charm and modern comfort. Each space is breathtaking in its own right. If you're contemplating marriage, this is an excellent honeymoon destination.

Tuddal Høyfjellshotel

Tuddal Høyfjellshotel stands as one of Norway's oldest and most charming high-altitude hotels, nestled on the sunny side of the majestic Gaustatoppen. Originally erected in 1895 as a high-altitude sanatorium, today, you encounter the 5th generation Gurholt family tending to the premises. I first visited in 2020 and was utterly enthralled by the ambiance. It's somewhat secluded, imparting an exclusive feel. The interior, too, is breathtaking. Creaking staircases, exquisite woodwork, and traditional adornments abound, rendering a leisurely stroll through its corridors and chambers truly worthwhile. Activities such as flatbread baking, guided hikes, and special events are offered, and the hotel is a popular venue for weddings and celebrations. Order an aquavit, settle by the fireside, and transport yourself into a century-old time capsule.


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